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William Yeoward: Prince of prints

William Yeoward is a tastemaker, design icon and a stalwart of the European interior scene

  • William Yeoward
    Designer and author William Yeoward.Image Credit: Supplied picture
  • William Yeoward
    London designer William Yeoward creates a range of luxury home items, including fabric. His latest collection Image Credit: Supplied picture
  • William Yeoward
    More pieces from the Manton collection. William Yeoward’s previous fabric collections include Polperro and AraImage Credit: Supplied picture
  • William Yeoward
    The Valadon console table is one of the brand’s latest designs. Its size makes it perfect for use in halls, drImage Credit: Supplied picture

William Yeoward is a man of many talents. From furniture to fabrics, cushions to crystal, there’s no end to what the designer has created since starting out in the business more than 25 years ago. Here, he talks to InsideOut about what inspires him, offers his top decorating tips and tells us why he intends to keep on working for as long as he can.

I have always been fascinated by... interiors. As a child I would spend my time redoing my room, painting my walls different colours and getting in trouble with my mother. Some people say, ‘I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up’ but I always knew what I wanted to do – I was just waiting to grow up.

My criteria with work is... to make beautiful things and sell them to people who appreciate quality and style. My work is steeped in history, with a modern twist. I’ve got one foot in the past and one in the future, and that gives me balance for today. I believe that even though outside influences can encourage you to go different ways, you should stick truthfully to what you believe in.

There are two things I don’t do... one is ‘dull’ and the other is ‘failure’. I don’t want to know about them – they just depress me. If I try to force something to happen in my head, it won’t work, but if I can do it in an organic way and naturally develop an idea, then it does. If you think something is a good idea, try it.

My top decorating tips are… firstly, be bold. It’s all about confidence. If you think it looks nice, it will make you happy. Secondly, don’t ever think that blue is a cold colour. Blue is incredibly diverse and easy to use. And thirdly, concentrate on your lighting and make sure that it’s not overhead – that’s very ageing! Also, everything doesn’t have to be very expensive. Some things can be modest. Good design is often controlled by a reasonable budget because it makes you think. You need to focus on what you really want.

My home is... an eclectic collection of things that I love. I hate the idea of downsizing. How depressing! That’s just throwing away everything you love. I’m not a minimalist; my house is full up. If you really love something when you buy
it, you’ll continue to love it.

My books all have a real purpose... they’re not just written because I felt like writing them. You’ve got to take people on a journey and show them what you’re thinking. With William Yeoward at Home, I wanted people to understand that I actually practise what I preach, that I live with the things that I make.

People say, ‘what’s next?’ I say this is next – whatever I’m doing now is next. I’m not one for planning ahead. I just do it a bit at a time. I’m very lucky in that I own my business so I don’t have to answer to anyone. It’s important to be your own master. I think creatively it’s important too.

There’s one word that I would ban... completely if I could and that’s ‘retirement’. I can think of nothing worse because there will always be something to do. The idea of the pipe and slippers – no thank you, not for me at all!

William Yeoward’s fabric designs for Designers Guild are available in Dubai at Maison d’art on Al Wasl Road.