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Colin & Justin: Interior design 101 in the UAE

Trend-setting duo land at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Mall to host inspiring home fashion workshops

  • Colin (dark hair ) and Justin pictured inside their home in Glasgow .Pictures Alistaior Devine 0141 357 1532 Image Credit:
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From October 3 to 7, Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi has been transformed into one big workshop space for home interiors as design stars Colin & Justin — full names Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan — bring their hit TV shows’ formulas to life. A home mock-up at the mall’s Town Square will be the focus of this event as the duo demonstrates the latest trends in home decor using Yas Mall’s impressive portfolio of interior retailers.

“These workshops, be it in Canada, America, the UK or now in the Middle East allow us to steer the audience in the right direction when it comes to home style, decor and design,” says the duo. “We are so excited to be able to bring all our experiences to this region and to everyone coming to the event.”

When not engrossed in the Paisley Vs Chevron pattern debate, the duo is looking forward exploring the UAE capital.

Here, the designers behind shows such as 60 Minute Makeover, How NOT To Decorate and 20 Ways With Property share their hottest design tricks and tips with Gulf News tabloid!


‘To fail to plan is to plan to fail.’ The duo strongly recommend that home users should plot everything very carefully before diving into the design details of any project. A strategy should be developed so that any rushed decisions can be avoided. Appraising that which you need as an ‘overall vision’ will mean you make better buying decisions and therefore produce a better scheme.


‘Benign minimalism’ — stripping away too many layers to create a starkly pared back aesthetic is counter-productive. Results might look ‘cutting edge’ and very editorial — but try living with it without professional lighting and photoshop. Not too comfortable, right?


Comfort is key to a great living room. Tailored but yielding sofas, the bigger the better, in softest neutral linens are preferred and if possible, in modular configurations that offer style and flexibility. The duo generally installs wood floors and then layers beautiful rugs on top. Wallpapers, soft furnishings and rugs easily lend depth, texture and colour. Double duty makes a lot of sense too: ottomans that double as storage and coffee tables that can max out as dining tables thanks to clever extending legs are great news. It’s also important to mix side lighting with overhead illumination. And — stop the press — your best buy is a simple dimmer switch: change the mood on a whim.

When it comes to dining areas, the duo observes a return to family style dining. Long harvest style tables dressed with upholstered chairs that add textural contrast lend instant warmth and cosiness.

With ‘old school’ back in favour, glass and metal construction seems too cold. Invest in the best quality tablewares and linens you can afford: these are the kind of things that can be passed down through generations. Fine crystal, bone china and cut glass make the perfect addition to your dinner table now, and to your future heirloom.


In the bedroom, make way for padded headboards: outsized and tall. Pastel, even washed-out shades of blue and green offer serenity. Soft grey linens, feather filled duvets and pillows, and night stands generous enough for a clock, glass of water, a lamp and books make for a functional yet stunning bedroom.

Wall to wall carpeting lends a tactile, hotel-like underfoot quality that is simply lush to wake up to. Always specify black out drapery or blinds — your bedroom might look beautiful, but if you’re awakened, daily, by the sun at some un-earthly hour, then the room is a classic fail.