An evening with Darren Palmer at Southern Innovations

We’ve just returned meeting our design crush Darren Palmer. And he is even more lovely in person than he comes across on TV #lovehimevenmore!

During the Q&A hosted by Southern Innovations and HerCanberra, Darren shared his advice and tips on interior design. We’ve shared this advice in a series of design tip articles here.

Related article: Darren Palmer’s tips for finding your kitchen style
Related article: Styling masterclass with Julia Green hosted by Willows Home Traders

Gina meeting Darren Palmer
Gina meeting Darren Palmer
Gina and Darren Palmer

He covered so many topics during the Q&A from the best splashback option in a kitchen (let’s just say he’s not a fan of glass) to whether or not it’s better to stay with neutral interiors or to follow the trends. Seven pages of notes later, we clearly got a healthy dose of interior design and styling inspiration tonight!

To make the most of Darren’s advice, we’re going to break it up into several tips articles that we’ll share over the coming weeks β€” starting with his top tips on what to do if you have a small bathroom.

Darren Palmer QA

When asked how he became an interior designer and a host of The Block, he jokes “Pure luck”.

“A few years ago I was a contestant on homeMADE, a television show similar to The Block,” explains Darren. “I was a semi-finalist and through that connection, I was invited to The Block. After several appearances as a guest judge, they asked me to be a judge of the next season.

“Neale and I often share a car to and from The Block and after a 7am start and a full day of filming we’re buggered,” laughs Darren. “We can’t imagine what it must be like for the contestants who have to do all the manual labour.”

Darren was asked how much of his time is spent doing design vs his other commitments including being a TV presenter, author and guest speaker.

“Not a lot,” he says. “Last year I did several houses and apartments and a warehouse conversion, and right now I’m doing my own house.”

He makes a cheeky comment about needing to design two bathrooms in his new apartment, while looking at the owner of Southern Innovations which just happens to stock many of Darren’s favourite bath and tapware brands πŸ˜‰

New Caroma Marc Newson freestanding bath on display
New Caroma Marc Newson freestanding bath on display

Darren says that while he has always had an intuition for design, he likes to take a thoughtful and deliberate approach when designing for clients.

I like to sit and ponder and let design ideas bottle up. Design needs to be planned.

“I have an instinct for knowing what people like, can read people well and while there is stuff about design you can learn, I think most people either instinctively know it [good design] or they don’t.”

It was such a pleasure to meet Darren Palmer in person. To get more of his design tips from the night, check out these design articles. You can also check out his website or connect with him on Instagram.

More design news

Darren flashes a smile before the Q&A
Darren flashes a smile before the Q&A
Gina Beschorner Style Curator

Welcome to Style Curator, your destination for daily interiors inspiration, styling tips, reno advice, home tours and DIY projects!

We're on a mission to help you create a home you love. And with plenty of tips and tricks, tutorials and other home inspo, we give you all the tools to achieve it!

I’m Gina, Founder and Interior Designer, and you can read more about Style Curator here.


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    1. Loved reading ur page so interesting I just love Darren palmer and his great tips … Looks like it was a great night

      • Thanks so much Renee, that’s such lovely feedback πŸ™‚ Darren really impressed us with all his great advice and we look forward to sharing more of his tips on the blog soon πŸ™‚

    2. Looks like a really fun night. I had no idea about him being a contestant before he was a judge on the Block. I got his book recently and really enjoying it.

      • Such a fun night Sarah πŸ™‚ It’s hard to imagine him as a contestant when he’s now such a well-established designer, with his own book and television career too. But he was a graphic designer before making the switch to interiors so has clearly always had a talent and love of design. Great to hear you’re also loving his book. Fingers crossed he’ll release a second one soon πŸ˜‰


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