Last month I was thrilled to host my annual Colour workshop in the amazing Paper Mill Studios in East London. Another sell-out affair I had 16 Colour loving hopefuls for a full day immersed in all things colour. It’s a wonderful opportunity to take yourself away from the humdrum of the working week, away from the demands that can pull us away from our creativity and inspiration and really indulge in something you love, namely colour and interior design!
For me, these workshops are the highlight of my year and I’m just so grateful that people want to spend the day with me, exploring my favourite subject. I’m often fascinated at how stuck we can get around conjuring colour schemes for our homes. I believe that one of the ways to unlock our colour confidence is to get back introduced with your gut. We know deep down what colours we love, that lift us up and make us feel happy but somewhere along the lines angst about getting it right or making sensible investments just gets in the way. If we can allow ourselves to be playful with colour then it takes us in a new direction and a new colour confidence can be discovered. I’m really lucky that I get to play with colour and pattern every day and immerse myself in it. My studio is full of images, swatches and paint charts. But still, I can get overwhelmed.
On this course, I take you through the methodology of how to go about pulling a colour scheme together. It’s really important to discover how colour makes you feel, so the focus isn’t solely on the look. Creating a room design is a 360-degree experience after all which is why pinning images alone is never a good way to design a room. By using the technique of making mood boards you can begin to get immersed in the nuance of colour and the texture too. On my workshop, the focus is on how you want the room to feel, and then learning how colour acts as a way to help create that feeling.
The process I use is loosely based on the Wright theory of colour psychology although over the years I’ve tweaked it to really help people work out what their unique colour palettes are and how they work together in harmony. We often have to design one room at a time in our homes, as we work ourselves around rather than masterminding the whole house. But having an overall colour palette to form a strong foundation for all your room designs really helps you create a unifying thread that helps the house hang together as one but also allowing each room to have a different feel. This is especially helpful if like me you love all the colours in the candy store and fret if it’s all going to look one hot mess. Creating a harmonious home is all about creating a collection of colours that have the same tonal qualities so that they sit comfortably next to one another. You also want to think long and hard about how you want to feel in a space.
Colours in this colour family are fresh, soft, buoyant and uplifting. The feeling they create is one of lightness and joy. There is nothing heavy or grounding in this palette and it’s all about enhancing the natural light in a room in a joyful and uplifting way.
These colours are mostly mid-tone and therefore non-challenging to look at, but indeed restful. They are cool and calm and usually have an undertone of grey. As a result, they create soothing, calm and elegant interiors, never busy or fussy but always understated.
Rich and robust these colours are warm and cosy at their core and create welcoming and vibrant spaces. Intense colours are favoured here from jewel brights to rustic woodland tones with plenty of natural woods and plants for the ultimate feel-good space. My colours sit in this season.
Its all about making cool stark statements, colours in this palette are striking with plenty of high contrast. The overall effect is assured and edgy so colours are cold, saturated and uncompromising. A quick-fire way to get some Pow into a scheme.
Once you have identified what feeling you want to create in the room or what colour palette you are personally drawn to you can start to source images and furnishings that go together with ease. The idea behind the mood board is that it gets us off our screen and out of our heads so we can start to design more emotionally. This is also a great way to experiment before you go making any commitments. Trying to get my guests to step away from the paint charts and furniture brochures is really hard though as so many people are chomping at the bit to decide on what elements go into the room. But nailing your colour palette first is essential if you are going to see the whole concept work from start to finish and will give you a deeper and more authentic scheme at the end.
We finish the day by learning some of my decorating tips and tricks and how I make my colour schemes work. A fabulous venue is top of the list then support from my great team Luisa and Antonia who are both interiors experts in their own right. The highlight, of course, is the incredible lunch that the adorable Saima from Hampstead kitchen puts on for us all. By this point, my guests have earned it!
If you fancy joining me in 2020 for my colour workshop, make sure you sign up to my mailing list as I’ll be releasing new dates by the end of the year. I hope to do one in Brighton and another one back in London. Meanwhile, wherever you are in the world you can sign up to my online course which outlines all the basics you need to follow to create a room scheme. I’m currently writing a course all about how to use colour, so watch this space!
A special thank you to the small brands who donated some handpicked gifts for my very very lucky guests to take home with them to enjoy!
Lemongrass & Cedarwood soothing hand lotion, Ubiety Instagram: @findubiety
Vegan faux leather pouch, Sarah Dunbar Design Instagram: @sarahdunbardesign
Studio vegan votive candle, Elm Rd Instagram: @elm.road
Notebooks, Katie Leamon Instagram: @katieleamon