She believes in the quality of design, product and service combined with a committed and motivated team but most of all in the power of colours. The creative director and founder of Designers Guild, well known for her bold fabric and wallpaper collections, has no hesitation when it’s time to revamp your homey surroundings: “just find your own sense of colour and listen to your own instincts”.
Mrs Guild, how do you usually work on your colour palette/scheme?
In our collections, we offer a broad colour palette, from the more signature bright shades to softer naturals, neutrals and black and white. It is the colour palette that I see around me in the world – that is where the inspiration comes from. Some people are very careful about adding bold colours to their interiors.
Would you recommend an easy way to incorporate them into a home revamp project?
I would say that first of all it’s important to find your own sense of colour and listen to your own instincts. I believe we all have a colour sense, it is just a case of tuning into it. I would suggest spending the time discovering what emotional reactions certain colours evoke – do they make you feel restful, invigorated, happy or sad? Colour is emotive and it is important to understand how these emotions are triggered when considering introducing colour into your home. When bringing in colour and pattern I would say try counterbalancing it with masses of white and to keep floors and ceilings neutral as this will help to maintain a sense of harmony.
How do you start a decorating project?
Each project is unique and whether it is grand or modest, traditional or contemporary, small or large, the challenge is how to approach each of these concepts, whilst respecting the architecture – but at the same time creating an atmosphere that is innovative, harmonious, filled with character and spirit. Once I have considered the light, the size, the architecture and what the space will be ultimately used for it is then a case of considering the elements to bring into the space – what combination of colour, pattern, texture and shape. These ingredients are so flexible and there are limitless possibilities.
What are some of the most common decorating mistakes made by homeowners? What’s your advice on how to avoid or correct those mistakes?
I find it so sad that people feel confined to a palette of just neutral shades for fear of using colour and I think that people are too often led into bland and boring schemes that will bring them no joy for fear of trying a colour and pattern that they think they might grow tired of. I would say that this is your home and it very much how you feel about colour and pattern that is important – if you love aqua then try painting or papering a wall with that shade – it can be so enriching.
What are your top tips for changing a boring room into an unconventional one? Any key pieces to suggest?
Bring in personality through the choice of colours and patterns, visit a vintage or antique market and if you see something you love – if so, then bring it home. Grab a new cushion or two, or a rug, or perhaps try papering a wall or two – the idea is that you trust your instincts and have fun with it.
What is your advice for design students or someone interested in becoming an interior designer?
Be true to yourself, but also be prepared to make changes in the face of commerciality. It is one thing to create something beautiful but it needs to be able to sell for you to continue to create.
We’ve heard you bought a country house in Tuscany. Did the colours of that lovely Italian region influence your work in any way?
I have always had a great passion for Italy and its beautiful countryside – the rolling hills, the scent of the cypress trees, the wonderful olive groves and all the delicious fresh produce and herbs that grow there. It is a different life! I find it truly inspiring and it has certainly had an influence on the colour palette I use.