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Colour With Confidence

Design guru Tricia Guild OBE talks interiors and explains to Ruth Wyatt how to find the perfect colour.

Tricia Guild OBE is the doyenne of colour, pattern and texture in interior design. The founder and Creative Director of Designers Guild, she has been bringing her signature style to homes around the world from her Chelsea base for 45 years. And she shows no signs of slowing down – far from it. Fresh from sharing her expertise at a talk at the V&A Museum and with a new book published, Tricia made time to give us some interior design tips.

What prompted you to set up in business and why King’s Road?
When I started my shop, there was really no concept of ‘lifestyle’ as we know it today. I had this idea to present a lifestyle that could offer a sense of informality with a contemporary yet decorative look - I always think it is so much easier when people can see the evidence of how something works visually by touching and feeling the products. It was so rewarding when it seemed to work for people and I realised that I had found my passion and drive. I then started researching textiles to use in my shop and for projects I was working on, but felt so frustrated at the lack of designs, which led me to designing the first collection. The King’s Road was an easy choice – it was and very much still is, a creative hub synonymous with style and luxury.

What was the inspiration for your latest book, Paint Box?
I hope to demystify the process of creating a colour palette and decorating with the colours that you love – but crucially, not take away the magic. I have met many people over the years that are more than a little nervous of embracing colour in their own homes – it has always been my passionate goal to give those people the confidence to live with the colours and textures that will enrich their lives.

Would you share some tips on how to create a colour palette of one’s own?
Identify the main colours that you love: are they cool or warm? Your main colours will dictate the type of white or neutral that you will undoubtedly need. Also, consider your neutral – this colour will underpin your scheme and will provide a constant harmonious note.

Why is colour important and does neutral always have to mean anonymous?
Deciding which colours to use is a very personal and emotive choice. It is so important to take time to tune into your own colour sense, after all, we all have colours that make us feel happy, sad, restful or energised. Once you understand the emotions that different shades can create, you can use this knowledge to great effect within your own home. Neutrals are extremely important as they provide balance. There are so many interesting choices for neutrals too: it could be grey, ecru, chocolate, a shade of blue or green, or even pale plaster pink. I often use a shade of slate blue as a neutral, especially with bright colours.

How much attention should people pay to fashions and trends in interior design?
One should be aware of trends, but I also think that it is so much more rewarding when you follow your own instincts. Trends are ephemeral so you should choose designs, colours and textures that you love and that make you feel happy.

Designers Guild 265-277 King’s Road, SW3 5EN; 020 7351 5775

Colour With Confidence