Ask the expert: Sophie Robinson
Dec 21, 2021
Ask the Expert: Sophie Robinson
At this time of year, we can’t help but embrace our bolder side when it comes to home decor, so we asked colour queen Sophie Robinson to share her advice on creating big, bright, and beautiful interiors…
Name: Sophie Robinson
Job title: Colour queen, interior designer, podcast host and TV presenter
Tell us about your career in interiors…
Over the past 25 years I’ve had a rich and varied career. I started off working in magazines as an interior stylist for ten years before going freelance and working on a wide variety of interior design projects, mostly for the media. I was invited to be a judge on BBC Two’s The Great Interior Design Challenge in 2014, have been lead interior designer for BBC One’s DIY SOS, a guest judge on Alan Carr’s Interior Design Masters, and I have my own interiors show for Channel 5 coming out in the new year. It’s going to be about celebrating the power of interior design to realise your home’s potential to make you feel happy.
How would you describe your interior style?
I’m a maximalist at heart so I like a bold dose of colour, plenty of patter and a very eclectic aesthetic. I’m a fan of imperfect interiors that blend art, objects, vintage and modern in a joyful jamboree.
We love Sophie's use of tiles in her kitchen: Get the look with our Reclaimed Hexagonal Terracotta and Shrimp Pink Glazed Tiles. Photography @timyoungphotographer
What are your top five tips for using colour effectively in the home?
- First of all, you need to spend some time deciding your own relationship with colour. It really is something you feel in your gut and is very personal. Sometimes it’s wise to step away from the paint charts and look at art, fashion, nature, and other areas of design for inspiration.
- Next you want to choose colours that evoke a certain feeling in a space. Again, this is very personal. For example, I love a splash of yellow in my schemes for a jolt of feel-good vibes, but the same colour can make others feel quite stressed.
- Don’t be afraid to take risks, especially with paint which can be easily changed. Tiles are a bigger commitment but don’t default to beige as you will always be left disappointed if it’s not what your heart truly desired.
- Use colours in different proportions so they don’t fight one another. Too many colours all jostling for attention can make a space feel stressful.
- Colour isn’t just for walls. Consider picking out a contrasting colour for windows and woodwork, don’t paint your ceiling the default white, and give that old piece of furniture a lick of colour for an instant colour update.
What’s your advice for someone who’s a bit nervous about ‘going for it’ with colour in their home?
Attempt to flesh out a vision for your room scheme before you start ordering expensive items. There is so much visual inspiration online now - you can produce pin boards on Pinterest, save your favourite interiors on Instagram - and hoard a pile of magazines too, but to get some clarity I always recommend doing a mood board where you have to edit your inspiration to a few key images and key colours. That way you can make any mistakes on paper first and it will give you the confidence to make bolder choices.
Sophie used our plain tiles to stunning effect at her Ideal Homeshow "Innovation Home" in 2018. Get the look with our plain encaustic tiles.
When it comes to maximalism, how much is ‘too much’ - or is too much never enough?
Again, it’s so personal. I adore some of the most crammed, action-packed interiors that are a real riot, so for me enough is never enough, but you have to work out your own threshold. A bigger crime in my view is not going far enough!
What are your favourite colour combinations?
I love the richness, depth and drama of cobalt blue, the soft nurturing warmth of blush pink and the perky optimism of a sunshine yellow. These three colours are repeated throughout my home in various doses. They are my happy colours.
And any to avoid at all costs?!
Grey. It’s just lazy in my view and never gives me the squeals.
Tell us about your Confident Colour Scheming course - what made you start it up, and what can people expect?
My Confident Colour Scheming course is my fourth online course and follows on from my Be Your Own Interior Designer course which covered the essential basics. It’s for people who want to dive deep and understand how colour works but also how to combine all the different elements that go into a room scheme.
From walls to floors, paint to tiles, and fabrics to furnishings, there are so many elements that layer together to make the perfect room scheme. I’ve attempted to break it all down and provide an overview of all the options with guidance on how you can combine them to create mouth-watering rooms.
This course will provide the clarity and know-how to create sensational interiors. My hope is to give people the confidence to design colour-soaked rooms that bring them joy - the biggest hurdle is often a lack of confidence.
Find out more about Sophie’s courses here. Anyone booking the Confident Colour Scheming and Be Your Own Interior Designer courses together will receive 50% off until 29 January 2022.
Follow Sophie on Instagram - @sophierobinsoninteriors