Meet Suzanne, The Colour Consultant
Decorating and design trends are shifting across the industry, people are becoming increasingly design aware and customers from head teachers to homeowners are feeling more inspired to explore colour in the environments that matter to them. The motivation for this change is, in some cases far greater than aesthetic choices. Businesses are looking at how they can optimise efficiencies, hospitals seek out colours that help people mend and individuals are on the hunt for the best ways to make their homes be an extension of themselves.
While on the surface, adding colour to environments sounds like a simple task, not everyone has a clear vision of what might work best for them. This means there is an increasing pressure on professional decorators and merchants to provide solid and savvy advice to their customers. Advice which goes way beyond the benefits of products, drying times and durability.
Kent Blaxill is taking steps to ensure that their customers have the support they need in making choices that work for them.
The service is spearheaded by Suzanne, an experienced colour consultant who has worked extensively in homes and interiors at companies like Laura Ashley and John Lewis. We caught up with her to find out about the service, her passion for colour and picked up a few tips to help make choices that work.
Hi Suzanne, tell us a little about what you’ve been up to…
We are hoping to launch the Kent Blaxill Paint and Wallpaper Colour Consultancy Service. It’s a professional service that will allow us to help customers make the right design decisions before they purchase anything. It will open to trade or consumers and they will be able to book to see us here in the store or I can visit them at home.
Where did the idea come from?
Decorators are increasingly being asked to advise on colour and styling choices, it’s not a role all decorators are comfortable with. Our service allows the people who’d rather not advise the chance to send their clients to us to help. On the other side, we’re seeing more and more consumers seeking decorating advice and we can help them too.
How does it work?
Decorators are really busy, they get booked up weeks and months in advance so they need to be clear on what is needed from a job in order to allocate the right time.
Personally I want to help people walk into rooms, to smile and to feel relaxed. I want people to love their environments, not just like them. If people come here to see me in the store, I ask them to bring some things from the space. That could be anything from a cushion or carpet sample to a lampshade or an item of clothing.
Your wardrobe is a great starting point for choosing colour! Look at your clothes and what you’re wearing. Those are the colours you like and home is an extension of you.
Aside from clothing, where else is a good place for inspiration?
I find inspiration in lots of places. That could be Pinterest, brands like Dulux Trade and lots of magazines. People get confused by magazines though, they look like show homes, but if you want to live in a place then you need to choose a design and products that will take the knocks.
My other passion is gardening and quite often I think nature is the best source of inspiration. I visit places like RHS Hyde Hall and look at the colour combinations of the planting, the patterns and the use of planting design. It really makes you stop and say wow. I suppose I’m saying magazines are great but when you look at nature you can’t go wrong.
What is your favourite colour scheme right now?
I really like the colours that are coming in at the moment. September is the time of year when all the new paint ranges launch and the fabric houses start showing off their new patterns. Copper Gold and Indigo are my current favourites.
How do you use colour in your own home?
My house is quite mindful as I wanted to create a flow between rooms. The colour palette is harmonious with striking accent colours like teals and pinks. My living room is my favourite, it’s got lots of natural light, south facing and I’ve used a Dulux Duck Egg Blue to maximise the light and space.
How can people add some colour to their own environments?
Grey is a strong base and it goes with anything so you can use pops of colour. Look at your kitchen, how would it change if you painted the walls grey and the doors and chairs in mustard?
One key thing to do is buy and try samples, take them home put them on a wall see how they look under lamp light and in daylight. Think about floors, furniture and how the lighting can play a part in shaping the environment too.
Do you ever create a design for someone else that you secretly want?
I think about what I’d like to do at home in the quiet moments. I’ve got a week off soon and my daughter and I have planned to redecorate her room. She loves teal and we’ve picked Velvet Touch 6 for the main part alongside Velvet Touch 2 for a feature. There will be some splashes of fuchsia and pink for a bit of girly joy. I think it’s important to involve your children in decorating, my daughter is 19 and she’ll be helping me to paint.
If people should colour one thing…
Start with the front door - it’s the first thing you see when you get home.