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A Q&A with Sophie Robinson

September 10, 2023



A Q&A with Sophie Robinson

[Photography by Allun Callender]

The age of colour is upon us

If you want a big burst of colour drenched joy, say hello to the fabulous Sophie Robinson. Known as the Queen of Colour, this Interior Designer, TV presenter and Podcaster, is literally fizzing with ideas about how to make colour work hard in your home. From creating a beautiful layered colour and pattern scheme, to considering how you can boost your wellbeing through colour, we sat down with Sophie for a chat about her career, her top design tips and all things colour.

Q. Hi Sophie, it’s great to chat to you. Can you tell us about your career history and how it led you to where you are now?

A. Great to chat to you too! I studied Wood, Metals, Plastics and Ceramics at Brighton University and after graduating, I started out as a lighting designer. My designs were stocked at Liberty, but I needed to make money so I got a job as an interior stylist. I then transitioned into journalism and after working at a publication for five years, I made the decision to go freelance in 2005. That’s when I started doing TV work and I made my debut on 60 Minute Makeover. Later, I set up a blog and now of course, social media is a huge part of what I do, along with my podcast, The Great Indoors. So, I’m not an interior designer in the traditional sense, but I’ve had a varied career and have always worked within the interiors industry.

Q. What do you love about the interiors industry?

A. I’ve always loved designing rooms and I’m fascinated by how diverse the industry is and the sheer variety of trends and styles available. The industry has boomed over the last 25 years and people are spoilt for choice, but they don’t necessarily know what their own personal style is as they can be too influenced by trends.

Q. You’re known as the Queen of Colour. What is it that you love about colour?

A. Colour is powerful, it’s emotive and can evoke a feeling or mood, like nothing else. It’s processed in the emotional part of the brain, and everyone has a slightly different emotional reaction to colour. A good or bad memory can make the difference between loving and hating a colour! Finding your own style and favourite colours is very empowering. If people worry that they’re being too influenced by trends, they might just opt for grey or beige because it feels safe, which is a shame because research shows that most people would like to have more colour in their homes, but they don’t necessarily know how to incorporate it. I’m passionate about getting people reconnected to what their favourite colours are which is why I started my interior design school.

[Photography by Allun Callender]

Q. What is your starting point when designing a room?

A. I always start with a vision. Lots of people make the mistake of buying a sofa and then they try to fit the living room around that, so they end up buying furniture and accessories that they don’t really love. You have to begin with a mood board, where you curate your colour palette, patterns and fabrics. This will help focus your mind and inform your purchasing decisions so that you only ever buy furniture and accessories that you truly love and that fit your overall scheme.

Q. What are your top three tips for decorating with colour?

A. Your choice of colour should inform everything else. Nail your colour palette and then hone your style. Do you prefer tropical designs or English floral prints? What finishes do you like - chrome or gold? All of these decisions should be made after you’ve chosen your colour palette. Don’t start with paint. This should be the finishing touch that pulls the whole room together. Never underestimate the importance of lighting and the impact it has on colour. Think about your colour palette, the mood you want to create and how this is affected by different lighting. Adding lots of lovely lamps and wall lights create an atmosphere and enhance your colour scheme.

Q. How do you find harmony between different prints?

A. I love mixing different patterns together, from leopard print to florals. My top tip for combining different patterns is to have a coherent colour palette and then mix patterns from one family of colour.

Q. Are there any two colours that you wouldn’t mix together?

A. There are no two colours that shouldn’t be used together but shades do need to be tonally compatible. For example, not all shades of green and pink will work together. A rose pink wouldn’t work with a verdant green tone, but it would look beautiful paired with an olive shade.

[Photography by Allun Callender]

Q. Do you have a favourite colour? And a least favourite?

A. I can’t give an easy answer to the first question because colour is all about creating a feeling. I recently chose a warm and sunny yellow shade for my kitchen, but this isn’t a colour I would use in a bedroom or living room. In a bedroom, I want to feel restful and for me, the shade that evokes that feeling is green. So, whilst I do love joyful colour, I can’t pick a favourite because you need to think about how you use the room and the feelings you want to evoke. As for my least favourite colour, that’s much more straightforward – it’s Trade All Brilliant White. If I could ban this colour, I would! It’s too stark, too harsh and it has too many blue undertones. It’s not a colour found in nature, it’s totally synthetic.

Q. Finally, what are your favourite pieces from Barker and Stonehouse and how would you style these?

A. My style is very maximalist, and I love using lots of rich colours and bold patterns to make an impact. A great way to create drama in a room is to pair two high contrast colours together. The colour drenched Barker and Stonehouse Hoxton sofa in Dusk Marmalade is a real showstopper paired with the Pellaro Swivel Armchair in Amigo Navy. To pack a punch with pattern, I love the Orla Kiely sofas and armchairs. Even just one statement patterned piece has the power to instantly transform a room!

Sophie's Edit

Discover more of Sophie’s favourite pieces from our collection in our Sophie Robinson edit.


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