Making a splash: the paint guru who wants us to fall in love with colour

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Joa Studholme’s occupation rubric astatine overgarment institution Farrow & Ball is “colour curator”, which makes her dependable similar a hipster doing thing groovy and opaque, oregon a uncommon breed of good creation specialist. In practice, she is thing altogether much down-to-earth: a overgarment and colour advisor with a ample dollop of Mary Poppins empathy, pragmatism and cheeriness mixed successful for bully measure.

Over the past 25 years, Studholme has parachuted into upwards of 4,000 homes to counsel daunted newbies, oregon fraught couples, connected their colour schemes. “They don’t cognize wherever to begin,” she says, arsenic we beryllium successful the bay model of her partially decorated caller level successful London’s Notting Hill. The walls and woodwork, including the shutters, are painted successful Dead Salmon successful a dormant level finish. “Or there’s a marital issue,” she continues, invariably implicit the prime of palette. One fractional hankering aft thing daring and fun, the different wanting harmless neutrals often results successful implicit deadlock.

PR images from the publication  How to Redecorate by Joa Studholme and Charlotte Cosby Contact cause  regarding photography.
Step up the drama: overgarment your staircase successful a darker accent colour, linking each the floors of your location unneurotic and creating a beardown cardinal spine. Photograph: James Merrell

“Everyone is embracing colour overmuch more,” says Studholme. “All those years of grey mania are over. I utilized to drift astir houses astir Notting Hill and they were each beauteous overmuch identical – seas of marble and shades of greige – perfectly beautiful, of course, but besides precise soulless. Now radical person realised that their homes person to enactment truthful overmuch harder for them. You’d beryllium amazed however galore privation to person womb-like, cocoon-like bedrooms.”

The question is, which colours and where? Studholme, unneurotic with Farrow & Ball’s originative manager Charlotte Cosby, has written How to Redecorate to speech radical done the process, measurement by step. “It’s a manual connected decorating, not a glossy java array book,” Studholme says. “The thought is to spell done it sequentially.” The archetypal steps are the important ones: skip them and you’ll extremity up backmost wherever you started, feeling overwhelmed and incapable to marque decisions. If you bash things successful the close order, and interruption down some the process and the task earlier you begin, you can’t fail, she enthuses, with diagnostic passion.

PR images from the publication  How to Redecorate by Joa Studholme and Charlotte Cosby MUST CREDIT PAINTING - Painting Tom Hammick
Go two-tone: a divided colour, oregon tideline, is applicable and looks great. Paint a stronger colour connected the bottommost portion of the partition and a lighter colour above, and the country volition unfastened retired and look bigger. For the eventual tideline, transportation the divided colour implicit doors and windows. Or usage the aforesaid colour, but successful antithetic finishes: gloss connected the bottommost and matt connected top. Painting by Tom Hammick. Photograph: James Merrell

Step one: instrumentality connected committee the architecture of the country you privation to redecorate. Is it ample oregon small, acheronian oregon light? Is it an awkward shape? Step two: carnivore successful caput however the airy falls successful a room, arsenic this volition find however your overgarment colours alteration during the people of the day. Step three, and this pertains to a single-room task oregon a full location oregon flat: beryllium guided by your ain benignant and however you unrecorded – travel your gut instinct.

A penchant for colour brings caller choices, she says, with woodwork a cardinal consideration. “Ask yourself: are you wedded to achromatic woodwork? Have you thought astir dark? Most radical are, like: ‘That’s a spot scary, I’ve ne'er thought of it.’” The vantage of trim that is darker than the walls, she says, is that it makes a abstraction look lighter, portion utilizing the aforesaid colour connected some walls and trim makes the abstraction consciousness bigger and sleeker.

 Paint the doorway  and its framework  successful  the aforesaid  colour, alternatively   than utilizing achromatic  for the frame. The doorway  instantly  looks bigger and much  commanding.
Make an entrance: overgarment the doorway and its framework successful the aforesaid colour, alternatively than utilizing achromatic for the frame. The doorway instantly looks bigger and much commanding. Photograph: Farrow & Ball X Collagerie

If you privation to alteration things up, there’s nary request to redecorate your full home. “Start small,” says Studholme, “with the wrong of a cupboard oregon a loo.” This gives you a accidental to find retired however comfy you are with bolder choices.

If you privation the wow factor, but not successful the full house, bash thing darker oregon bold successful the hall. “A connection hallway gives you licence to beryllium overmuch much neutral successful the rooms starring disconnected it.” The spare country is different accidental astatine self-expression. “If you person the indulgence of an other room, spell for a colour which possibly you wouldn’t privation to unrecorded with each day. I’m each implicit doing truly beardown colours and brainsick decoration successful impermanent rooms. Why not springiness your guests a treat?”
The agleam touch: if you person a model oregon skylight successful a recess, overgarment the reveals successful a diagnostic colour. Red creates lukewarm airy portion yellows marque a country consciousness perpetually sunny. Ceramics by Margot Wilson. Photograph: James Merrell/James Merrell / Ceramics: instagram: @margot_wilson_art,website:

Another bully instrumentality to adhd pizzazz is to overgarment the borderline of 1 oregon 2 doors successful a strikingly antithetic colour. Put a portion of masking portion connected the borderline of the door, past overgarment it successful a diagnostic colour. A portion of agleam yellowish connected a child’s chamber doorway is simply a existent favourite. “It’s the tiny things that get you going,” she says. Fitting a portion of painted cardboard into the backmost of a dresser oregon thorax of drawers is different hack. “It’s similar the coloured lining of a jacket. It’s a flourish.”

Studholme is everlastingly repainting the array legs of her room table, too. Or rather, idiosyncratic other is coating them. “I can’t paint,” she admits. “I’m excessively messy, I’m banned.”

When I inquire what the biggest decorating mistakes are, she is reluctant to state any. “I’m not definite determination is specified a happening arsenic a mistake,” she says. But I propulsion for an answer, and past she is unequivocal. “The biggest mistake is radical who default to agleam achromatic for ceilings. If a ceiling is truly white, you tin work the confines of it, it is defined. The tallness comes down and it instantly makes the country look overmuch smaller. It’s arsenic if you person created a beauteous outfit and you haven’t done your hair.” That bad, I gasp? Yes, she laughs, that bad.

How to Redecorate by Joa Studholme and Charlotte Cosby is published by Octopus astatine £35. Order it for £30.80 from

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