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Interview with colour expert Donna Philip

6 June 2018

Playing with colour.

Donna Philip has been in the interiors industry for more than 10 years. As a colour expert, she has a keen eye for detail. Managing our Chelsea Harbour showroom, Donna is on hand to meet with our trade professionals and design consumers, to talk about upcoming projects and home renovations. We invited Donna to be interviewed for our blog. To talk about her career as a colour stylist and the advice she gives to people visiting our showroom. Here is what Donna had to say…

How did you get started in your career as a colour expert?

As a child I loved art. I studied fashion at collage and went onto experimenting with textiles, embroidery and pattern design at university. Since university, I have worked for prestigious interior brands, including paint colour experts Farrow & Ball. Working with colour schemes trains your eye with undertone.

Floral Embroidery

Geometric floral painting

What are your top three tips for inviting colour into a home?

Colour is dependent on light, so work with it! Under the right light colour will ‘sing’. Usually there is a reference point you would like to take your direction from, but don’t over complicate things. If you have a favourite artwork or textile then start with that as the inspiration. Pick out the neutrals as a potential base and bolder hues as focal points. Have a base palette to keep on track.

What advice would you give to someone who is afraid to experiment with colour?

Layering soft colours/neutrals will allow any other colour that is introduced to sit quite comfortably. I recently watched an interview with garden designer Sarah Price, who mentioned that she experimented with a bright yet neutral backdrop for her M&G Garden at Chelsea. This created a light, relaxing space for people to enjoy.

Other countries have a completely different relationship with colour. We seem to look to our surroundings for clues. You should always choose what you will feel comfortable with.  It’s not a competition. Nature is blooming with bold combinations!

Don’t forget that texture adds depth to colour with different materials, making a strong statement. You could stick to a limited palette but use textures to highlight focal points.

Mood board with wood and stone samples

Which colour do you think is timeless?

White! Although there are so many whites to choose from it’s about selecting the right one for your scheme. Other colours tend to come and go, depending on trends. Cream, terracotta and marine, for example. What changes is how we use them and what we put with them in a design scheme.

What is your favourite colour trend?

I’m excited about trends and how they develop but prefer to see original schemes that have personality.

Where there is balance; there can be crazy colour and pattern in one space but if it’s all harmonious then its exciting and clever.