Design Experts

Inside design: Tricia Guild

Inside design: Tricia Guild

Inside design: Tricia Guild Author: Style At Home

Design Experts

Inside design: Tricia Guild

Few other designers embrace the entire colour palette as boldly as Tricia Guild, OBE, the creative director and founder of Designers Guild. Since 1970, she has created fabric, wallpaper, linens and paint that reflect her passion for contrasting hues. Based in London, England, the author released her 14th book last year; Flower Sense ($40 US, Rizzoli) examines the ways in which blooms can enhance a room.

Style at Home: Colour has been a defining element in your designs.
Tricia Guild: For me, colour has always been life enhancing and stimulating. I think it's essential for the soul, and as a result, it has always been inherent in designing collections. In terms of design and aesthetic, it’s as important as pattern and texture.

S@H: Do the colours you love change depending on the season or the chapter of your life?
TG: Yes. While colour is a personal choice, and there are no definite rules to follow per se, different colours do provoke different emotions. I like to combine cooler shades, such as aqua or spring green, with hotter accents, like pink or persimmon; the contrast adds depth and a point of interest to a space. I also favour making changes seasonally. We change our clothes and what we eat, so why not make small alterations to our homes as well? That doesn't mean investing in, say, a new sofa. Hanging simple linen banners in shades of rose pink, celadon blue or acacia green creates a fresh, vital scheme for the summer months; adding accessories like blankets or cushions in rich shades of mulberry, chocolate and raspberry is perfect for the winter months.

S@H: As you've evolved as a designer, how has your use of colour evolved?
TG: In the past, we were known for our brighter signature colours. Now we have a broader, more versatile palette -- everything from cool neutrals, through the spectrum to black and white. 

S@H: What else influences your creations?
TG: Travel, nature and flowers, art, the opera and my family, to name but a few. The costumes, music, stories and emotions of the opera inspired our most recent textile collection, Arabella.

S@H: What would you say is shaping decor most at the moment?
TG: Colour and pattern are key, as are new textures. The result is that modern interiors have a greater sense of depth, dimension and personality.

S@H: What do you wish more people would do in their homes?
TG: Be brave and use the colours and patterns they really love rather than play it safe and end up with a blander scheme with no character.

S@H: What colours are inspiring you most right now?
TG: Softer shades of rose pink, pistachio and powder blue -- they're perfect for spring!


In her latest book, Flower Sense ($40 US, Rizzoli), Tricia Guild, OBE, creative director and founder of Designers Guild, offers tips on selecting, arranging and caring for what she calls "one of earth’s miracles." Here are a few of her secrets for bringing life and colour into full bloom, in any room.

Use flowers to create drama or calm. For excitement, pick a variety of  omplementary hues that correspond to the bolder accent colours in a room (usually the colours in cushions or art); for a serene effect, choose flowers in only one colour.

"It's fun to display familiar flowers in a completely new way," Tricia says in her book. Daffodils, for example, look sculptural and modern when trussed and laid on an angle.

Branches of flowering trees make highly architectural arrangements. Tricia's tip: Bring branches inside when they’re just budding. “The flowers will soon open in the warmth and fill the room with their fragile, ephemeral beauty," she says.

Would you like a fresh take on modern? Select blooms that have old-fashioned appeal (like violets and hydrangeas) and reinvent them with minimal styling and contemporary containers. The key lies in keeping things simple.


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Design Experts

Inside design: Tricia Guild