'fresh thinking' notes from the Colour for Interiors workshop with Sophie Robinson


It has to be time for a little more workshop eye-candy doesn't it? Tuesday 20th June saw the very first Colour Psychology for Interiors with the creative fireball that is Sophie Robinson and as you'd expect, we had an absolute ball! Sophie scouted a whole range of locations and we absolutely fell in love with the beautiful Papermill Studios in Islington, North London, which was our home for the day. Run by photographers, the studio was filled with light and needed very little styling, save for a few fabulous floral arrangements by the wonderful Stephanie Eastwood. Those foxtail lilies (all the heart eyes)...

Sophie is probably best known to those of us in the UK for being a stylist and TV presenter - most recently on BBC DIY SOS and also as the gorgeously popular judge on the Great Interior Design Challenge alongside Daniel Hopwood.

Sophie had attended my Colour for Creatives workshop last summer and it had absolutely blown her away with the possibilities, so when she asked me if I'd run a colour psychology workshop for interior design I jumped at the chance. We hatched a plan to create a really inspirational, informative and game-changing day and we had an absolute ball both at the workshop and in the design stages.

Having experienced the truly transformative power of colour psychology on my own creative practice, we both knew that a day focused on interior design could do some really wonderful things for our students. Sophie described the day as a 'spa day for your business' and that's exactly what it was. A chance to escape from the day to day, to reignite inspiration and learn some really powerful stuff.

You can see from the images the thought we put into the experience. For me, running a workshop has to be about creating an immersive experience. One that's a feast for the mind and body. When you're truly inspired, when you're fully involved in the day, you can achieve great things, and that's really important.

What was also essential was making sure that this had a tangible impact on our students' businesses. And so we encouraged them to think about how they wanted a room to feel more than how they wanted it to look.

It's so interesting. I spend my life immersed in branding and encouraging people to think about how they want their brands to feel rather than how they want them to look. And in the work I do with Rona for Florists, again, we encourage our florist students to go beyond demands for a particular flower and focus more on how a room should feel when guests enter it.

It's exactly the same with interior design and that was a big learning for me - to trust my instincts. I felt in my gut that there was a need for a course with more of a focus on creating rooms that resonate. Goodness, I'm no interior design expert. I'm terrible with space and I don't have the technical side of things down at all. But I do know how to create a room that answers a brief and I do know how to 'read' clients and empower others to do the same. It was such an amazing day for us all to focus on something so different and powerful.

'Inspired me to concentrate on the client brief and not to get too engrossed in looking at interiors online' Karen Jackman

We really encouraged them to focus their briefing on how a room should feel and then use colour psychology to create a design that felt cohesive, coherent and right for the inhabitants of that space.

I started with an overview of the seasonal personalities and how I use them to channel and focus my creative process. Next we had the students take the first of the briefs they'd brought in from home and work out which season their client was. Not as straightforward as you'd initially think and I was so glad we were on hand to help each through identifying the season.

Next they created a very simple collage that would help set the tone for the project. I think this is one of the most powerful things we do at any of our workshops. That chance to step away from the computer and the powerpoint and actually get tactile. Particularly with interiors, which are so much more three-dimensional than website design, it's really important for both your creativity and demonstrating value in what you do to create something tactile isn't it? It also massively helps sell in your vision to your client. What's not to love?

Sophie is known for her fabulously bright sense of style and love of colour and I certainly channelled that into the styling for the day. Bright, clashy flowers, high-energy clashing colours on the notebooks and the food, oh the food. More on that shortly.

I loved how the students also pulled their brightest clothes out of their wardrobes for the day. As you'll see - we had a real riot of colour in the room and just the loveliest bunch of positive, supportive people. It was just amazing.

Then it was time for lunch, which was amazing. We were very, very lucky to work with the super talented Saima at Hampstead Kitchen who put on the most beautifully colourful and deliciously flavoursome Persian feast. Oh. My. Goodness. It was gorgeous!

Some of you may well be aware of my Persian roots, so I was especially excited to try Saima's food. It was as good as it looks. Seriously.

After lunch, she left us some baklawa which is sold in Harrods, no less. Delicious.

Obviously it's not all about the food... And after lunch Sophie inspired us all with a hands on styling session. She showed us how she'd style up vignettes for each of the four seasons and also peppered her talk with plenty of insider secrets, which was fab!

Then it was time to think about creating one big mood board for the second brief of the day. I started with a quick insight into how the various fabrics, prints, paint colours and so on translate through to the seasonal personalities and then it was time to get creative!

Sophie had curated an incredible selection of samples which the students used to supplement what they'd brought. It was a lot like a sweet shop for interior designers! And as you'd expect of Sophie, lots of fabulously clashing colour and pattern.

Down to the serious business of shortlisting materials...

Starting to create...

It was great to see people get really hands on and really thinking hard about the brief in hand.

And some of the finished mood boards,

There were some fabulous things in the goody bags, a gorgeous art print, missoni towel, scented candle and other gorgeous, gorgeous things.

We rounded off the day by setting intentions for the future, which Sophie will post to them in the future and of course, with a glass of bubbles or two.

There were selfies, of course...

And then it was time to say farewell. What an incredible day with a wonderful bunch of interior designers, bloggers and journalists.

Like to join us for the next one?

We're running another Colour for Interiors workshop on 16th November in London and would love for you to join us. Places are strictly limited and are selling fast, so if you'd like to join us, hot-foot it over to Sophie's website for full details and to secure your place.

Oh, and here's Sophie's post from the day, with a whole heap more lovely photos! Images as always by the wonderful Katie Spicer.