As an International Colour Consultant at Farrow & Ball, Joa Studholme lives and breathes colour. Much of Joa's work involves helping people see how paints work together to create a truly harmonious feeling. Her passion for design and colour means her own house is under constant renovation - she claims to redecorate once a week! Joa’s passion and dedication to home décor makes her perfectly placed to sit on the panel for the Surface & Interior Accessories and Furniture categories at the WIN Awards 2015. We sat down with Joa after the awards to discuss everything from colour psychology and trends for autumn/winter, to her advice for maximising small spaces.

Hi Joa, let’s get started by talking about your role at Farrow & Ball

As International Colour Consultant for Farrow & Ball, I develop the colour palette and provide advice to customers in their homes, as well as generally spreading the word about how colour can transform the home.

How did your career in colour begin?

My interest in colour started from when I was a small child – I was constantly rearranging my coloured pencils and lining drawers with garish wrapping paper, so it as a total treat to have worked with Farrow & Ball for the past 19 years.

Is there anybody in particular that has influenced your style?

My clients are the biggest influence on all my work. It is vitally important to live with colours that you like and feel comfortable with, rather than colours that are fashionable or purely pertinent to the date of your house. Luckily we all like different things otherwise the world would be very dull place!

What is the best thing about your role at Farrow & Ball?

I actually love all aspects of my job – but of course mixing and naming colours is very exciting.

What are the benefits of the colour consultation?

Our in-home colour consultancy service starts with looking at the light in any spaces to be decorated and talking through how the rooms are used. We then consider every architectural element, be it dado rails or ornate cornicing, to make sure that there is a totally cohesive scheme. Most importantly we help people to create a decorative scheme that captures the overall look and feel they desire. And, of course, the whole process is fun - with the bonus of a very detailed report at the end which can be given to the decorator so the client doesn’t have to stress about it ever again.

How can someone maximise a small space with colour?

One of the best ways to bounce light around a room is to paint the floor white – try our whitest white, All White, or Wimborne White for a softer finish. Using a single colour in a room will also help create more space as with no point of reference and no contrasts, you’re less aware of where things stop and start. Try painting walls, skirting boards and ceilings fresh Cabbage White for a really airy feel.

While we often seek to create light and space in the home, it can be just as effective to embrace the darkness of a small room by using a strong colour to create a really dramatic, intimate feel. Cloakrooms and powder rooms offer the perfect opportunity to add bold colour without committing to it for larger, more lived-in spaces.

How much does colour affect mood?

The colours used to decorate the home can absolutely affect people’s moods and the purpose of a space should always be taken into consideration when choosing a scheme.

Warm colours create cosier, more relaxing spaces, while cooler tones tend to feel much more formal. Therefore rich warm dramatic colours like Pelt and Railings work wonderfully in dining rooms, while cool light colours like Strong White are better suited for kitchens.

How can colour be used to create flow through a building?

To create flow through a property we recommend choosing colours that have the same tonal weight. It’s best to decorate floor by floor: considering the sightlines between rooms – think about how colours will complement the adjacent rooms. You don’t have to choose colours from the same family, it can be just as effective to use different colours. For example, using Book Room Red and Stone Blue together creates a feeling of continuity as the colours have the same tonal weight. If a lighter red or yellow such as Middleton Pink or Pale Hound were used, the sense of natural flow would be lost.

Colour can also be used to make rooms feel lighter or darker; going into a lighter room from a dark space is bound to make it feel cavernous. This is particularly effective in hallways, which are often lacking in natural light. Painting a hallway in Moles' Breath and the adjoining rooms in lighter shades such as Cornforth White and Ammonite will make them feel lighter and more spacious.

Using one colour on walls and woodwork is popular in contemporary settings as it creates a strong, clean look. It generates a sense of calm in a room, as well as exaggerating its size, as there are no contrasts to draw the eye. Using deep shades like Brassica or Hague Blue will have a cocooning effect, whilst lighter shades like Cabbage White or Wevet will create a fresh feel.

Can you use colour to change the shape of a room?

Yes absolutely! The shape of a room can very easily be changed with the use of colour. If you have a long thin room try painting the two shorter walls a slightly darker tone than the two long walls because the darker colour will advance towards you and the lighter colour will recede away from you, making the room feel squarer. Try Off-White with Old White on the long walls.

Monochromatic schemes are particularly good for irregular shaped rooms as they help iron out any visual faults.

Finally, can you talk us through the key colour trends for AW 2015?

Our four key colours for 2015; Pink Ground, Light Blue, Breakfast Room Green and Tanner’s Brown all promote relaxation and reflection in interiors. With the use of smart tools the lines between life and work have become blurred so we need to create zones in which to relax and reflect. Therefore in 2015 there is an instinctive return to tender colours which create optimistic, life giving interiors. The darker tones are only used to ground spaces or to use in spaces where nature has deprived us of any light.

Farrow & Ball products are available from showrooms and stockists around the world and


Img 1: Living room with walls in French Gray Estate Eggshell, trim in London Stone Estate Emulsion and ceiling in Blackened Estate Emulsion.
Img 2: A study with walls in All White Estate Emulsion, floor in All White Floor Paint and trim in All White Estate Eggshell.
Img 3: A dining room with walls in Railings Estate Emulsion and ceiling in Lime White Estate Emulsion.

Img 4: Nursery with walls in Mole’s Breath Estate Emulsion, ceiling in Blackened Estate Emulsion, woodwork in Mole’s Breath Estate Eggshell and floor in Down Pipe Floor Paint.
Img 5: Hall with walls in Cinder Rose Estate Emulsion & Dimity Modern Emulsion.
Img 6: Contemporary bathroom with walls in Hague Blue Modern Emulsion and trim in All White Estate Eggshell.