On the Colour Couch with design writer and blogger Stacey Sheppard
As you’ll find out later in this interview Stacey and I met back in 2011 when she enlisted my help as an applied colour psychology specialist for her award winning blog, The Design Sheppard, to help her “understand colour better and the effects that it can have on our moods.” Since that first blog on grey we’ve got under the skin of many colours to see what lies beneath. I’ve seen Stacey blossom with her use of colour which fills my heart with joy. So without further ado, grab yourself a cuppa and join Stacey on her colourful journey…
What is your earliest colour memory?
I remember being about five years old wearing a new outfit that made me feel utterly amazing. It was a little pair of cycle shorts teamed with a chunky knit cropped jumper in the same shade of purple as Pantone’s Ultra Violet. At the time, I loved the colour and the way it made me feel and I remember wanting to wear that outfit every day.
What does colour mean to you?
I’ve had a bit of a difficult relationship with colour in the past and I’m not entirely sure why. As a teenager I dreamt of having a completely bright white, minimalist home. From the moment I moved out of my parent’s home, I lived in a succession of magnolia rented homes that I was unable to decorate or put my own stamp on. So I never really got to explore my relationship with colour.
I didn’t find magnolia to be an easy colour to live with and no matter what colours I tried to accessorise with, nothing about it made me feel good. So when my husband and I finally bought our home and had free reign to decorate in whatever colours we wanted, I really struggled to know what to choose because I’d had so little experience.
Do you have a favourite colour or a colour that you find yourself constantly drawn to? And why?
I suppose it depends on the context. For the last few years, when it comes to what I wear, it has been Navy Blue. My entire wardrobe is navy blue, all my accessories, my glasses, even my nails, despite the efforts of my manicurist to convince me to experiment with other colours. However, I am now finding myself drawn to blush pinks, and sage, olive and khaki shades of green. I do get a bit obsessive with colours. When I find one that makes me feel good, I like to fully invest in it…for years!
Do you have a colour that you least like? And why?
Weirdly, I would have to say Pantone’s Ultra Violet shade of purple. I have absolutely no idea why but it really puts me on edge. I feel quite stressed just looking at it. It’s very strange as the only memories I can recall of this colour in my past are that wonderful little outfit that brought me so much joy.
What do you think your life would be like without colour?
Pretty devoid of emotion. It’s only really in the last few years that I have become aware of how colours make me feel. As I explained, I spent many years not really making that much of a connection with colour so I didn’t realise how powerful it can be and to what extent it can really influence our moods.
Were you ever afraid or wary of colour? And what did you do to overcome this?
Yes I was. I really lacked confidence when it came to colour, especially when it came to decorating my home. So I did what any good journalist would do, and I enlisted the help of an applied colour psychology expert. Interviewing you for my blog really helped me to understand colour better and the effects that it can have on our moods.
In a very selfish move, I interviewed you about magnolia and asked you what colours to pair with it. You suggested green, so I accessorised our living room in our rented home with green and realised that I absolutely adore green. So when we bought our home, I went all out and painted the living room in a dark shade of green. I wasn’t brave enough to do all the walls though, so I did two, lived with it for a few months, then did the rest. That gave me the confidence to be brave in the other rooms. In fact, we painted our bedroom in Valspar’s Epic Adventure, a deep shade of blue, which seemed very fitting at the time as using such a bold colour felt epically adventurous for me.
Do you have a favourite colour place that you visit (or have visited)?
Earlier this month, I opened a small coworking space for creative female entrepreneurs. So this is my current favourite colour place. When it came to the decoration, I wanted to do something different after spending years also working in a magnolia office. I wanted it to feel more homely and cosy than a corporate office and I wanted colour to play a large role.
It was an interesting journey though as I had the colours I wanted all picked out and was excited to get them on the walls. But when we painted the testers on the wall I quickly realised that those colours just wouldn’t work in the space. They looked completely different and in some lights they were actually terrible. Luckily, I had some help from an interior designer who helped me to choose colours that did work with the light in the space.
We ended up opting for pink, which I was pretty against at the outset as it’s such a stereotypical colour for women. But I am absolutely in love with the colour and the women who have been in to work in the space seem to really like it too.
For anyone afraid of colour what would your number 1 piece of advice be?
Ease yourself in gently. Start by adding some smaller accessories until you feel comfortable, then maybe some bigger pieces. The thought of painting an entire room, for example, can be terrifying but you can take baby steps to build up your confidence.
I think you’ll agree with me, that was one wonderful colour transformation. Could there be a better paint name than “Epic Adventure” – it sums up Stacey’s journey into colour beautifully.
You can check out Stacey and me chatting How to Use the Psychology of Colour to Transform Your Life.
Short version 28mins How to Use the Psychology of Colour to Transform Your Life
Full version 1:30mins How to Use the Psychology of Colour to Transform Your Life
If you would like to discover more about Stacey’s colourful world, then head over to her Instagram @staceyjsheppard and Twitter @staceyjsheppard.
Stacey’s award winning blog is The Design Sheppard. You can also read Stacey and my colour blogs.
You can find out more about her co-working space www.thetribecoworking.co.uk and on Instagram @thetribecoworks
Wishing you a colourful day,
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