BBC2's Great Interior Design Challenge judge Sophie Robinson talks us through her top decorating tips, experimenting with colour and the importance of Instagram.

interior designer sophie robinson smiling at desk with a colourful background

Image: Luca Sage

Having built a reputation in the industry for her daring and joyful use of colour, Sophie Robinson has been in the interior design business for over 20 years, earning the reputation as one of the industry's top interior stylists.

Best known for fronting BBC2’s The Great Interior Design Challenge, Sophie is currently the new interior designer for BBC ONE’s DIYSOS and is also designing the Innovation Home at this year's Ideal Home Show

We sat down with Sophie to chat colour scheme confidence, what to expect from her show home designs and her top decorating advice.

Without giving too much away, talk us through the concepts and trends featured in your Ideal home show home

I’ve always been a colour lover but this year decorating with bold colour is big news.

Many people are afraid of how to use colour so in the Innovation house I’ll be showing some bold and new colour combinations and how you can use colour to link together all the rooms in your home and create different moods.

What design elements have inspired this year’s show home?

The big message is colour and how it can really create a showstopping scheme. And I’m also looking at how new technology can be incorporated seamlessly and subtly within the home.

It’s increasingly becoming a bigger part of our lives but we also feel the need to escape from it too. So how this works within an interior design is integral.

What key interiors pieces in the show home are you lusting after most?

I’m super lusting over the kitchen. I’m collaborating with a wonderful company called Naked Kitchens 80/20 who provide standard sized carcases to plan the layout with but you can have real fun designing your own bespoke door fronts, thereby giving you the look of a handmade kitchen at a more affordable price.

I’ve been able to pick the exact colour for the doors and the handle details; along with the worktops and splash backs. It’s been such a delight to specify everything to my own design.

What do you think makes a house a home?

The people who live there! And that’s why I feel strongly that great interior design should reflect the personalities of the people who live there.

This can be done in many ways; from thrashing out colour schemes that resonate with people on a deep level to the way you style a home with family pictures and mementos.

sophie robinson on back of a velvet sofa winking in front of a coloured background

Image: Luca Sage

What’s your biggest trend prediction for 2018?

I’m not a big advocate for trends so I hope the biggest trend is that people continue to seek out their own unique sense of style!

Which key trends should we be looking out for in Spring/summer 2018?

Well the bad news for colour lovers like me is that neutrals are set to make a comeback.

Although they’re not being heralded as beige or greys that we’ve become so dependent on but pale pastels like peach and blush pink. Good luck getting that one past the husband I say!

Can you share some of your top decorating tips with us?

When you looking at decorating a home I think a good way to start is to devise a colour palette that can be use throughout the house to help give a room flow.

You can start by deciding what sort of tones you like. Do you love the sharp primary brights, muted naturals or rich jewel tones for example?

Once you have picked your colour palette then it’s easy to think up new and colourful schemes for each room and yet still keep the house feeling cohesive.

You are renowned for your fearless approach to colour. What top tips would you recommend to decorating novices who are unsure of adding a splash of colour to their home?

My mantra has always been to ‘go for it’. Lots of people worry about making design mistakes and feel anxious about the finished result.

But nothing is worse than feeling disappointed with an underwhelming colour scheme. So feel the fear and do it anyway!

How would you incorporate 2018’s Pantone colour of the year into an existing scheme?

Ultra violet is a particularly punchy purple and so a real marmite colour, people will either love it or hate it.

I’d go one of two ways. First up go full on and on all four walls. It looks great with other jewel bright colours like teal, lemon and fuchsia. Or otherwise use it sparsely as an accent to make a neutral scheme feel a little more modern.

What advice would you give to budding interior designers about getting into the industry?

I think that the ever increasing wave of social media is has been an incredible way for people to get inspired and connected and never more so within the interior design sector.

If I was a young designer starting out I’d make sure I had a mouth-watering instagram account and newsworthy blog to showcase my efforts. It’s a great networking tool and one thing I’ve learnt about this industry is it’s all about who you know!

What interiors trend are you most excited about seeing at the Good Homes roomsets?

I’m excited to see the black on black kitchen set. I love rooms that create real drama and black can be a real showstopper. The elements of metallic will really lift it and make a room that can often feel purely utilitarian, something really glamorous and special.

Sophie Robinson will be designing the Innovation Home at this year's Ideal Home Show. Within the house Sophie has showcased some of the most popular trends in interior design, in order to show you how you can get the look in your own home. She loves nothing more than to inspire people to make their homes truly personal and individual and is on a mission to ‘Ban the beige.'

 

Make sure you book a ticket to the Ideal Home Show to see Sophie's designs for yourself - plus, don't forget to check out our roomsets while you're there.

Are you daring enough to use bright colours in your home? Share your opinion by tweeting us @goodhomesmag or post a comment on our Facebook page.

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