Gutless when it Comes to Colour? It’s Not Your Fault
I was at an event last week, talking to a group of media types about my work as an interior stylist.
When it got to the moment the audience were able to ask questions of me, someone asked what my bravest design has ever been for a client. And you know what? I couldn’t think of one.
The response I gave, which is actually the truth, is that the client dictates the design we go with. It’s not my job to put my tastes into their home. It’s about assessing their wants and needs, and coming up with an awesome concept that works for their home and ticks all the boxes (both visually and functionally).
The sad thing I realised in that moment though, is that in Australia, we’re not very brave when it comes to decorating our homes. And then I started to wonder why.
We’re Very Slow to Adopt Trends
Now, I’m not saying my client’s aren’t the bomb-diggity. I love them. And if you’re thinking about working with me, I love you as well. But when reflecting upon the homes I’ve worked on, the spaces I’ve been in, and even the content that proves most-popular on this blog, let me assure you…. it’s all a bit safe.
In Australia, we’re actually quite slow to adopt design trends. Sorry to break the bad news, but it’s true.
We love Scandi, we love coastal, we love most things that are white, beige, and dusty grey. From what I’m seeing on Instagram, we’re getting adventurous enough to use soft pink accents, but not much else.
Remember when Pantone release Marsala as its colour of the year back in 2015? We clutched our pearls, screwed up our faces, and turned a blind eye. Rich reds in the home, we said… no thank you! Two years later, however, we’re finally coming around. Albeit in really small doses, like a few red cushions or an abstract artwork.
I don’t say any of this to insult you. But it is an interesting issue to look at, don’t you think? I find it intriguing, anyway; that as a nation we are so slow to adopt trends – especially when it comes to colour.
Our Siblings Overseas are as Gutsy as Ever
Overseas (in the UK in particular), they’re rocking colour like it’s going out of style. The Brits are painting their living rooms green, their kitchens red, their bedrooms purple.
Now, that’s not exactly the most cohesive approach to interior design, and I wouldn’t recommend you do it. But you’ve gotta admire their gumption. They don’t seem as afraid as we are to splash paint on our walls, or throw up some wallpaper in their dining room to see how it looks.
So why are we so cautious in Australia when it comes to decorating?
After much deliberation, this is the answer I’ve finally come up with: We don’t know how to use colour properly.
The biggest reason for this is simple: Down Under, we are starved (and I mean STARVED) for locally produced decorating shows that guide us on how to use colour.
Nobody is Showing you How to Get it Right
In both the UK and the US (and even Canada) they are flooded with design shows that showcase trends, colour, pattern. You know – daring design! Here, however, you could count the amount of decorating shows we produce on one hand. And sadly the majority of them don’t provide viewers with real, easy-to-understand tips on using colour, mixing colours, and making a room work.
Even the magazines (sorry mags, don’t come after me), don’t delve too much into tips. You know why… tips are hard to convey, and they don’t sell magazines. In fact, even websites and blogs don’t tend to do a heap of tutorials on getting colour right, for example. Again, because it doesn’t click-bait readers enough. Tips aren’t sexy or exciting or scandalous. But the country desperately needs them.
I have a whole ‘how to decorate’ category on this blog, but I can assure you that it doesn’t get people clicking over from Facebook when I post on getting colour right at home. Not as much as a recap on The Block or House Rules does.
So what’s the Solution?
As I said in this post on why there are almost no Australian decorating shows, we need more locally-produced TV series that teach as opposed to entertain. I know, it sounds so boring, but it doesn’t have to be – not if the right person makes it.
You can do a whole room makeover and teach people about colour and spacial planning and pattern and trends all at the same time. And showcase some awesome products from local brands while we’re at it. It can be fun and entertaining, all while giving the viewer something to take away (you know… like knowledge!).
Then, and only then, will Aussies feel more confident to give colour, patterns and new trends a go at home. To be bold in their design choices. And to not fear a bit of experimentation when it comes to decorating.
While I await calls from Foxtel to have me host this series, drop me a comment below and let me know what you make of this topic. Do you think we’re gutless when it comes to decorating? And why?