Irish Independent

No shrinking violet

The 2018 colour of the year is bright, bold and can add drama to any home, as expert Roisin Lafferty tells our reporter

by Leslie Ann Horgan

First printed in the Irish Independent December 31 2017

‘I wouldn’t have picked it, but I actually love it,” laughs Roisin Lafferty. “It’s opulent, luxurious – and quite dramatic!” We’re talking, of course, about Ultra Violet, the shocking purple shade that international colour institute Pantone has announced as its colour of the year for 2018.

Just as this year’s Greenery pervaded every area of the interiors market, you can expect to see your favourite homewares stores taking on a regal hue in the coming weeks – very fitting for a year which will see a royal wedding taking place.

“Complex and contemplative, Ultra Violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now,” the colour experts say of their chosen shade. “The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own…” That may well be, but as someone not all that concerned with galaxies far, far away, I’m wondering whether Ultra Violet is a shade too shocking for the average Irish home?

“You have to be dramatic with it,” Roisin (right) admits. “I’d steer away from feature walls, and I would choose very carefully the room that I’d use this colour in. If you have a panelled room you could go quite bold with it.”

Founder and creative director with Kingston Lafferty Design (KLD), Roisin is one of Ireland’s leading interior decorators. She is also an ambassador for Fleetwood Paint, the only Irish company to work with Pantone to create a paint range. For 2018, Roisin has put together a colour palette of five shades to complement Ultra Violet, which she has used to create our photoshoot.

“This kind of colour needs to be layered up and complemented. The colours I have chosen to match Ultra Violet are quite timeless,” she says. “They’re not trend focused. I love the navy floor against the purple. And Mahogany Rose, in particular, would lend itself to lots of different types of houses.” Indeed, the KLD offices have recently been painted in the warm shade which she says is “so stunning”.

Obviously, as their brand ambassador, Roisin is effusive in her praise for the Fleetwood range, which she says is great quality and easy to apply. She insists, however, that her designer’s eye was genuinely impressed with their rendering of the Ultra Violet shade. “With a braver colour like this, some paints can come out sugary or acidy. The Fleetwood paints have a depth to them that makes the colour come out with a slightly muted quality that makes it more sophisticated – and less scary!”

Paint continues to be a dominant trend in home decor for the coming year – Roisin describes it as the “most transformative tool in interiors”. She notes that people are now beginning to colour outside the lines: painting skirtings, doors and even ceilings in the same colour to create what she calls a “cocoon” effect.

“People assume that having a white ceiling will automatically make a room feel more spacious, but it can actually feel small and quite dark. When we decorate commercial buildings, we often paint the ceilings black so that it blocks the eye rather than drawing it,” Roisin reveals. “You don’t want anything that will detract from your colour.”

For this shoot, even the floors have been painted, something Roisin says is possible to achieve at home with the right sanding, primer and sealing. “Some people have their floors painted in black and white, but there’s no reason you can’t use colour as well – though it will wear over time.”
Does such a bold choice of colour from Pantone for the year ahead signal the end of the pastel hygge period? “Trends come and go every year. It’s like fashion, you just have to choose what suits you,” Roisin says. “Colour in particular is such a personal preference, different shades speak to different people.
“We are getting braver now with mixing different decor styles together. The mix and match of mid-century modern is very strong. In this shoot we’ve used the kind of furniture that people really have in their homes, that has been collected over the years. We wanted to create an organic look to show how the colour can take pride of place without you having to change everything else. People don’t run out and buy new furniture every time the trends change.”

It’s clear as we chat that trends are not something that overly concern Roisin, who is more focused on personal style. She says that people need to “curate their own collection” – although she does laughingly admit to having succumbed to last year’s pineapple craze. For 2018, she sees all things Art Deco being the biggest fashion.

“Art Deco is everywhere. We’re going to see lots of those circles and details influencing interiors in 2018. People like [influential Spanish designer] Jaime Hayon are using those simple curves and shapes, so we’ll see a lot more of that coming down the line.”

As for Ultra Violet, her advice for tackling the colour of 2018 is simple: “Be brave – it’s just paint!”