by Róisín Lafferty

Pablo Picasso once commented “Colours, like features, follow the changes of the emotions,” and in my own experience, this is very true. There can be no doubt that your surroundings affect your emotional well-being. Various studies confirm this, but it is something we innately know anyway. Design factors such as colour, light, tone, shadows, acoustics and furnishings all have an impact on the health, performance and engagement of those who live or work in a space. For the interior design professional this is the starting point of any project whether it be residential or commercial. You need to ask all the questions, who is using the space, how are they using the space, how often etc. Whether it be a family living room, an open plan office environment or a Michelin star restaurant, each space is different and requires individual examination and consideration. One of the most important factors in any space is colour. Colour influences perception, mood, feelings, and behaviour, so you need to get it right. Also, important to note, colour is completely subjective. It evokes different reactions and responses from everyone.

Dublin 4 Hallway and Stairs
Bold geometric tiles in the entrance hall of this KLD designed Victorian residence in Donnybrook, Dublin. Walls are Aged Wine and stairs is Dark Navy both from Fleetwood’s Prestige Range


Colour psychology is a field of study that’s devoted to analysing the emotional and behavioural effects produced by colours and colour combinations. As a research topic it is still in its infancy, despite this the concept of colour psychology is prevalent in marketing, art and design as it is an integral part of their function. Essentially, we react to colour, it is innate in us, we don’t control the reaction, it is automatic, biological or learned. Of course, there are always other factors involved such as the context of the colour, and who the individual is, for example their gender, age or culture can influence how they perceive colour. Any evidence and findings are by no means absolute and there will always be variables.


Donnybrook Residence fireplace kld
The juxtaposition of a bright cherry red fireplace creates an unexpected theatrical twist.


Various empirical studies find that red can signify power, excitement, love and anger, while blue signifies masculinity, high quality or competence. Pink signifies sophistication, sincerity and femininity, while purple can signify authority or power. Black can signify grief, sophistication and fear while white can signify happiness, sincerity and purity. As an interior designer you must have an intimate relationship with colour, you need to know what impact a colour is going to have and most importantly how colours work with each other. Combinations of tone and hue can create dramatic results. The artist Joseph Albers spent years studying colour and creating artwork that experimented with unexpected and unusual colour combinations. Often using ‘clashing’ colours, he pushed the boundaries of what people were used to. His work is still relevant decades later.


KLD Dublin 4 Bathroom
Turquoise walls, black and white decorative floor tiles and a luxuious bath and chrome fittings add a Moorish feel to this Moroccan-inspired bathroom.


As a practice, Kingston Lafferty Design are known for being playful with colour. It is one of our trademarks. We take our clients on a journey, sometimes hesitantly, but always with great results. With our unique climate, which leans to the grey side, it is important to inject colour into our lives any opportunity we can and create spaces that positively impact the users experience.

KLD Kitchen Dublin 4
A jewel-toned kitchen feels like a high end cocktail bar.


We are braver and bolder as a nation and we have come a long way even in the nine years I have been in business. We are less conservative than we once were, and our tastes have matured. We now travel the world and bring the best of what we see back with us in our imaginations. This should be reflected in the colour we use inside and outside our homes. In my experience, we are being more creative, adventurous, bespoke, applying our own personalities ensuring our homes are unique in design and reflective of ourselves. I believe colour is a tried and trusted way of achieving this. It is also very economic. The transformative power of paint shouldn’t be underestimated.

Green is not the only colour that can work in a garden
Green is not the only colour that can work in a garden


One of the joys of my job is when you find a client who is adventurous, open minded, who has travelled a lot and wishes to explore the full potential of their home through art, design and colour. One such client crossed our paths last year. A professional woman who had travelled to many countries whose brief was to encapsulate these travels and art and influences she had collected from the likes of New York, Italy and Marrakesh, all providing wonderful palettes off which to work.

Living Room KLD Design
Stong colours can be daunting but it is worth taking the chance. Wall is Copenhagen Blue from Fleetwood’s Prestige Range


In this Victorian house of colour, we drew inspiration from Joseph Albers, opulent Italian mid-century interiors with strong nods to the colourful Marrakech. We juxtaposed colours in such searing shades as maraschino-cherry red, jade green, cobalt blue and dandelion yellow along with moodier plum and soothing sage green. These saturated colours gave each room a distinctive character and provides a full journey of emotions as you wander through the house. The daring tonal changes were deliberate to coincide with how she wanted to feel as she used the space. The opposite of corporate was our main brief. We sought to steer away from any expected colours in the kitchen and bathrooms etc, and instead to challenge what people often associate with these spaces. Instead of a sterile white for the kitchen, we opted for a jewel toned luxury feel that felt more like a high-end cocktail bar than a practical kitchen. All the while still being as functional. As the light changes on each level of the house, so does the impact of the tones and the overall mood. The bedroom for example is a calm sanctuary with deliberately selected muddy greens, which evoke serenity, calm and thoughts of nature. A bedroom needs to encourage sleep after all.

Dublin 4 Hallway by KLD
The home’s daring tonal changes were deliberate


Overall what struck me about this project is the overriding physical and emotional effect colour has on us all. From pictures, the house definitely packs a colourful punch, but in reality, it has an air of romance, passion and nostalgia about it. It is strangely calm and cocooning to be in. It is a space that you want to spend longer in. And that was the desired effect.


Dining Area KLD Design
This room has strong nods to colourful Marrakesh.


We were lucky we had a brave client in this case, and you do need to be brave and visionary. Strong colours can be daunting and often you might find a builder or even a painter advise you that something won’t work. Part of KLD’s success is that we take chances, we have experimented, and we have taken risks.  With this project even KLD were pushing our comfort zones; for us this was extremely bold, but the results exceeded even our own expectations. This project has been one of our most featured internationally, appearing in Architectural Digest Russia and Design Anthology UK.

Beautiful cabinetry and retail display, The Vaults
The Vaults Parlour Café with chequered flooring designed by KLD


Interest in the subject of colour psychology is growing, but there is a long way to go. No doubt new technologies and innovation will discover and reveal incredible findings. In the meantime, I encourage people to play and experiment with colour, push the boundaries, follow your instincts and enjoy the results.


Hatch Cork Student Accommodation
Hatch Cork Interiors designed by Kingston Lafferty Design


  1. Think Colour

Never underestimate the importance of colour in your home. Colour schemes exist for a reason and they do not need to match. The colour will come from your paint choice, furniture, flooring, art, ornaments, glassware, even books and flowers. Always try to think what works with what as you add elements to your space. Most importantly choose colours that make you feel happy. Life is too serious. Allow your own personal space to be a positive place.


  1. Be Brave
    This goes without saying. Don’t be afraid. If you are unsure exactly what colour to use, why not try out a number of tester pots and add each colour to the wall beside each other. Nothing compares to seeing the colour in the location it is going to be.


  1. Paint it

Paint is the most obvious and cost-effective way of adding colour to your home. A great trick for upcycling or reinventing something is to paint it. On one of our projects we took a beautiful pine fireplace which felt dated and painted it white, totally transforming the aesthetic and giving it a luxurious feel. I recommend looking at the extensive Fleetwood Vogue and Prestige range. We always use Fleetwood in all our projects and there is little doubt it is the best paint you can lay your hands on.


  1. Art

Can’t stress the importance of art in the home. Art is another way to bring colour into the home. The more colourful the better. There is no end of art available, and if you are on a budget, you can get prints of your favourite art, have them framed, and it can add so much to a space.


  1. Black and White
    Remember black and white are colours too. Black and white are never out of fashion. The monochrome rainbow serves as a wonderful contrast to bolder colours of all hues. As it happens at KLD we love black and white chequered and monochrome floors especially when the walls they serve are bright vibrant colours.


This article first appeared in the Sunday Business Post on 3 November 2019.

A Colour Masterclass with Fleetwood Paints

At the end of last year we were delighted to be approached by Fleetwood Paints, to work with them as part of their campaign for the Pantone Colour of the year.

Pantone, as many of you will know, is an international colour matching system, which is used in a range of creative industries but only recently became available to the interiors industry in the form of Fleetwood‘s new Pantone paint range.

Fleetwood pantone paint
A selection of sample pots in Roisin’s chosen colour palette for 2017


Fleetwood greenery photo shoot at the National Botanic Gardens, Dublin Image: Al Higgins


Fleetwood’s recent partnership with Pantone is a really exciting one , given the enormous choice of colours now available to homeowners using this renowned colour system.

This week, we teamed up with the guys at Fleetwood for a Colour Masterclass, given by our Creative Director and Founder Roisin Lafferty.

fleetwood masterclass
KLD Creative Director, Roisin Lafferty at the Fleetwood Colour Masterclass


As part of the masterclass Roisin held an informal discussion on colours, offering her tips and tricks of the trade when it comes to paint. A group of interiors and lifestyle journalists joined us in the gorgeous garden terrace of Residence at Stephen’s Green for a morning of relaxing painting and discussion.

Every attendee had a few simple household items to experiment with and paint in their own design, adding colour and style to the pieces.

fleetwood pantone
Some of the colourful creations from the Fleetwood Colour Masterclass


This high quality paint range has excellent coverage, covering over even dark wall colours in just one coat. In addition to coverage, it also extremely washable, and is the toughest wearing paint on the market today.

A shot from the greenery photo shoot in the National Botanic Gardens, styled by KLD. Photo: Al Higgins


As part of the KLD collaboration with Fleetwood our team concepted, styled and executed a ‘greenery’ inspired photo shoot in the Botanic Gardens during the Spring. These images were featured in press promoting Greenery as the Pantone Colour of the Year and all that it symbolised, focusing on freshness and the urban garden.

Roisin Lafferty in the National Botanic Gardens. Photo: Al Higgins



Greenery has long been a favourite in the KLD HQ so we we’re pretty pleased to see the significance of this shade brought center stage again with Pantone naming it as their colour of the year for 2017.

From elaborate interior planting schemes to beautiful tones of marble, the many shades of greenery symbolise fresh starts, earthiness and of course the great outdoors.

Colour experts have also long documented the popularity of green as an interiors colour for its closeness to nature, suggesting that it is a colour we respond more positively to due to its association with all that is naturally occurring.

And it is for this reason also that many people cite green as being particularly easy to live with in terms of interior design.


And if that isn’t enough to convince you to go a little green, take a look at some of these beautiful spaces for a little inspiration…

rich green walls

This deep forest green covering the walls, unit, skirting, architraves and doors has a really rich and powerful impact, creating an opulent scene and the perfect background for the vibrant floral stems to really stand out.

A colour pop on joinery units is a great way to bring personality and colour to a design like this custom made storage in our Dublin Residence project.

restaurant booth design green

By layering tones of green in the upholstery and using this green marble surround this is a restaurant booth becomes a slick and beautiful space.

green unit and pink stool

Layering tones of greens can be so effective, especially given the variety of shades, from deep teals to light mint green and everything in between. However we also love the shade with a little blush pink. A wild card but one that works!

restaurant design greenery

Combining green in interiors schemes such as the upholstery or paint can really increase the dramatic impact of planting in an interiors scheme like this stylish restaurant.

white kitchen green stools

A blank canvas with lots of green accents can also be an effective way to make a space feel both colourful and interesting while still having that clean, slick appearance like this stunning kitchen design.

green gold paneling

Paneling brings a great sense of depth and elegance to an interiors scheme and this mint green paneling with gold detailing in our Ranelagh Residence is a great example of an effective use of green paint in a design.



The colour Raspberry comes from the red colour family group and became quite fashionable recently.

The Raspberry colour is not one of the most obvious choices for any interior space or accessory. It is a playful and summery colour that brightens up any space immediately but can be quite overbearing.

We love working with DULUX colours due to their wide range of colour choices.

Our favourite Raspberry DULUX range: DULUX 84RR13/471   & DULUX 80RR12/516


Our favourite Raspberry DULUX range: DULUX 84RR13/471 & DULUX 80RR12/516


Due to its vibrancy, we would recommend using raspberry on a feature wall or a feature piece of furniture with quite a demure background so all the focus falls onto the feature furniture or wall. Raspberry works very nicely with grey tones, blues or neutrals. For our braver clients, we would point out a combination of raspberry, teal with hints of yellow as per below image on the mood board.

A more subtle way of incorporating raspberry into your interior is with soft furnishings. You can find some beautiful, colourful ray of accessories and soft furnishings on Bluebellgray website. Any of these will brighten up your space immediately, add extra hints of colour and refresh the environment.

Dinky accent chair by is a delicate piece of furniture with brass legs that will work well in a living room or bedroom spaces.  Have you thought of an oversized floor lamp painted in this sweet colour? We think that this particular combination is definitely fabulous. Check out below images for inspiration.



Abstract Rug with hint of raspberry by Bluebellgray



Dinky accent chair by



Oversized Floor lamp by









Add some reflective surfaces for depth and light within your garden…..

If your feeling like spending the weekend outdoors we have some great garden DIY inspiration for the sunny weekend ahead.

Mirrors are a fantastic way to brighten up any garden space. Adding large or small mirrors to your garden creates extra dimension to the space.

Adding mirrors to your garden not only creates extra dimension to the space but it also increases the light in the space as the sun moves throughout the day. It also reflects the planting that you have within the garden, making the garden feel much fuller and giving the garden more depth. This idea works particularly well with small gardens making the garden feel twice the size.

We here at KLD did some of our own garden mirror DIY during the week, and here is how it is done.


  1. Mirror with decorative feature or frame
  2. Paint – We prefer to use bright fun colours to brighten up your garden space.
  3. Paintbrush
  4. Metal Wire


  1. Select a mirror in which you would like to revive. This can be an existing old mirror which you have in your house which you no longer use or a new one. We chose the ‘UNG DRILL’ mirror from IKEA.
  2. Take the paint colour that you wish to use on your mirror. We chose the colour ‘Secret Lagoon’ from the Cuprinol ‘HAMMERITE’ range.
  3. Paint your mirror and wait for it to dry, it may need two coats if the mirror was a dark colour to begin with.
  4. Use the metal wire to hang your mirror on your garden fence or wall.


  1. CUPRINOL do a great range of garden paints for all your garden DIY.
  2. IKEA have a great selection of affordable mirrors if you don’t have one at home.

















Dijon is a dark, richer version of the colour yellow.

The colour psychology of yellow says that it is uplifting and illuminating, offering hope, happiness, cheerfulness and fun. In the meaning of colour, yellow inspires original thinking and inquisitiveness. Similar characteristics can be considered when thinking of the Dijon colour.

Dijon, as one of the mustard family, encourages creativity. From a mental aspect, it is a colour of new ideas that helps us to find inspiration. Dijon would be one of the best choices to consider  when adding a bit of spice to our lives, confidence and optimism.

We love working with DULUX colours due to their wide range of colour choices.

Our favourite Dijon DULUX range: DULUX 40YY38/643 & DULUX 45YY51/758


DULUX 40YY38/643 & DULUX 45YY51/758


Bold in its richness, Dijon is one of those colours that might not be everybody’s cup of tea. A select few of our clients took the brave step and embraced it in their interiors.

In our Ballsbridge Residence, we have used a mustard sofa throw & cushion to bring a strong accent colour to predominantly navy blue library room. The dijon worked really well in combination with various blue tones that were used throughout the room.

In our Wicklow Residence, a mustard armchair brightened up space and worked really nicely with the natural materials like timber and stone.

We would recommend using various tones of mustard colour with neutrals or blues. If you are aiming for something unusual and daring, opt in for a pattern mustard wallpaper. Wallpaper can be used on a feature wall or as the background for wall shelves. This little trick will instantly add an interest to your room.