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.

Fleetwood Stand at House 2019

A Fleetwood Feast of Colour at House 2019

Well that was a blast. We are still in recovery from House 2019, it was a fantastic weekend and an incredible effort by all to bring the Fleetwood Paints stand to life. This year we had four room sets as opposed to last year’s two, doubling the size, doubling the effort and doubling the colour.

The colours were hand-picked by KLD Creative Director and Fleetwood Ambassador,  Róisín Lafferty, and offer just a small sample of what Fleetwood has to offer.

Thanks to Moore O’Gorman Joinery who once again made the beautiful Fleetwood stand and to Brendan for the amazing paint job.

Here is a little bit about the colours used for each room set.


Inspired by the depth and lustrous reds in artist Rothko’s evocative artworks, this strong tone creates a sense of drama and passion. Soften and layer with tones of dusty pink for a warm + intimate environment.

Fleetwood Stand at House 2019
Rothko Red


Drawn from the beautiful natural landscape of InishBofin, Bofin fern is a soft and inviting green that summons feelings of freshness, outdoors and works beautifully with dusty grey green tones.

Fleetwood Stand Kingston Lafferty Design
Bofin Fern


Inspired by Miami’s Wynwood Walls, this versatile hue is a KLD favourite. Combining navy and grey, this makes for a cocooning colour when used on walls and ceilings. It provides a warm and cozy environment to curl up in.

Fleetwood Stand Kingston Lafferty Design



Inspired by the infamous side car cocktail, this rich, jewel toned colour has a historic quality that adds sophistication to any room. Pair with pastel hues for a sense of fun or rich greys for a more elegant result.

Fleetwood Stand at House 2019 Kingston Lafferty Design
Side Car


Here is a short slow motion video of the last minute preparation of the Fleetwood stand:



And here is 360° motion look at the stand:

Visit the Fleetwood Paints website to find out more about the ranges of paint and colours they have on offer. Find them at

Finally, we also want to thank for helping us furnish the Fleetwood stand and to Woo Design for their  beautiful arm chairs for the Inspiration Stage.

Thanks also to Mullan Lighting for the beautiful chandeliers that added that extra touch of class to Fleetwood Stand.

Check out the rest of the photos of the Fleetwood Stand by photographer Al Higgins here.

Thanks to everyone who helped make House 2019 happen. It is always a huge team effort to both set up and break down and we appreciate the time, effort and commitment that went into making the stand outstanding.



Worth the Wait to Get it Right by Róisín Lafferty

In our modern world with the advent of technology, people want things yesterday. There is a growing expectation for immediacy across the board. The more technology advances, the less patient we become. This creates a whole other set of issues and potentially lethal narratives.

Working across both commercial and residential sectors within construction, I can safely say that the same pitfalls and issues arise across the board. Taking on board learnings and common issues faced during commercial and residential construction, I want to highlight where it is worth slowing down and taking your time to avoid the long-term impact of poor, rushed decisions that will haunt you for years to come in this fast paced industry.

1. “Rome wasn’t built in a day”

Layout and configuration are arguably the most important aspect of the interior of any building. It stands to reason that taking time to critically assess the requirements, wants and needs to ensure the layout best reflects them is extremely beneficial. Often this process can be rushed in order to get works started on the ground. However, it is worth spending an additional month or two analysing and tweaking this with the design team prior to detailing or beginning any construction works.

Tiered Landscape design with integrated bench seating by KLD. Photographed by Barbara Corsico.


2. “The details are not the details, they make the design” – Charles Eames

A lot of the beauty of a finished space is in the selection of materials, finishes and fittings. Depending on how long a construction stage is, this can be over looked and rushed, with seemingly endless decisions needing to be made. No one wants to be responsible for delaying a project and with so many decisions need to be made along the way, it can be daunting. My advice would be to take the time to decide what you want and request a timeline from the contractor setting out when decisions need to be made.

Bolton Coach House table and chairs
Dining detail with bespoke glazed and metal screens by KLD. Reupholstered teak Mohler chairs from vintage hub. Photographed by Barbara Corsico


3. “If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys”

Even with the best design team and architectural drawings, any build is heavily reliant on the skilled contractors and trades implementing them. It is crucial to get this right and to appoint the right team for your project. Make sure to get recommendations from experienced experts, as well as seeing completed works and speaking to previous clients before appointing trades to carry out your work.

Huguenot House St Stephen's Green Penthouse
Clean and sharp material transition details from marble to timber. Photographed by Barbara Corsico.


4. “We live in a culture full of hares; but the tortoise always wins”

Skill and craftmanship is slow and steady, much like the tortoise. Quality takes time. Shortcuts are shortcuts. If you want the best result, it is worth waiting for. Countless times, this is ignored, and a high-end design is put at risk and often accidentally sabotaged by overpromising teams that have overlooked the detail involved.

Marianella Penthouse
Walnut custom study design with cantilevered desk detail by KLD for Marianella Cairn Homes. Photographed by Ruth Maria Murphy


5. “Buy less, choose well and make it last” – Vivienne Westwood

When planning the key items for your home or commercial project, try to have a reason for every single thing. In the words of William Morris “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”
Less is more and sometimes investing in one item that you will love for years to come is more worthwhile than cluttering up your space with fleeting trends.


Bolton Coach house hall
Coachhouse hallway with KLD brass mirrors, skirting and marble tiles. Photographed by Barbara Corsico


6. “Keep calm, Christmas is around the corner”

Construction has many pressures, but Christmas looming is one of the biggest.
If you are not in by the end of October, accept that being in for Christmas may not be an option. It is an extremely emotionally charged time for people, adding a construction project to the mix only increases tensions and stress levels.

In general, for your own sanity and peace of mind, add in a couple of weeks to your estimated timeline to avoid starting off on a negative footing in your new space. After investing your hard-earned time and money into a construction project, the end goal should always be excitement and happiness!


Bolton Coach House Living Room
Bolton Coach House Living Room Detail: Coffee table from Vintage Hub with mid-century velvet sofa from Photographed by Barbara Corsico.


To sum up, it is undoubtedly worth the time and effort to slow down and take your time with your construction project. As with most things in life, to achieve the best result takes careful consideration, planning and strategic implementation. Try not to lose sight of the overall vision along the way and it will all pay off!


This blog post is an edited version of an article first written by Róisín for The Sunday Business Post on 17 March 2019. Click here to view the full article in its entirety.

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