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.

Rollercoaster of Running Your Own Business

Rollercoaster of Running Your Own Business by Róisín Lafferty

Running your own business is challenging, rewarding and also very hard work. It is not for the faint-hearted. There will be days when you ask yourself is it all worth it. Those days where issues abound and you suddenly feel you are in some obscure comedy of errors, and all you can do is laugh. Thankfully those days are rare.  There are however the special days, the days when months if not years of hard work have finally paid off. Days when you see so much hard work by so many people across a range of professions and disciplines culminate in a finished product that you are proud to share with the world. Those are the special days, when you look at what’s before you and realise it started with a sketch on a napkin.

Róisín Lafferty, Creative Director KLD
Róisín Lafferty, Creative Director KLD


Róisín with Associate Director Becky Russell
Róisín with KLD Associate Director Becky Russell at Bolton Coach House


I have been running my own business now for almost 10 years, I am currently the President of the Institute of Designers in Ireland (IDI), a post I took up in July 2019. This great responsibility has had the side-effect of encouraging me to look back over my own career running an Interior Architecture and Design Business, and ask myself ‘what have I learned?’ Is there any wisdom to pass on? I am sure I have plenty more to learn, I learn every day. But for now, here are some observations I wish to share.


Cairn Homes interior design by KLD
Cairn Homes interior design by KLD


  1. Say Yes to your creative self

How did I end up in design? I was always creative, I enjoyed Art and English and I knew from an early age I would end up in a creative profession.  From speaking to other artists and designers it almost feels like a vocation, it is not even a choice, it is simply something you must do. Or rather you couldn’t possibly do anything else. We now live in an age where creativity and innovation are so prized, where creative thinking and imagination are essential for problem solving, and this will never go out of fashion. Design is permeating all walks of life and has become increasingly important as we constantly strive to improve how we experience the world around us and online.  The design and creative fields abound with potential. We all have a creative self and in my experience,  business owners who create a working environment which enables people to tap into their own creativity will be more successful.


House of Peroni at the RHA designed by KLD 2019
House of Peroni at the RHA designed by KLD 2019


  1. Courage of your convictions

Want to set up a business? Why not? Of course, you are nervous at the beginning, fear of failure is a real thing. But fear is an emotion you have to train yourself to deal with. I love this oft used Beckett quote, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Ideally failing is not an option or outcome we want, but you must overcome any irrational fears you may have and knuckle down and believe in yourself, your talent and your potential. If you are persistent, if you have courage, the courage of your convictions, you will succeed. In all businesses, people are attracted to people who are passionate about their area of expertise. If you are passionate, enthusiastic and love what you do, people will want to help you, work with you support you. People will want to hire you and your peers will want to collaborate with you.


An early KLD project, Ranelagh Residence. Remains our most challenging project to date.
An early KLD project, Ranelagh Residence. remains our most challenging project to date.


  1. Collaborate

As I built my business, I was constantly dealing with clients, contractors, artists, tradespeople, quantity surveyors, architects and engineers etc.  I saw these people as my partners and collaborators. Everyone is bringing something to the table, and any project is the sum of ALL its parts. You should never underestimate the power of collaboration, even on a holistic level it is powerful and positive. It brings out the best in all parties and enhances and enriches any given project in whatever field. Working with other people who take great pride in their work can only enhance your own.

In business unlikely collaborations are always interesting. Look outside your comfort zone or your creative field or put things together you never though could go together. I have learnt in design to collaborate with artists, musicians, joiners, painters, scientists, poets, architects, jewellery designers, concrete makers and sculptors, in fact anyone with a creative streak.  I am excited about all the future collaborations that lie ahead, that will only happen if we seek them out and imagine them into reality.


DFS Bedroom
Bedroom from DFS Colour Happiness Installation, May 2018


  1. Implementing ideas/(Be Violent)


You need to learn to implement your ideas. This can be tricky, especially in the creative industries. Every creative act involves making choices. In her book A Director Prepares: Seven Essays on Art and Theatre, Anne Bogart says “Art is violent. To be decisive is violent.”  In any art or creative field, in order to move forward, you sometimes need to ‘murder your darlings’, and that process can be as painful as it is ruthless. But it is quite necessary if you are to succeed. Decisions need to be made and ideas need to be implemented, and when you are the creative director, you are the person that needs to make these tough decisions on a constant basis. I am not going to say it gets easier over time, the creative process isn’t meant to be easy, but you do learn to accept and move on more readily. It is all part of the creative process.


Róisín speaking at the Maven46 Summit
Róisín speaking at the Maven46 Summit 2019


  1. Flat Hierarchy

You don’t need me to tell you that there is no I in team. Any project I have ever worked on has been a team effort and that tone is set from the top. In a design company it is important to leave ego at the door.   It is genuinely an all hands-on deck at any given time approach. To exaggerate slightly, I spend half my life dragging large plants across floors, or at least that is the way it seems. As my business has expanded, I have less time to deal with smaller but no less important details, however, you will still see me up ladders or painting a wall on any given installation or pop-up. One is not a leader if they cannot be part of a team.


Team KLD in 2019 at the launch of House of Peroni
Team KLD in 2019 at the launch of House of Peroni


  1. Integrity

It might sound obvious, but integrity is very important. Of course, there are ups and downs in any walk of life. Sometimes there are awards and rewards and sometimes there is a bit of ‘Mea Culpa’.  And that is fine, this is life.  We all make mistakes and when we do, we own them, sort the issue and move on.  Same in business. You must have integrity; otherwise other people won’t take you seriously and you will be left behind. Clients or customers will lose their trust in you and your capabilities to do good business.  In an ever-crowded world you need to stand out, there are so many platforms and mediums where people will scrutinise and analyse you and your work, but if you have your integrity, no one can take it from you.


Becky Russell and Róisín Lafferty accepting award for Medium Frrm of the Year
Becky Russell and Róisín Lafferty accepting award for Medium Firm of the Year 2019


Running any business, but especially one in a creative field is a roller coaster ride. The marriage of business and creativity is not always an easy one, like all marriages you need to work at it. Every day brings forth new challenges and surprises. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Vaults Parlour
Embracing the whimsy: fun on photoshoot day at award-winning the Vaults Parlour.


This article was first published in the Sunday Business Post on 16 June 2019.




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.

Becoming your Own Designer by Róisín Lafferty

While you might never have considered yourself an interior designer or any good at ‘that sort of thing’ I am here to tell you that you too can be the best interior designer for your own home. Your home should reflect your vision, creativity, lifestyle and personality. And who better to do this than you? I will preface this by saying what you need for this is dedication and a little creative thinking!

Look around you

Show me your Pinterest and Instagram, and I will show you the world around you. Design is everywhere, in nature, in buildings, in road signs. When you are out and about look around you. Look around at the décor, ceilings and walls. Look at the art, the furniture, the lighting and flooring. Observe the attention to detail. Where is one piece in relation to another? Note what is working and what is not working for you. Look at the colours, how they contrast or complement each other, how mirrors and planting are used and most importantly how do all these spaces make you feel. Feel the textures, note the shapes. What do you see in the mirror apart from yourself? By doing this you have taken the first step to becoming your own interior designer.

Pot Bellied Pig
Award-Winning Restaurant Design, Pot Bellied Pig


Attention to detail

We’ve all heard the idiom the devil is in the detail. There is a reason for that, it is most definitely true. Attention to detail is paramount. It is the magic that turns an A to an A+ and a 2.1 into a first. Take a glance at any cv and you will notice most people list attention to detail as one of their strengths. In interior design, attention to detail can lift a project from the mundane to the sublime. This is where the magic should and will happen. Do not underestimate the importance of detail in the production and styling of any given space. You have to be prepared to go the extra mile. Pay attention to detail, it is worth it.

Marianella Penthouse
Attention to detail at Marianella Penthouse


Visit salvage yards, flea markets + vintage shops

Sometimes the best things are found in the most unexpected of places. Without doubt, it is the random delights that I have stumbled upon that have added the most charm, character and interest to some of the spaces I have created.

One of the key features of the Ranelagh residence I designed was a reclaimed iron spiral staircase which was sourced from a nearby salvage yard and powder coated in a beautiful shade of blue. Try to look at unusual items with a fresh perspective, imagine them out of context and think about ways to customise them to enhance your own home.

Iron Stairwell
Salvaged Stairwell, Ranelagh Residence


Mix old and new

Like life, your home should show off your experiences, adventures, memories and all of the things that are dear to you. For me, this is best done by combining old and new things. Aesthetically this adds a sense of depth and interest to your interior.

In the wise words of William Morris “The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of everyday life.” Celebrate the treasures that have been handed down throughout your family by showcasing them in beautiful and unexpected ways. Not only is this a cost-effective solution that saves replacing all your existing furniture, but it is a great way to create a space that reflects only your life and tells your unique story. Combining these pieces with contemporary elements from modern and current eras will ensure an eclectic expression of your own personality and experiences.


London Residence
Mixing old and new to great effect in a London Residence Project


Love Your Lighting

We love our lights at KLD, they are quite simply the jewellery of interiors!  There are so many beautiful light fixtures from beautiful lamps to sconces or chandeliers. Don’t ever underestimate the power of lighting, it can totally enhance all the little, highly reflective details you’ve added to your glamorous room. Scale is a big factor…. always go bigger than you think. There is nothing worse than a light that is lost in a space.


Dublin 4 Hallway and Stairs
Lighting from a recent Dublin Design


KLD Dublin 4 Bathroom
Beautiful bathroom lighting from recent Dublin Design


Personalise + Tell your story

Your home is the one place that you genuinely can express yourself and how you choose to live. Spend some time thinking about what has made you happy over your lifetime and try to incorporate your stories, important people, places of significance into visual treats on your walls. Whether this is a photo, collected memorabilia, a piece of art from playschool to a map, a tile or a card given to you by a friend. Get it enlarged, edited or stylised to create an art piece and position where you can appreciate it every day. You will now have an original piece of art on your wall that not only you created but that very firmly puts your character on display.


Wall Art
Bespoke Wall Art from Recent Dublin Project


Next Evolution in Interior Design


There have always been a limited number of clients that KLD can serve with its high-end Interior Design service.  We learned that many more people are interested in investing in interior design advice to a less detailed degree and there is now demand in the wider marketplace for limited edition and curated interior design products. In response to this we have setup a new interior design service called CREATE by kld. CREATE by kld provides the customer with the Kingston Lafferty Design tools and expertise to implement their own beautiful designs and transform their home. At the core of CREATE by kld is the belief that we are all inherently creative, we are all storytellers and given the right guidance we can tell our own stories and design our own homes with confidence.


CREATE by kld business card


Giving people some basic interior design acumen and encouraging their personality to shine through will ensure more originality, more variety and more personality in the homes we visit. Imagine CREATE by kld as a support or scaffolding, you need it to realise your vision, and on completion you take it down and your dream project will stand alone, beautiful and unique in its own right.

The service includes a tailored, one-on-one consultation experience in the home with one of our expert designers, moodboards, product selection, suppliers’ lists, samples, and a beautiful handmade notebook with the option of additional detailed drawings. I have no doubt that as a nation of creative people and storytellers we are ready for this next evolution in interior design. Your home is your signature, make it stand out.

CREATE by kld Stationary
CREATE by kld Presentation Boxes


To find out more about CREATE by kld you can visit


This blog post is an edited version of an article by Róisin Lafferty for The Sunday Business Post from 16 December 2018.

Click here to view the article