Colour clash your home

Designer Laura Olivia on her riotous hues

‘People tend to be confident enough to go the whole way with the colour clash trend within their wardrobes,’ says designer Laura Olivia, ‘but are very cautious when it comes to their interior decoration.’ Such caution is thrown to the wind in Olivia’s Nottingham studio where she pairs peacock blues with mustards in the wallpapers and fabrics that have won her international custom.

Earlier this year, award-winning designer Jethro Macey selected Olivia for New Designers One Year On event. At the show, she caught the attention of Abercrombie and Fitch; she turned down their offer but it was exciting to be considered. Olivia is just one of many designers keen to express themselves through a riotous mix of hues; 'I like exotic designs and vibrant colours. You will never find a neutral room in my house as long as I live!' It's a sentiment shared along the high street, most notably at John Lewis, Debenhams and House of Fraser, this summer. ‘One of the big interior trends for 2011 is a strong use of colour and clashing prints in soft furnishings for the home,’ says a spokesperson from OKA while John Lewis gives the following advice; ‘Remember that the colour clash trend is all about having fun and not to be taken too seriously.’

They're right. Colour clashing creations such as Olivia's indigo and vibrant coral cushion and her butterfly garden wallpaper are designed for fun-loving sorts. The last thing that Olivia wants in her Nottingham apartment are things that match or are bland in colour. Instead, colours and furniture should work together through contrast. ‘Bright colours have been popular this year and in contrast there has been a return of sleek white furniture and furnishings, using texture and finish to add depth. As a designer, a confident use of colour can be the difference between a design being good, or a design being striking,’ insists Olivia. ‘Colour is too important to me. Mustard with pink is a particular favourite. I also love teal or aqua with fuschia pink; two colours that just sing together.’

Olivia, a member of the mydeco design boutique, specialized in embroidered and printed textiles for interiors at Nottingham Trent University. After graduating, a stint as an interior decorator gave her the time to study all the wallpaper and fabric collections on the market before developing her own style. ‘It taught me so much in terms of how people want to decorate their homes and what sells.’ Olivia loves the effect that a wallpaper pattern can have on a space. 'I think homes would be very dull if we went back to just paint, a wall is an ideal canvas, an opportunity to create something beautiful. I love florals, and natural fluid designs rather than linear and geometric ones.' These days, she credits the unusual and effortless colour mixes within nature as her inspiration. Her designs start as watercolours, sketches and photographic images; the three different techniques are then juxtaposed to create an original finish. ‘I like to use unusual or exotic elements within my designs. All my products are only printed onto rich materials. My cushions are printed onto a soft tactile suedette fabric trimmed with silk while my lampshades are printed onto pearlescent shimmering wallpaper.’

If you usually veer away from acid brights and zingy hues, don't fear. ‘I would urge anyone who is afraid of colour to start with a few bold accessories to begin with,’ Olivia advises. Her top tip is to disperse clashing colours with neutrals and/ or metallics so that it stays beautiful and not overpowering. ‘Remember that your home is not for anyone else, it is for you to fill with all the things that make you happy.'

Annie Deakin is interiors writer for sofa and interior design website