Back to Journal

Diving deep into colour consulting with Fiona de Lys

Learn more about color consulting in interor design.

colour consulting
Colour consultant Fiona de Lys. Photography by Kasia Bobula.
Diving deep into colour consulting with Fiona de Lys
Clara Carlino de Paz
March 13, 2024

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
This article was originally posted on Making Space, a Substack penned by our Cofounder, Matteo Grand. Subscribe below to receive more content just like this.

Colour is foundational to interior design. No matter where you look, every interior design relies on colour, shape and function to create a lasting impression on a home and its inhabitants. However, the ubiquity of colour doesn't make it any easier to dominate as a discipline, and many interior designs struggle to pick the "perfect" shade...

Enter the rising field of colour consulting services

Provided by expert graphic and interior designers, stylists, artists, and lovers of colour, these professionals help brands, consumers and interior designers refine their choices in paint colour and colour palette, ultimately helping them create a visual identity that accurately reflects their unique vision and mission.

Within a consultation process that may last an evening or become a recurring step in product development, a colour consultant will help the client shift through colour trends, business needs, undertones and marketing considerations to hit on the right colour solutions. Experts often use colour psychology to arrive at evidence-based conclusions, and help the client create a repertoire of brand colours that have longevity, accessibility and balance in mind.

This field extends well beyond pantone colours and fashion trends, reaching merchandise, research and innovation and even packaging. Colour analysis, particularly in relation to choosing personal "best colours" for clothing and hair colour have reached 180 million views on TikTok, and we think this increasing interest in colour choices will shift into interior design in the coming months and years.

To learn more about the rising field of colour consultation, we enlisted the help of Fiona de Lys, a professional colour consultant and stylist. If you love the field of color analysis, interior design, architecture and luxury, we recommend subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

colour wheel

Introducing colour consultant, Fiona de Lys

Fiona de Lys is a colour consultant whose ethos is to transform rooms into atmospheric havens through personal dialogue in one’s home, in what she calls Aesthetic Narratives®. 

Her unique approach blends a wealth of experience and a sensitive reading of light and colour, with a sympathetic approach, in creating colour harmonies that align interiors with experience. Featured in House and Garden, Fiona has also presented on Homeworthy, the Colour Clinic for Edward Bulmer Natural Paint and speaks at independent events. As an interior stylist, her work has featured in several of the interiors press and Fiona strives to work with clients for whom colour, home and emotion are important.

fiona de lys
Photography by Kasia Bobula

In conversation with Fiona de Lys

What is colour consultancy and why is it a rising field in interior design and styling?

Colour consultancy is the field of understanding how applied colour can be used to elicit emotion and experience through light and environment. It is a conflux between science, design and psychology that creates an internal dialogue between person, space and object. The rise in the practice of biophilic design encourages designers and homeowners to make conscientious decisions that nurture this relationship. 

How do you work with brands to elevate their colour palettes?

Having been approached by designers wanting to understand the relationship between colour and their product, I try to encourage them to think about connecting with colour that reflects their ethos on a personal level within their design, as ultimately their product speaks of their passion. In a way, I act as a conduit that helps translate the experience of the audience, as seen through the eyes of the brand, with their product.

Why are colour and light at the core of what you do?

I reached a point in my personal life and career whereby I realised that colour was an immersive and transformative experience; one that moves the emotions much in way words or music can. Colour has the power to heal, complete, inspire and I could see that, as for myself too, my clients' colour journeys were without doubt a means to re-connect with, or discover a creative part of, themselves. And so, because the relationship between colour and light is symbiotic, it is at the core of my practice.

colour consulting

How can colour affect the perception and performance of a brand and their products?

When a brand outwardly achieves the desired effect on its consumers, it is successful in understanding the product, the audience and/or itself. As conscientious consumers, when we are aware of this harmony, we are more likely to be loyal to a brand we trust to invest our time, money and reputation in. Colour plays a huge part in this circle of trust. 

How can brands balance trendiness and timelessness in their colour choices?

Such a good question! We need to separate the two to understand where the connection lies. What does it mean to be trendy and what does it mean to be timeless?

One is the future, the other the past. With trending design, we refer to looking ahead at new ideas that meet an emerging demand, which often filters down from external influences such as the fashion industry and environmental politics or travel, for example.

With timeless ideas, we do the reverse and reflect on the past to see what remained popular and desirable. This is the same principle with colour for interior design.

One way to achieve that with colour is to reinterpret successful existing formulas with new colour-ways so that the popular design remains but that the colours meet projected demands. In a sense, to inwardly retain what is the core value of a designer’s aesthetic but adapt this to an outwardly influence bigger than ourselves.

What colours are rising in popularity, in which of them do you think will endure for years to come?

More recently with interior paint, for example, we are particularly seeing lighter, ‘complex’ neutral colours that serve to support interiors in an understated, flexible and reliable way, thus allowing design in the foreground to be dominant. Simultaneously, we have rich and opulent colours such as browns and caramels that follow the course of comfort, indulgence and entertainment , believed to be as a result of the loneliness and exclusion experienced during Lockdown.

Prior, the focus was connecting with nature and feeling a sense of having the outside in our daily rooms, through different greens. From my observations, the colours that  endure the test of time are those attributed to what enhances the human condition: nature, peace  and joy. Within this kaleidoscope of interpretation per person, community, society and country are different answers that represent vernacular ideals. Perhaps in essence, colours that relate to botany, water, warmth, faith and security. 

Applying colour theory to Portaire

To learn more about Fiona’s colour style (and get inspired by her wonderful eye!), we asked her to browse through Portaire’s free, curated directory and create colour palettes ready-made for you.

YesColours is available on Portaire
Pickleson Paint Co. is available on Portaire