Interiors stylist Heidi Maude knows a thing or two about colour. In a continuation of our ‘How To’ series featuring a roster of our talented at{mine} beta members, Heidi shares her secrets of achieving a harmonious colour scheme (which her kids like to call ‘white’), her love affair with Farrow & Ball, tips and tricks for using colour in the home, and some rad wallpapers too.

If you’ve ever poured over a Farrow & Ball colour chart, debating for instance the 53 shades of ‘neutrals’ that contain no less than 16 versions of ‘white’, this one is for you.

Choosing colours & paints for your home can be a daunting task – where do I begin?

I have stacks and stacks of interiors magazines and books, and am an avid at{mine}er and Pinterester. I weirdly get a lot of my ideas and inspiration from movies as well. I’m forever not following the plot but examining the backgrounds, furniture, paint colours, curtains… Yes I’m a saddo!

How do you go about choosing a colour scheme?

If it’s for myself I know what I like and generally don’t steer too far away from that. For clients I try to get to know them a little bit, to figure out what they would feel good in. There’s no point in dictating my style if they’re going to hate it! I do advise a lot in terms of what I would do, because on the whole I’ve found people come and find me when they really have no idea. I am actually very free on ‘what goes with what’. If you have a good neutral colour background, you build up to a balanced picture from there. It usually falls into place and clients see what goes and what doesn’t.

What are your favourite colours?

I have had a long term love affair with Farrow&Ball! Not all colours though, some of them I don’t like at all, sometimes even just because of their names (Elephant’s Breath?!)

My favourite F&B colour is Strong White, it’s super versatile. (It used to be Stony Ground, but I’ve dumped him!) I’m also getting into the very dark grey colours, Little Green’s Lead range is quite good.


What paint colours do you use in your home?

I try to use F&B as much as budget allows. My kids used to complain I painted everything white, but it’s not just any old white kids! Strong White features quite heavily. I love it’s versatility in that it looks slightly different depending on the aspect of the room. I’ve used in a rather dark but still south facing living room, in my son bedroom which is directly south facing and in 2 west-facing bathrooms, and it looks different in each room. Secondly I love F&B Blackened, it has a crisp sharpness, but is still warm if that makes sense. I also love a combo of Manor House Gray and Pavilion Gray, they are a wonderful duo. For woodwork I’ve used All White throughout. Some of the radiators were done in Down pipe and there also are a couple of accents in Railings. Well I say accents, actually a great big dresser and am also planning to do the front door in it. If ever you’re in a F&B shop, hold Railings, Pavilion Grey and All White next to each other and behold the magic!


How do you achieve a flow when using colours/paints throughout the house?

Simple, you re-use 1 or 2 colours through out. If you have a good base, it doesn’t matter what you add to it further along. Stick to whatever works and don’t go off piste too much, if you suspect it’s going to give you a headache, it will!

How do you choose colours for woodwork vs. walls vs. ceilings?

Unless if you have a problem room and you need to go for ‘remedial’ colours, keep it simple. As white as possible on woodwork (doors and skirting) and ceilings. Splash colour on the walls. And slightly darker colours on furniture if it needs painting. Obviously this is a very simplistic way of putting it, and every house/room is different so would need it’s own approach.


How do you take direction of light in the room into consideration?

Yes that obviously is a big factor in deciding colours. Colour patches on all 4 walls is usually my way forward, and then live with them for a few days to see how the light affects them.

How does the purpose of a room come into play when choosing colour?

I tend to go for lighter colours in bathrooms and kitchens. Livingrooms, hallways, bedrooms can have a darker tone. Although if I think about it I always try to get as much light as possible in, what with England being quite gloomy for a big chunk of the year.


Do you have any tips of using colour to make a space look:

_Lighter – mirrors and anything on the first page of a colour chart (light!). I don’t believe in those ‘light-reflective’ colours, all they give you is shiny walls, a big no-no.

_Bigger – avoid too dark colours, & weirdly enough big bold patterns in a small room make it seem bigger than it is, keeping in mind to keep it simple at the same time.

_Taller – picture rail with white above and white ceiling, colour beneath. Keep the darker colour below and go lighter the higher up you go.

_Wider/narrower – accent wall in one different colour than the rest. If you have a long rectangular room, you’d paint the 2 opposing shortest walls a slightly darker colour, which will bring those 2 walls closer together. Stripes either horizontal or vertical affect the feeling of width/height, but you’d have to be a fan. (Me, not so much)

_Cozier – go darker, but nothing that looks like cappuccino, coffee, etc, that was the 80s, this is now.

It’s funny having thought about this now, I tend not to do too much ‘remedial’ work to a room but rather go with what it has got. If it’s tall, emphasise it’s height, if it’s dark, put a fire in and keep it’s coziness. Ultimately there are as many options as there are people…

Feature wall: yay or nay?

Nay, unless if it’s something really cool like Fromental chinoiserie or Vivienne Westwood Union Jack wallpaper, or Piet Hein Eek wallpaper.

How do you use accent colours?

Our previous kitchen had Stony Ground on the walls (which is kind of very light mossy, cotswoldy green), and I used lots of red accents, as in objects (Normann Copenhagen washing up bowl, a red rice spoon, just a couple of bits and bobs, not that much that it was gimmicky…) it seemed to do the trick cause I saw loads of my friends copying me. To repeat an accent colour in paints I think would be too gimmicky.

How do you choose wallpaper (if you do)?

I find wallpaper quite hard, bar from the ones I mentioned before, there aren’t that many I like… I do love the Barneby Gates range, and Rockett St George have just taken on the Amazonia Range by Witch and Watchman. It’s beautiful, v dark and moody. Having said that I’ll probably always have a soft spot for William Morris’ Willow, not that I use it ever, but it’s just so pretty. Surface View is another current company I fancy a lot.

Thanks so much guys, really enjoyed thinking about how I use colours, it really helped with a couple of projects to sit down for a moment and reflect. Thanks for having me!

// Photography: Rachael Smith //