A Masterclass in Decoding Colour with Lucy Feagins


In the bustling thoroughfare of the new Life By Design precinct of the Monaro Mall upstairs in the Canberra Centre — surrounded by everything home and design — we were treated to a masterclass on decoding colour. Lucy Feagins, editor and founder of The Design Files, Australia’s most popular design blog, generously shared her thoughts on this complex subject — helping us to understand some simple concepts. (Would you believe The Design Files was around before Instagram, and will turn ten in January 2018?!)

Lucy’s views on lifestyle and wellness include being purposeful, considered and thoughtful; surrounding yourself with things you love; choosing what you want your life to look like.

One of Lucy’s favourites in the new precinct is the Australian start up and success story — Top 3 By Design. Lucy also feels emerging Melbourne artist and designer Bobby Clarke, who’s behind the fresh new logo and branding for the Canberra Centre’s current marketing campaign, is someone to watch.

For inspiration, Lucy admits a lot of her work is online with Instagram and Pinterest, but takes the time herself, and encourages us all, to get out and away from our computers. Go visit the fabulous museums and galleries we have here in Canberra, get into nature and engage in the real world — there is amazing inspiration all around us!


We were taken through the idea of colour trends and how they can unfold globally. We learnt about ‘Milennial Pink’ from inception in early 2014 with the quirky cult movie by Wes Anderson The Grand Budapest Hotel, where we experienced the fashion, furnishings and the architecture drenched in the colour pink.



A little later that year, star-chitect and interior designer India Mahdavi took a leap of faith transforming the London restaurant Sketch into everything plush pink — striking, soothing, monochrome — with amazing success.


Sketch, London


To finish off 2014, the Color Marketing Group (the premier international association for colour design professionals, working two years ahead) declared that the emerging colour for 2016 was to be SHIM — a blend of she and him — a genderless colour pink, suitable for either male or female fashion, and also a versatile application for architecture.

Continuing on from there, the colour pink dominated globally from mid 2015. For memorable examples check out Normann Copenhagen flagship store in Denmark, London fashion boutique RED Valentino (again designed by India Mahdavi), cult Australian beauty brand Aesop store in Fitzroy, Jarden flagship store in Sydney, Ginger and Smart on the Gold Coast and Lucy Folk’s jewellery store PLAYA in Sydney.


Aesop, Fitzroy

And this year from 23‒26 November, the Design Files Open House, in conjunction with Dulux, will be featuring the on trend Milennial Pink.


Another popular trend making a comeback is the 1970s palette. Think rich earthy tones, warm browns and shades like ochre and nutmeg. Also, again appreciating timber panelling, flooring, window trims and using tonal neutrals such as beige or coffee rather than white. Adding in texture used in the form of soft fluffy rugs or a pop of colour — we lusted over deep green and emerald in an amazing custom covered velvet sofa.


If you’re thinking of introducing colour into your home, some advice from Lucy to get you started:

  • Start small with an accent colour, it could be a coloured chair, cushions or something with texture
  • Brighten up the bedroom with new bedlinen, cushions or maybe a floor rug, bringing texture and colour
  • Think contained space — why not experiment painting just a door, or even a couple of shelves of a bookcase or wall unit
  • Dress up a wall and refresh the colour palette with some artwork — either just one special piece, or be bold and have a display of plates (expertly fastened with 3M Velcro tabs)
  • Use your school geometry and try some bold shapes, using a burst of colour or tonal accent to one wall or corner of the room.


We were assured by Lucy to be confident and use our intuition and that there is no wrong or right in designing with colour!

Find out more about all of the Life by Design masterclasses taking place at the Canberra Centre


Maria Wallace

As a lover of all things art and culture, Maria is lucky to be able combine her passions with her work. A self-confessed people person who enjoys catching up with family and encouraging others to expand their networks, she also relishes the alone time spent as a yogi, getting outdoors and spending time in one of her favourite local cafés.

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