Tricia Guild:Designers Guild founder shares her top tips for creating the perfect room

With 80 showrooms worldwide and a turnover in excess of £50 million, Designers Guild is a global player. The founder and creative designer Tricia Guild shares her favourite London stores and places.

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Back in 1970, Tricia Guild, then a young interior designer, was frustrated at the lack of exciting textiles on the market and so created her own small collection, based on Indian hand-blocked prints.

Two years later, she opened a shop on the King’s Road, selling fabrics, ceramics and furniture in bold, dynamic colour and pattern that has become the Designers Guild signature.

Now the 80 showrooms worldwide are joined by a third opened this month in Paris, and the company, offering a choice of more than 12,000 fabrics and 3,000 wallpapers, produces everything from sofas, paints, tableware and bed linen to rugs, stationery and room fragrance.

In 2008 Tricia Guild was awarded an OBE for services to interior design. This autumn, Designers Guild, which has a turnover in excess of £50 million, will launch 14 new collections of textiles and wallpapers in more than 80 markets around the world.

Outdoor living: Tricia Guild in the garden she thinks of as another room


With my husband, restaurateur Richard Polo, I’ve lived in Notting Hill for 20 years. Like much of London, it’s a vibrant mix of old and new. I never tire of Portobello Market and the green spaces of Holland Park. We live in a Victorian villa on four floors that is full of light and has a mix of classical and modern elements, such as old cornicing with contemporary doors. I think of my garden, which I love, as another room. The dining area is beneath a canopy of pleached lime trees, set in a square. We also have a holiday home in Umbria.


I’m passionate about a home being comfortable as well as beautiful. Being surrounded by good design is one of life’s pleasures. People associate me with colour and pattern, but I live with lots of neutrals and plain textures, too. I love to feel the house changing with the seasons, so in summer, I swap cosy cashmere throws for lighter linen and silk ones, take up the rugs and let the floors breathe. Introducing touches of white always feels summery. I love to use flowers through my home to mark the seasons, too: in spring, the first buds of blossom, hyacinth and camassia; in May, it’s peony time and in the autumn, my dahlias are out in full force.

Light show: Tricia Guild likes the idea of adapting rooms to suit the season, with different furnishings and flowers


Aside from Designers Guild, Summerill & Bishop for beautiful vintage French kitchenware and Alfie’s Antique Market. Retrouvius, the architectural salvage place in Kensal Green, always has something interesting. I’m a passionate supporter of the fantastic talent within our art colleges. The end-of-year graduate shows like New Designers and the RCA’s are brilliant hunting grounds for original and creative pieces.


At the moment, it’s a fabulous black and white ceramic jug by the Scottish painter and sculptor Bruce McLean, which I spotted at the Bernard Jacobson gallery.

Ceramics I love: Kate McBride’s work (Richard Johnson)


Hard to choose my favourite but my Howard Hodgkin pictures make my heart skip a beat every day. I couldn’t live without art. I am an avid collector of Memphis glass and ceramics have always been a passion of mine. Kate McBride’s work and that of Kathy Dalwood and Liz Hodges offer different styles of ceramics that I love and sell in the shop.


Green & Stone on King’s Road is one of the best artists’ suppliers in London. I love its French hand-made papers in subtle colours. Mouki Mou, in Chiltern Street, is a treasure trove of tastefully edited fashion and lifestyle that always manages to have the very thing I didn’t know I needed.


With the new Switch House wing,  the Tate Modern on the South Bank has got even better. It’s a breathtaking monument to art and culture and industry and I feel proud of its status in our city.

Breathtaking: with the new Switch House wing, the Tate Modern has got even better


Marianne North was an intrepid botanist in the late 19th century and the Marianne North Gallery at Kew Gardens is packed full of artistic and botanical inspiration. I could spend hours in there, marvelling at the places she visited and documented in her paintings. She was a real innovator.

Botanical inspiration: the Marianne North Gallery at Kew Gardens


Identify the very thing that excites you... that feels and looks good. It might be a perfect shade of blue or a particular ombre pattern, a vintage-inspired sofa or a beautiful rug.

Colour has the power to transform your interiors and enhance your life. If you are nervous with colour, try using small accents first, such as a cushion or throw. Even flowers can make that change.

Keep to a palette of no more than four colours in a room and make sure that one of them is white or a great neutral, which will provide a balance to the others, and encourage you to be more experimental. Combining pattern with plain will help maintain a sense of harmony.

Transforming a room: keep to a palette of no more than four colours, says Tricia Guild

Try using larger-scale patterned fabrics in smaller rooms. Often the scale itself makes an interesting statement.

Creating a mood board will help gather your thoughts visually. It’s important to keep samples in proportion, ie a larger fabric swatch for a sofa, smaller for a cushion, so you have a clearer vision of scale.



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