Interior stylist Tina Hellberg on choosing colours and responding to trends.
Tina Hellberg is one of Sweden’s most well-known interior stylists. For Swedese, she has carried out several major projects - designing and styling fair and exhibition stands, for example. For these jobs she has received much acclaim, not least for her creative use of colour schemes.
We meet Tina in her studio in Söder, Stockholm to talk about one of her most important tools for creating settings and context - colour.
Immediately, we get into the subject of interior design projects and colour. How to approach a project, and at what stage to start to consider colour? Tina reveals that when starting a new project, she often works ‘analog’.
-For me, it’s about ensuring there’s a handcrafted element in my working processes. I don’t sketch my own products - I create context by uniting other people’s work.”
Creating a physical mood board comprising colour, fabric and wallpaper samples as well as inspiration images, she makes colour part of the process at an early stage.
-This is how I work with projects for exhibitions and public spaces, but the process works just as well when you’re giving your home a makeover.”
Take your time choosing
-I often experience a certain impatience in people who are planning a home interior project. Everything has to happen quickly, which I think is a shame. Important decisions have to be made and there are lots of advantages to be had by choosing carefully.
-When choosing colour, I believe you should trust your feelings. Think about what you’re attracted to and what triggers this attraction. Colours that awake feelings are good. They give you something to build on, which can be adjusted and complimented. A home needs to work in all of life’s varied situations and at every hour of the day - this puts extra demands on colour choice.
To find the right colours for a room, Tina recommends using paint samples, preferably on large pieces of material that can be moved around the room to see how they behave in different light and at various angles. Taking photos can also be helpful, and as Tina points out, sometimes it’s actually easier to see what we like and compare alternatives from an image.
“A home needs to work in all of life’s varied situations and at every hour of the day - this puts extra demands on colour choice.”
Trends as inspiration
We discuss trends within colour. How much should trends affect colour choice?
-I see trends as a tool for inspiration and change. Above all, I believe they can start a process that leads us to choices we might otherwise not have made. Perhaps a trend article can give courage to someone who wants to follow a certain path but doesn’t quite dare?
Trends don’t need to be all about short-term choices and temporary adjustments.
-A more sustainable way to use trends is to get inspired by them, then make rational and long-term choices.”
Swedese and colours
-For me, Swedese’s personality is clear. This obviously affects how I choose their colours. I believe there’s a friendly and accessible elegance to both the brand and the furniture, along with an exciting and inspiring heritage. In my interpretation this has resulted in soft colours that reflect the heritage, while at the same time conveying quality, trends and the brand’s position at design’s leading edge.
“I see trends as a tool for inspiration and change.”
You’ll find traces of Swedese everywhere in Tina’s studio. On one worktable lie pieces of a moodboard that were the foundation of colour choices for the showroom at the company’s head office in Vaggeryd. Sitting in a corner, we see an upholstered Avavick stool. Tina explains -
-I got it as a gift. It’s a prototype that hasn’t gone into production in this form yet.
On the underside of the stool, there’s a dedication written in marker pen - “to the Queen of Colour.”