Interior Design

Farrow & Ball's color curator shares the simple size-enhancing trick she uses in her home

Joa Studholme's clever paint technique creates the illusion of space – and she follows it in her own scheme

Green painted kitchen by Farrow & Ball
(Image credit: Bancha No.298 Modern Emulsion Bancha No.298 Full Gloss by Farrow & Ball)

When searching for a color combination, you could do far worse than follow the teachings of Farrow & Ball's curator, Joa Studholme. As the figure at the top of the paint powerhouse, Joa is not only an expert on paint trends – but she creates them. Therefore, it is unsurprising that she has the answer to one of the most provocative questions in the interiors industry: Can you make a space feel bigger with color? The secret, Joa shares, is in curated color combination. 

Speaking to H&G in our podcast, The Well-Crafted Life, Joa shared her interior design tips, including the refreshingly simple paint trick that she uses to enhance the size of her living room in her home – a nineteenth-century Schoolhouse in Somerset. 

Green painted walls by Farrow & Ball

(Image credit: Bancha No.298 Modern Emulsion School House White No.291 Estate Emulsion by Farrow & Ball)

Joa Studholme's size-enhancing paint technique  

In a home enveloped in verdant fields and rolling hills, Joa explains that Farrow & Ball's Bancha green (above) was a fitting choice for a wall by the front door. However, it is Bancha's contrasting relationship with her white living room (painted in Farrow & Ball's School House White) that makes the color so impactful.

'I have a very small dark wall which is where you come through the front door, and it was screaming out to be green so that you could carry on the bucolic greens of the fields around it, and I wanted to create a bit of drama,' Joa begins.

'It means that when you go from that dark hall into the big white schoolroom, that room feels even bigger and lighter in comparison… out of the darkness comes light.'

Light-filled home with green walls by Farrow & Ball

(Image credit: Bancha No.298 Modern Emulsion by Farrow & Ball)

The contrast between the green of her home's entrance thus accentuates the white tones of her historic living room – and we're stealing Joa's technique for our own living room paint ideas. Plus, while we're admiring her space-enhancing color combination, Joa reminds us that white hues are perfect for emphasizing spaces of all sizes. 

'I had to create a white when I got [to The Schoolhouse], which is Farrow & Ball's School House White (below). I did that to emphasize the size and light of the room – but more importantly, to retain the spirit of the building. It was important to [maintain] the iconic, simple feel.'

School House White by Farrow and Ball

(Image credit: School House White No.291 by Farrow and Ball)

Has Joa just reshaped our paint ideas? Of course, she has. This is Joa Studholme, after all.

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.