Interview with Interior Design Masters’ Ju De Paula + her tips for decorating with colour & personality

All photos of Ju’s home by Alexandra Joseph

I’ve been lucky enough to chat with professional interior designer Ju De Paula a few times over the past couple of years and she has been a fountain of inspiration for me and how I decorate my own home. You may remember Ju from the BBC series Interior Design Masters, where her colourful, floral designs helped her to reach the semi-final of the competition.

After writing about her upcycled home for Reloved magazine in 2018, and blogging about Ju’s interior style in 2019, we’ve kept in touch and today I’m sharing a private interview with Ju to find out what life has been like for her over the past year since Interior Design Masters aired…

How did the opportunity to be on Interior Design Masters came about?

I believe the opportunity was a gift from the Universe – I know it sounds SO woo-woo! But one evening I was feeling super sad because I didn’t know how to get my online courses in front of more women who liked colourful, happy interiors… so I looked at the sky and asked for a direction. Then… As soon as I said it , I opened my Instagram, and a post looking for designers for the show popped up! 

First, I was scared to apply and I thought to myself: “Who do I think I’m to be on a TV show?” But, every good thing that happened in my life came after I followed my intuition. And even though I was freaking out during every step of the selection process, I knew that our fears usually are arrows pointing to the directions we should go. So I went. The next thing I know I’m in London filming with the other designers. And I’m so happy I did! 

How was the experience of being part of the show?

The experience was surreal! I got to meet some of my idols, live and breath interior design and make friends for life. I’m not going to lie; it was very tough and tiring time, but I’m SO proud of myself and the other designers – what a brave and creative bunch we are!

Designing with tiny budgets and crazy deadlines need a whole new level of skills! And despite all the pressure, we did it. And yes there was tears and drama along the way, but so much more love and laughter! Loved it so much, I would do everything again!

What did you learn from taking part?

I learned more about interior design in those five months than in fifteen years of my career. However, the biggest lesson for me was to see my fears as arrows pointing in the direction I should go. I was so uncomfortable at the beginning, as putting yourself out there to be judged by strangers, friends and people who you admire; it’s not easy! But I’m glad I did. By pushing myself to do something that I was so scared of,  I lived the best time of my life!

What’s the best advice you got from the mentors?

I learned a lot from all of them. The best advice was from Sophie Robinson. She encouraged me to not to be afraid of showing the client that sometimes the best thing for the project is to change the brief. 

Has your design style changed since being on the show?

My style is more refined now, but it hasn’t changed. I’m still creating colourful spaces that put a smile on people’s faces. For me, interior design is not about trends or look… it’s about feeling good. 

What are you up to now?

I’ve been super busy teaching women all over the world how they can create happy homes that feel like them! I have a free colour online workshop. People can sign up at my website bloominghomesociety.com where they can also learn more about my design school.

What future plans do you have for your career?
I’m starting a YouTube channel, adding more courses to my design school and expanding to Brazil too! I’m beyond excited for what’s to come. 

What are your tips for using florals and pattern in the home? 

The secret to mixing patterns is to repeat colours and play with scale. 
For example:

  • Step 1: Start by defining how you want your space to feel.
  • Step 2: Choose colours that will support those feelings. For example: blue is calming, yellow evokes happiness and pink is nurturing
  • Step 3: Choose a floral that has your chosen colours.
  • Step 4: Choose a large scale geometric print that has one of the colours from your floral.
  • Step 5: Choose a small scale geometric print that has another colour from your floral. And voila! 

I loved every one of your room designs on Interior Design Masters and I’m interested to know what your current plans are for decorating/renovating your home?

Ahhh thanks SO MUCH, Cassie. I really appreciate it! I’m currently planning our living room and our master bedroom. I’m so excited to get them done. Because of the show and my business, I didn’t have time to do anything for our home. I’m now planning to DIY a cupboard for our new living room. 

It was so lovely to catch up with interior designer Ju De Paula and I’m delighted to hear that everything is going so well for her. Be sure to check out Ju’s website Blooming Home Society, read her inspirational blog posts and sign up for her FREE colour workshop (I’ve taken the course and it was brilliant!) to help you become a DIY designer for your own home.

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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