Fantastic Furniture co-founder Debrah De Jong on the importance of affordable quality design

“When people say ‘You’re in the design game,’ we’re actually not. We’re in the people game.”

Speaking to Adrian Ramsay on the host’s Talk Design podcast, Deborah De Jong, the Fantastic Furniture co-founder and former TV show host (Changing Homes, Renovation Rescue) spoke about how she’s moved on from affordable furniture and lifestyle TV programming, to training and development for architects and designers.

Originally starting her professional life as a hostess on Qantas flights, Deb found the lifestyle appealing, being able to meet people from diverse backgrounds and travelling around the world suited her to a tee.

“Every time you went to work you’d be taking another adventure,” she said.

Having seen so many variations on design and architecture, it spurred a thought in her that the Australian market was missing out on a literal world of opportunities, thanks mostly to affordability. This led to the launch of Fantastic Furniture, now one of the leading furniture retailers in Australia.

Quality design at an affordable price was the company’s mission, and its success was groundbreaking for Australia.

“We all want to live in a great space,” she said. “What we surround ourselves with is so important. Aesthetically we need environments that are conducive to stimulation or engagement, or relaxation.

“Not everybody’s got access to that financially – so how do we create great environments?”

The conversation went into the deep world of how colour impacts a person’s psychology – and how the different colours will have different impacts on the different personality types, and how looking deeply into a person’s psychological makeup can give you a better understanding of them.

“People with body language awareness can in a snapshot read where you’re going, what you’re thinking, where your thought processes are; and when you analyse people it’s like getting their thoughts on a page.”

She told Adrian this is key to getting a better understanding of people, finding out what they want, and finding a better connection with them.

“If we surround ourselves with red, it will make us hungry, angry, irritable, attract flies and want sex.

“That’s what it will make us feel, because design is emotional. But somebody might have an aversion to red because of a childhood memory.

“It’s pulling all that and extrapolating all that data, history and memory from a person in order to create a great space.”

This podcast is another in a series of chats the Sunshine Coast designer has had with high profile and acclaimed designers, architects, artists and creators of all trades from multiple places around the world.

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