Time and time again, I am asked about colour, how to make it work in the home and what are the ‘right’ schemes to follow.
Choosing paint colours and how to use those colours in the interiors can be a daunting task for homeowners. Often people will go one of two ways – either the process of choosing paint colours becomes all too much for them and they end up choosing one neutral colour for their entire house or they go crazy with contrasting feature walls. I always say to people that it’s important to educate yourself about how colours work in the home and you will then have the confidence to express yourself through colour.
There are some tried and true principles about using colour in interiors. One of the key things here is to understand the difference between dominant and recessive colours and how the application of colour can change the visual proportions of a room. Dominant colours like yellow and red will feel like they’re jumping forward, while recessive colours like purple and blue will feel like they’re going back.
Pairing dominant and recessive colours can be used to create focal points in a room, create an illusion of depth and space, or draw attention to statement pieces. Light colours don’t necessarily make a small space appear bigger. For example, even using dark colours such as charcoal on all four walls and using good lighting to highlight objects away from the walls can actually diminish the boundaries with the room, making it appear spacious. The best interiors use colour on walls to provide interest and contrast.
One of the classic mistakes people often make is to buy sample colour pots and paint them directly on their walls. The colour on your walls is influenced by the light that the room receives at any given time of the day, as well as your flooring colour, lighting and furnishings. Colour reflects all of these elements and will not stay the same throughout your house.
A clever trick is to paint your chosen colours on a piece of A3 cardboard and move the piece of cardboard throughout your house – place it on your walls, floors, window sills – and view it in all different aspects of your house. Understanding the theory behind the use of colour in interiors and viewing your chosen colours in different aspects of your house will give you the confidence to make clever colour decisions. It’s about trusting yourself and ultimately, remembering that you can always paint again if the result is not what you had planned.