Colour me beautiful

The bare walls of a new home or the feeling that it is time for whole sale change, when it comes to choosing the look and feel of your home, nothing is as personal or as intimidating as choosing the colour. And when it comes to collecting your thoughts and settling upon a scheme, it can be the most daunting of challenges. Get it wrong and you are either stuck with something that smacks you in the face every time you look at it, or you have to bear the cost of changing things. Read on for some guidance on the tricky but exciting world of interior design.

How you plan your colour scheme is down to personal preference. You may choose to colour your walls and buy furniture to complement the colour scheme. You may have your furniture and fabrics and add the colour to complement these. Your walls might be leading the colour scheme, or alternatively, the walls may be neutral and it is the furniture that adds the dashes of colour.

Let’s first take a look at the classification of colours. 

There are three colour classifications: primary, secondary and tertiary. 

Primary colours are red, blue and yellow. They are pure colors and cannot be created.

Secondary colours are orange, green and purple. These colours which are formed when equal parts of two primary colours are combined. For example, equal parts yellow and blue make green.

Tertiary colours are a mixture, in varying parts of secondary and primary colors to create different hues, as a result the primary and secondary colors become less vivid. White and black are often added to darken and soften these hues.

You then need to consider a colour scheme.

Monochromatic: The monochromatic colour scheme uses tone on tone of the same colour with the addition of white or black to lighten or darken the colour. For example, with greens, you can have a pale green, a lime green and a bottle green all combining for an effective colour scheme.

Analogous: The analogous scheme uses colours that are close to each other in shade. For example yellow will be used with green or orange, or blue will be used with green or purple. This creates a colourful and often soothing palette.

Contrast: The contrast scheme is more dramatic. Here a triad of contrasting colours are used, such as yellow-orange, green-blue and red-purple. This introduces more colour and energy into your home’s palette.

Complementary: The complementary scheme uses two opposing colours, such as blue and orange, to create a dramatic, bold and high energy colour scheme.

Selecting a colour scheme

Once you have your colour scheme planned, don’t rush off and buy the paints. Wall paints are inexpensive and can be created in any colour and in any hue you desire. It’s best to start with harder-to-find or one-off items such as furniture and rugs or carpets. Once you’ve selected your furnishings you can then move on to wall colour.

When choosing your colour palette you may want to start with contrasts, something dark paired with something light. If you wish to infuse a little more colour and energy into your room you might consider adding something bright. What impact are you looking to make?

Add colour with furnishings

If you’re more comfortable with pale walls, look to your furnishings, accessories and rugs for added colour. When picking your colours, especially the bolder ones, makes sure they are crisp and the lines are clean. If your style is more subtle, softer, neutral shades should be considered.

Getting a good flow

It is important that you test out your colours with paint swatches and fabrics. Draw out plans of your rooms and sketch in the colours. If they work on paper, try painting small areas of your walls. Buy sample pots specifically for this reason. When painting sample areas look at the other rooms and how they connect so that you can create a flow from room to room so that the colours complement each other.

Contrasting colours

An adjoining room may want a non accent or a neutral color, or conversely you can work with contrasting tones as well as long as there is always a semblance of flow.

Finally, if you love the idea of infusing your space with colour, but you’re not really quite ready to add it to your walls, there are plenty of ways to add splashes of colour to your home. Keep your walls neutral – pale beiges, sands, ivories, greys and whites – and bring colour in with rugs, furniture, lamps, pillows, throws and artwork and flowers.