Colour is one of those things that a lot of people take for granted. They paint their house the first white they find, they go and select a beige carpet and white kitchen cupboards, a grey benchtop and that is the last time they think about it. They don’t mind the result but they don’t love it.
The difference between “liking” how your home looks and “loving” how it looks and feels is how the colours in your home all work together. Colour is the most important design element to get right because it sets the mood and atmosphere of the entire home, both outside and inside.
You might think you will just paint your home all white, but when you go to choose a white there are so many available. You might want a warm white, so you select a few warm swatches from the paint shop. When you get them home they will, more than likely, look completely different to what they did in the shop, due to the lighting.
You might also find when you choose a white that you like on the walls that it doesn’t look quite right with the furniture or flooring in the room.
Undertone plays a big role in this. If you can work out what the underlying colour is in the white you choose, you have a better chance of your white complementing the other colours in the room.
Some homes you walk into look stylish and amazing. They feel welcoming, warm and stylish but nothing, in particular, stands out. The room just has a nice atmosphere and feels good to be in. These are the spaces that have a harmonious colour scheme. The colours complement each other and work really well together, they flow from room to room but it is not obvious. The home just has a lovely feel.
So instead of just selecting any white or grey, or any colour for that matter, and painting it on your walls make sure, beforehand, that is works with the other colours in your home. The whole colour scheme needs to work together and create a story. If you use colours in one room which don’t relate to anything else in the house, that’s when you have a disjointed home.
This doesn’t mean you have to use the same colours and finishes in every room but you should make sure if you introduce a new colour in one room that you repeat it somewhere else in your home. It doesn’t need to be a painted wall or a large amount of the colour, you can repeat it in cushions or a rug, just use it somewhere so it can be tied in somewhere else in the room.
The exception to this, in my opinion, can be children’s rooms. Most kids love to choose the colour of their bedroom and it is usually a bright colour that you wouldn’t use anywhere else in your home. Unless you are planning on selling your home in the near future, why not let your kids add their personality to their space. Just close the door!
Another important factor in selecting colours is the amount of natural light a room receives. The light changes the way a colour looks dramatically throughout the day. If there is a certain look you love and wan for your home but, the light isn’t right, you may be fighting a losing battle.
By working with the amount of light a room gets you will have a much better chance of making it feel comfortable and inviting. If you love a light and minimalist look but you have a dark room that doesn’t get a lot of natural light, painting it a cool, bright white will do nothing for the room. It will just make it feel cold and dull.
You would be better to find a warmer, creamier white that will look brighter and warmer in a darker room. This will give the feeling of warmth and you can introduce rugs, artificial light and accessories in light colours to bring some brightness to the room.
Working with the things you cannot change, like aspect and fixtures and finishes, will allow you to create a welcoming and stylish home. If you try and fight what you really can’t change you will end up with a home that doesn’t feel quite right.
When I imagined the home I thought I would buy it was modern, clean lines and bright. What I ended up buying was an older home that needed updating and didn’t have the natural light in every room that I had hoped for. By working with the light that each room received I created a home that I love even though it wasn’t how I had imagined it to be.
It is really important to test any colours in large samples, where ever possible, in your home and especially the room where it will be used to see how it look at different times of the day and how well it go with the other colours in your home. Doing this will help you to select a cohesive and complementary colour scheme.
Until next time,
13 August 2018