Thursday, 18 June 2015

Choosing Colour In Your Home - Part One

little greene paint company paint colours
You searched and searched and then you found it your new home. You put an offer in and then after months of waiting, solicitors letters, packing poxes, finding the kettle, making a cup of tea you are ready to decorate. I remember my granny's house was mostly woodchip wallpaper, (does that still exist) and magnolia, good old safe, rental friendly magnolia. Or should I say bloody magnolia! Today I feel we are spoiled by paint colours and wallpaper ranges. Technology has moved on so that we can wash all of our paints out with water only if we choose which is far nicer for the environment than horrid turpentine. There in lies the problem we have thousands of colours to choose from, different paint finishes, modern wallpaper, retro wallpaper and then you could always dress your walls with a collage of maps, a mural or wallpaper you have printed yourself. In short it is overwhelming and it is easy to understand why people end up playing safe and going cream instead of drowning in paint chips and sample pots. I hope to give you some tips to help you though the decision making process.

First of all it is tempting to rush in and start decorating straight away, perhaps because you are excited or maybe the decor that is there is truly horrific. My advice is to wait because you need to see how the light behaves in each room and how you use the rooms. You may have a very clear idea of how you will use each room even down to the best chair for reading in but when you start to live in your house your ideas will evolve and change organically. Whenever I have moved into a property I have ended up re-arranging cupboards and furniture to suit the flow of how I live in the space. 

If the decor is hard to live with I would suggest that you buy copious amounts of white paint and paint the whole house white. This may sound crazy but having a blank canvas will clear your mind and allow you to view the room for the shapes, light and shadows without having your vision clouded by the past horrors.

Light is one of the most important factors when you choose a colour scheme. The time of day that light hits your room means it will have different degrees of warmth to it and can even change the appearance of a colour on the wall, meaning that you could paint your house entirely one colour an it would different nuances in each room. People often use the rule of thumb that if a room is dark or small that it should be a pale colour, this is not necessarily the case. Lets face it we have all succumb to an optical illusion from time to time but painting a box room a light colour is not going to fool anyone into think it is a double bedroom. Sometimes it can be fun to embrace a rooms nature and you can end up with some dramatic effects. I have a toilet in my house that is, well quite simply the smallest room in the house but I have painted it Brinjal, a deep aubergines from Farrow & Ball. As the room is small I have kept the woodwork the same colour also. I looks very dramatic and adds interest to an otherwise dull room. I refuse to show you as it is almost finished and I want to save it for a big reveal, here are some examples that I found to illustrate my point.
bohemian design attic bedroom
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This wonderfully cozy attic bedroom embraces the lack of light by painting the walls black and using a William Morris print wallpaper  with a dark background. The look is softened by layers upon layers of rugs, blankets and quilts in rich colours. The bed looks so inviting.

The small living room below does not have the same bohemian look as the attic bedroom instead it has a  cool crisp look. Dark grey walls complimented with shades of grey on the sofa and floor to give a cohesive look to a small space by sticking to one colour pallet.
cool dark grey living room
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Of course dark walls can look equally as awesome in a large room like the very large bathroom featured below.
very cool dark blue bathroom
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Another way to use dark colours is in the hallway, no I am not crazy hear me out. Having a dark hallway that has light rooms coming off it will make those rooms feel larger and airier than they are by contrast, a light at the end of the tunnel effect.
dark bohemian hallway interior design
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Of course you can just go for it and team up your dark walls with jeweled colours
dark hallway jewel colours interiors
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When you think about a colour scheme you have a number of options; neutral, spectrum, contrasting, analogue & complimentary. There are a few others but let's stick to the main ones. I made a rudimentary colour wheel to show you how colours relate to one another. Lets look at each colour scheme.
colour wheel
Neutral 
Okay so I have not painted these colours on the wheel so let's pretend. Neutral colourways are creams & whites but it is not as simple as that as you can choose neutrals with different bases. Traditional neutrals have an earthy tone as a base and will easily accent with blue/green textiles. If you are wanting a very traditional look in your home this is the way to go. You also get yellow based neutrals which are easy to use and popular. Red based help create a warm feel and then the more contemporary loft like neutrals have a cool blue/grey tone. 
red based neutral lounge interior design
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terrance conran neutral lounge with natural wood
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Spectrum
This one is easy to pull off. We have all been to a local DIY store and seen the paint chips that go from the very dark version to the almost white version of a colour. That is basically what it is. There is an example below based in blues.
nursey in blue spectrum design
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Contrasting 
These are the colour pallets that are for the brave and bold, the colourways that bare no relation to one another on the wheel but just work. If you think about it so many colourways exist in nature that do just that. Below is an example of a red and blue room and one that is filled with many colours that should jar but just work. To pull this look off you have to be confident and use your eye and instinct.
red and blue room chromologist
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contrasting colour interior design tips
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Complimentary
I know I shouldn't play favourite but I think this one is my favourite. If you think about the colour wheel again the complimentary colours sit across from one another, and the pairings are as follows; blue & orange, red & green and yellow & purple. You can have a little fun with this an go a little rogue and pair blue with yellow by jumping over from its true partner and that works too.
blue and orange complimentary colour design
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a beautiful mess elsie home tour
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Analogue
Now for the last colour way for this one you take colours that sit next to one another. For example blues and greens. This does not mean you have to be dull about it as you will see from the two very different blue & green rooms below.
blue and green room The Chromologist
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blue and lime green room Bright Bazaar
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Wow that is a lot of information so I will shut up now, but not before I say this one last thing. Keep an eye out for Choosing Colour In Your Home Part Two.......

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