Do you want your home to look funky, warm, cool, light and airy, elegant, calming, welcoming or functional? We all know colour is key when it comes to setting the style and tone of your home for both you and your visitors.
As Mary Gilliatt, interior designer and author says, colour is vitally important in the home. “It can transform a home more quickly, and cheaply, than any other decorational device. Even one extra colour, judiciously chosen and well-placed, can add extra pep”.
It’s no small task choosing the colours you will live with day in, day out, so it’s important to be happy with your choices. But knowing whether a splash of red will make a positive difference, or if those neutral tones are the look and feel you’re after, is a huge decision.
Here are five guidelines to help you pick the right colour scheme for your home. For more help, check out this handy colour choosing tool from Dulux.
Start with colours that you like
So where do you start? With your own personal taste and a little confidence say the experts.
Mary explains: “Colour sense, unlike, for example perfect pitch, isn’t an absolute. It can be absorbed and improved steadily over the years.”
The good news is that as long as you follow some basic rules, and go with what you also like (after all we all have a favourite colour) and the effect you want, colour can transform your home and have quite a magical effect.
Interior designer Sharon Maskell’s advice is: “Throw out the rule book! Potentially any colour can work in any space of your property. It is a personal preference and yours to choose. The limitations are gone. However, colours can be made to work a lot better when combined with strong textures, and patterns.
“For instance, you could have black walls, if you are a big fan of the colour, and by balancing with white walls in the same room, and yellow accessories, you will be making a bold design statement, as opposed to a dramatic decorating error.
“It’s all about the ‘put together’ style of a room - it is important to mix and match, combining colours that don’t conventionally go together, and mix iconic looks and items from different eras.
"Be brave and be bold. Pink can go with red, so long as you make the whole look wilfully eclectic. It’s creating the contrast which allows the freedom with colour choices in the different room spaces of the house. Ensure you combine lots of different influences. Ultimately it’s how you combine.”
Experiment with colour combinations
Sharon, who designs for Suna Interior Design, says the best rule of thumb with colour is to play with what works for you. “My advice is to clash colours together, and combine eclectically with mixed textures, patterns and styles. This way whatever colour you chose, it should look great – so long as you like it.”
She suggests these colours as great places to start: “Greys, particularly slate grey - if you combine greys with older wooden furniture it makes the furniture look more contemporary, and creates a strong look. Green - go for all shades from muted to pea green. Blues - including royal blue, turquoise and jewel blue. Pinks - the more it clashes the better.”
As for one to avoid, Sharon’s suggestion is brown. She says: “Brown is a colour which I would say not to bother with... or at least put at the bottom of the potential list!”
Mary Gilliatt adds that when combining colours, it’s important to be aware of the relationship between them. “If red is put near blue, the red appears yellower. Near yellow, the same red appears bluer; next to green, it appears purer and brighter; next to black it seems duller; next to white it becomes lighter and brighter; next to grey too, red seems brighter.”
Work with what you have
You need to take into consideration the size of the room. As a rule of thumb, the larger the room, the larger the splash of strong or dark colour you can get away with. The smaller the room, the more you want ‘open’ it up with light, reflective colours that give a sense of the walls disappearing out and away from you.
Mary says: “A space will always seem more cohesive if more or less the same colours are used throughout.” This means incorporating furniture and furnishings into the colour scheme you choose.
Make your home a whole
This leads us on to looking at the house as whole. As Anna Ward, an interior designer who runs Furnished by Anna, says, a cohesive style for the whole home is vitally important.
“Flow throughout the house is really important. The scheme in each room should link to the other rooms to feel consistent. This doesn’t mean everything is neutral or boring or has to be identical, but using a base scheme with a series of total colours allows you to individualise each room with furniture and accessories.”
So there you have it. Four ways to promote colour harmony and get the effect you want.
What are your tips for colour harmony in the home? We’d love to hear them. And what colour schemes have you tried – and then ditched? Let us know.