Using Colour

Colour is a very powerful element in choosing any design scheme, it can alter your mood, how big or small a room feels, how the room itself feels, for example light and airy or cosy. Therefore when making your colour selection do it very carefully, think about what you want from that particular room or space, how do you want it to feel not only to yourself but also to guests and other members of your family. If you have a favourite colour or colours this is a very good place to start, since it is likely you will be living with what you choose for quite some time. It is far more important that you are comfortable and gain a sense of enjoyment from the colours selected than purely opting for something because it is “in”.

To begin you may already have a collection of objects and furniture in the room that you want or have to keep and these will determine your starting point, both in colour and style. If you are starting from scratch this can be very exciting but also a little daunting, as the choices for colour, style and design are limitless! Try to find an item you really love, a chair, a fabric, a picture, anything and make this your departure platform for the rest of the scheme.

Take something with you from the room, a cushion perhaps, when shopping for curtains, wallpapers and other accessories. If this isn’t possible then ask to borrow pattern books or for samples. It is always better to see any proposed additions in the actual room prior to making a final decision. Look at them at different times of the day as they will change in appearance as the light alters, and change again at night in artificial light. Also place them in various parts of the room as this too will make a difference.

If you are choosing a paint colour, buy a sample pot first and paint a large piece of card or board and place it in the room, do this for each colour you intend to use. Remember that paint will always appear darker on a large area.

Ceilings are often overlooked and simply painted white, but they are just as important to your scheme as every other element. Paint them a tint lighter than the walls, if you go for a darker shade, this will appear to lower the ceiling and unless you have a particularly high one this is not usually desirable. If you are using plain wallpaper for the walls and the room does not have any coving, why not use the same paper for the ceiling? This can look very effective and eliminates any uneven edges between ceiling and wall.

Skirting boards, dados and picture rails require consideration too. These look good picked out in the same colour but a shade deeper than the walls. Use an eggshell based paint which gives a lovely hardwearing, matt finish. There are no hard and fast rules though, and you could make a feature of them in a contrasting colour, or select a much darker or lighter tone than the walls, it depends how much visual impact you want them to have.

When choosing your curtains or other window treatment, think about whether you want them to stand out from the walls or to blend into them. Contrasting items can have a lot of impact but often people find them difficult to live with and usually go for a more harmonious approach. If your window isn’t very large a contrast flash of colour could work well without being overpowering.

Floor coverings are another decorative surface where colour needs to be carefully considered. The same carpet throughout the house gives the feeling of continuity and an easy flow from one space to another, and ideally is best kept neutral to allow it to work well with a variety of colour schemes. If you opt for a definite colour you would be well advised to plan the decor for each room first so that you know you won’t have any problems once the carpet is fitted. In heavy traffic areas such as hallways, and rooms where a more practical solution is needed such as kitchens and bathrooms, carpets aren’t always the best option. Fortunately there is a vast array of products on the market to choose from so it shouldn’t be overly difficult to find one to suit. Ask the supplier for a large sample and look at is in situ.

A floor that is darker than the walls will draw a room in, as will a floor with a dark boarder around the edge however an inset border is less likely to do this if the outer edge is lighter that the wall. Tiled floors with dark keystones will usually make a  floor look bigger and can be very effective in a narrow hallway. Whatever flooring you choose, incorporate it into your scheme with as much consideration as all the other elements.

If you are still unsure, have a look at the room sets on our website, and browse through a selection of interior magazines for colour combinations and ideas. You will soon notice that certain colours and/or styles grab your attention more than others; these are the ones you need to focus on. Study them carefully, decide what it is you like about them then take those elements and use them to build on to create your own individual scheme. 

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