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August 16, 2011, 11:30 am betterhomesgardens
Selecting colours for your home should be an exciting experience as you envisage how beautiful your rooms will look when they’re finished. Here's your ultimate guide.
Colours are considered warm or cool by association. Use oranges, yellows and reds, which are warm like the sun, to improve a cold, south-facing room. Alternatively, use blues, greens and violets to cool down a north-facing, sun-filled room. These colours are considered cool, as they are reminiscent of the sea, sky and shade. As you create a palette for your room, try not to use all warm or all cool colours unless that’s the effect you wish to create. Otherwise, let one colour dominate and set the overall emotion of the room, then include elements that offer contrast.
Using colour allows you to see movement or shape in static or flat surfaces. Warm and pale colours appear to advance while cool and dark colours seem to recede. Applying this principle, a long, narrow room can look less like a corridor by painting the end wall in a warm, light colour. Darker tones can be used as shading to mimic volume and shape, while light tones can create highlights.
The way you respond to a colour can be related to your experiences. So a pale blue room that may look icy and cold to you can be relaxing and soothing to another person. We also use colour to describe our emotions: we can be having a ‘bright sunshiny day’, be ‘seeing red’, feel ‘in the pink’ or be ‘green with envy’. So when choosing a colour you may wish to consider emotional responses – or then again, maybe not!
Colour is a reflection of light, so the type of light in a room, and the amount, will have a significant impact on your colour scheme. Make the most of daylight in your main living rooms; it lets all colours have an even intensity. When considering a scheme, spend time in the space throughout the day and take note of how the light changes.
There are various types of artificial lighting and each affects the look of your colours. Different types of globes can make colours bluer or more yellow. Choose colours under the type of light that’s in the room you will be decorating – big swatches and sample pots of paint are ideal for this. And remember, pale colours reflect the light shining on them and the colours that surround them. So a white wall will take on the hues of your carpet, ceiling and furnishings.
Consider colour value when selecting your scheme for a room and opt for one dark, one light and one bright colour. Pick one of these colours to be dominant – which one is up to you. For harmony, repeat variations of it around the room in furniture and accessories, and add a few little touches of its complementary colour for extra sparkle.
If you love a colour but find it overwhelming, shift tones – russet is less intrusive to live with than red, for example.Splash it about
While neutrals are safe, there are many benefits to using colour in your home. It can unify disparate styles of furnishings or renew worn or outdated furniture. It can also manipulate your sense of space: a small room looks larger in pale colours while a large room appears more intimate with dark walls. You can lower a high ceiling with a deep tone or raise a low ceiling with a coat of white paint.Use the colour you love the most in 60 per cent of the space, the secondary colour 30 per cent and only 10 per cent for the accent colour, which is best used on the easily changed items like cushions, lampshades and candles.
Primary colours: At the heart of the wheel are the primary colours: red, yellow and blue – pure unmixed colours that can’t be formed by mixing other colours.
Secondary colours: In between are the secondary colours, made by mixing two primaries. A mix of red and yellow gives orange, a mix of yellow and blue gives green, and a mix of red and blue gives violet.
Tertiary colours: Mix a primary and a secondary for tertiary colours. They are named with the primary colour first: red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet and red-violet. Other colours are made through further mixing and adding black (shade) and white (tint).
Flood your room with sunshine and happiness. Use clear citrus yellows for a contemporary look. Try it with magenta and black and white or use more golden yellows (mustard, gold, ochre) for a traditional feel.ORANGE
Team orange with earthy colours like chocolate brown and rich caramel, or go for an unexpected combination with off-whites and turquoise. Orange was big in the 1960s and is part of an updated retro look.RED
Reds range from watermelon all the way to deep wine. Choose a red with a bent towards orange to follow the latest trends. Use on shiny surfaces for a very now look or add a textured throw for rustic appeal.VIOLET
Violet is all the rage and you can use it and all its glorious nuances to create a very sophisticated decor scheme. Add violet, purples or plums to a sage-green or Tuscan gold scheme for a fresh new look.BLUE
From periwinkle to turquoise to classic navy, blue is an all-time favourite. In the latest trends it’s warmed with violet/red undertones, or combined with yellow for a sunny French country look.GREEN
All greens from soft sages to bright limes, subdued olives and really dark greens marry well with neutrals.BLACK & WHITE
Create an all-time classic scheme with black and white. In pure form, they’re very dramatic; mix for a totally different character. Grey is the perfect foil for the introduction of bright accents.
If you’re creating a colour scheme for a room from scratch, follow these easy steps to ensure you cover all possibilities.STEP 1
Create a storyboard or folder of your inspirations.STEP 2
Evaluate what you have to work around. You may have to adjust your colours to accommodate the colour of your carpet if you don’t want to change it, or a large piece of furniture that has to stay.STEP 3
Settle on what mood you want the room to have. This will influence the values and intensities of the colours you choose.STEP 4
Decide which colour will dominate the walls, floor and ceiling. Then choose your secondary colour to use on furniture and window treatments. And finally, select your accent colour. Colour balance is rarely achieved if colours are used in equal amounts.STEP 5
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