Thousands of colours adorn every part of modern day life, enriching our lives on a daily basis. Everywhere we look colours give off signals and feelings. Red for stop and green for go. Vibrant blue skies give off a sunny and warm disposition, whilst greys and whites can invoke a feeling of winter and cold.
As a general rule, greens, blues and purples create chilled, cooler and relaxing vibes, whilst oranges, reds and yellows can provide energy, warmth and vibrancy to a room. Do you really want your bedroom, a place for relaxing and sleeping, to invoke vibrancy and energy? Give some real thought to what type of colour scheme you want. Reds and darker colours can often make a room seem smaller and cosier as the colours appear to advance towards you. Lighter and neutral colours tend to make a room feel larger evoking a brighter and spacious feeling.
In terms of basic colour theory and planning a colour scheme, the colour wheel is a great place to start. Whilst it is estimated there are around 10 million colours the human eye can see, the colour wheel is comprised of just six main colours – purples, blues, greens, yellows, oranges and reds. It is only when we add in the tints, shades and tones that the number of colours become endless.
A tint is any colour from the colour wheel mixed with varying degrees of white, it increases the lightness of the colour. A shade is a colour produced by mixing black with a colour from the wheel, increasing the darkness of the colour. A tone is what you get when you mix a colour from the colour wheel with grey, giving off undertones of greys or browns with the original colour becoming muted and ‘toned down’.
Using basic interior design theories and the colour wheel, we can explore what it means to create a colour scheme from three basic concepts. By understanding the basics, you can start to develop a colour palette for your home that you will absolutely love to live with.
A monochromatic colour scheme means taking one colour from the colour wheel and working only within that one colour, but introducing the tints, tones and shades. In practice a monochromatic theme would take green and utilise varying shades of green by introducing lighter, muted and darker colours of greens. This theme can look simple, elegant and classic and is especially easy to create. The colour you choose largely depends on your preference, but you’ll obviously be happier with your finished colour palette if it happens to be a colour you love!
An analogous colour scheme is taking two or three colours from the colour wheel that sit next to each other. For example, taking oranges and reds and expanding the colour ranges by using the tints, tones and shades that exist within those two colours. An analogous scheme can be a little trickier to pull off. If you don’t want it to bold and brash, selecting mostly shades and tones would be preferable. Try also using the analogous colours as accent pieces with a neutral palette on walls and floors to keep things a little calmer. If, however, bold and brash interiors are your thing then an analogous colour scheme on walls and floors plus statement pieces would be dazzling.
A complementary colour scheme is to take two colours that are directly opposite on the colour wheel – yellows & purples, reds & greens or blues & oranges. Within the two-colour choices you introduce the tints, tones and shades to give varying colours of the two primary choices. Complementary colour schemes tend to be bold, particularly if you are using brighter, less muted colours. A complementary colour scheme uses a colder colour with a warmer colour – do consider a dominant colour if you are looking in particular for either a warm or cooler vibe.
Choosing colours to suit your lifestyle
When choosing a colour palette for a room, give plenty of thought to what it will be used for. As tempting as it is to go for your favourite colours, give a little thought to the layout of the room, natural light and usage. Think about the overall style you are aiming for – Scandinavian? Traditional? Modern? Minimalist? Funky? Have a go at a mood board for your overall vision and play around with some colours that you wouldn’t naturally be drawn to before your making your final decisions.
When furnishing your room think also about the floor and wall colours too and how this will interplay with your furniture colours. Some designers depend on the 60/30/10 rule to get the balance right – 60 percent of the colour in a space generally comes from the walls; 30 percent from upholstery, floor covering, or window dressings; and 10 percent from accent pieces, accessories, and artwork. With this in mind, start by thinking what colours you might have to keep, for example a floor or carpet.
Think about who else will be using the space – a bright and colourful colour scheme can hide a multitude of sins (think toddlers on a sharpie rampage). Whilst white and cream choices will show up the tiniest of stains, but could be perfectly appropriate in a lesser used, adult only environment.
If you need a pet friendly environment, think about the colour of your pet hair and how you might need pet hairs to camouflage in between cleans. Think about bringing your pet furniture into part of your interior with custom made pet furniture, rather than relying on whatever colours are available in your local pet store. Check out collections of pet and child friendly fabrics via our fabric finder here.
A few final tips…
Light, especially natural light, completely changes colour. What you see in one setting will be entirely different in another. Purchasing our fabric samples are an excellent way of trying out before you buy, make sure you place the samples in the exact spot you intend to use the fabric for, and keep checking them during different times of the day as and when the lights changes.
No-one knows for certain why we are drawn to particular colours. It might be an emotional connection or a distant memory. It might be an association with a favourite building or football team. Some might prefer brighter ‘happier’ colours such as yellows and oranges, whilst others much prefer a toned-down neutral colour palette. But have a go at being bold and play around with some ideas. Ultimately do what you love and what makes you and yours happy.