A speedy guide to using colour in your home
When people turn their minds to decorating a room, colour is usually the first thing that springs to mind. Think colour first and then build decorating ideas around that.
And that works rather well.
Oh, but where to start? There are lots of colours. How many? In theory an infinite number, but a quick google informs me that the normal human can only see about 10 million. That’s still a lot. Farrow & Ball currently have 32 colours to choose from and that’s a good number. Valspar (the paint people) have 2000 pre-selected colours and can match 2.2 million colours from a sample as small as a sugar cube. That should be enough…
So how to choose the right colour to build a scheme around. There’s a lot of science around this but let’s keep it simple.
Just 5 things to bear in mind.
Decorate with your heart. Always start with a colour you love. You’ll know what you like, it’s usually something you gravitate towards for clothes, bags, nail varnish, cars….
Don’t be afraid. Don’t be a scared of colour and opt for white / off white every time. Neutrals are great and they have their place, they work well as a backdrop to show off other colours. Greys and beiges (beige is on it’s way back) are also handy to show off stronger colours. Do get a tester sample first though. I once had to repaint a whole hall, landing and stairwell after I was a bit gung-ho with my ‘soft grey’ selection which ended up more like ‘icy blue’….
Choreograph your scheme with the same tone of colour. It doesn’t have to be one colour everywhere. Mix it up a bit. When combining colours (and patterns) throughout rooms and to create a flow in your home choose from similar tones. For example, warm tones all linking together. Blue doesn’t have to be a ‘cool’ colour, there are lots of lovely blues with warm tones in. Generally, we want our homes to feel warm and welcoming so avoid the cooler palettes and get cosy.
How do you want to feel in that room? Stimulated and ready for discussions in the dining room? Reds work well. Soothed and relaxed? soft greens and pastels. Cosy and cossetted? Warm teals with golden hues as an accent are a fab choice for sitting rooms. Colours elicit all sorts of feelings: ‘listen’ to how a colour makes you feel.
Are you about to put your house on the market? Yes? In which case play it safe, and choose mainstream, popular, modest, neutral and keep the colour to your accessories. No: in which case follow your heart and have some fun. I’d always advise you decorate with your heart. Want deep purple in the dining room? Go for it. Coral in the bedroom, lovely. Real homes are for living in, with real lives.
Abigail and Chris Willis launched Willis Bloom in 2018. Interiors fanatics, pattern addicts and champions of real homes for real families. They design glorious fabrics and wallpaper to be loved over the years.