When choosing fabrics and styles for your soft furnishings, there are all kinds of things to consider – one of the most important is colour.
We have all learned the hard way about which colours we DON’T like, haven’t we? Whilst a colour mistake in your wardrobe can be painful (and costly) enough, making that kind of mistake with bespoke soft furnishings can leave you feeling very sick indeed! Just as with personal style, what looks amazing and gorgeous in your friend’s home won’t necessarily be right for you, after all. So, how do you get it right?
In this post, I’m going to cover some of the common colour conundrums we have encountered over the last 25 years.
Choose colours you like
I know! this seems obvious, yet so many times we find we are guided by the market, the latest colour trend and what others want us to have. Think carefully. How does this colour make you FEEL? It may be ‘neutral’, ‘go with everything’ or ‘bang on trend’, but if cream, beige or green don’t please you, avoid at all costs! If you’re passionate about rich, deep turquoise or luscious ruby red, make sure you bring some into the scheme! We can make ANY colour work for your home, we just need to find the best version of that colour and use it in the right amounts.
Choose colours your room likes
When considering colour for your home, don’t think of a colour in it’s purest hue, consider instead shades, tints, tones and other subtle variations of that colour.
Tint, Shade and Tone Explained
If you take a pure hue and add white, you will produce a TINT
If you add black, you will arrive at a SHADE
If you add a combination of white and black, i.e. grey, the result will be a TONE
Colour, used correctly, can be very powerful and can dictate the mood or ‘feel’ of the room. Here are some ‘general’ rules – but please, don’t be tied to them, they are commonly accepted guidelines rather than commandments set in stone! How a colour makes you feel is always more important.
Warm up North or East facing rooms with inviting and cosy shades of yellow, orange, or red
Cool down South and West facing rooms, with refreshing and calming tints of blue, green and purple
Visually enlarge smaller spaces with lighter tints
Visually reduce larger spaces with darker shades
Remember, neutrals like grey, beige, brown, navy, and cream can also be ‘warmed’ with the addition of yellow or ‘cooled’ with a touch of blue to fit the mood your looking for
Balance your scheme
As referred to above, colour can be a powerful thing. The way to pull of a great colour scheme is to ensure balance. You may love bright orange but I doubt you would want to live in a room that was entirely orange, would you?
The ‘general rule’ on colour proportion is to aim to have 60% of your main colour (for most that will be a neutral but it doesn’t have to be), 30% in your secondary colour and just 10% in your chosen accent colour. HOWEVER, this is, in my opinion too simplistic for some and that brings me on to personality…
Give your scheme personality
There is a tendency, especially in the UK, for people to ‘play safe’ with colour. The majority will favour tonal schemes of no more than 3 colours. For these people, I often suggest using more unusual (perhaps seasonal) colours as accents (perhaps as cushions or just trimmings on curtains and blinds for example). Those who are confident with colour often choose more than one accent colour and generally bolder schemes. It’s important that your home reflects your personality, so in all things interiors but especially colour, choose what you love; what makes your happy or calm…what makes you feel at home.
Inspiration for your Scheme
Probably the easiest way to build your colour scheme is to decide on a fabric or a wallpaper you like and pick out colours from the design to use elsewhere in the room. Paint can be mixed to match/blend perfectly and a few sheets of white card and some match pots will ensure you get it right first time.
There are also plenty of online tools and resources you can use. I particularly like:
http://www.colourlovers.com Browse thousands of original colour schemes and patterns or create your own. It’s like a digital colour board!
Pick the colours of your existing scheme you wish to keep and then experiment with other colours and see just how the whole scheme would work together. The programme automatically suggests colours for you, so you don’t have to be an interior designer to come up with a really good scheme quickly and easily. Much faster than putting together a mood or colour board and you can save a copy of your scheme(s) as you go.
You can also experiment with using your chosen scheme in any of the hundreds of patterns on the site – or with a little practice create a pattern of your own – a great way to see how the proportions of colours will work together.
For ready made colour schemes taken from nature and the world around us, try the Design Seeds Blog
Jessica’s blog is a feast for the eyes and I frequently find inspiration there! You may even find me sharing her posts on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest too!
I’d love to read your comments, questions and suggestions for future blog posts below.
Bye for now,