HOME INTERIOR DESIGN
LIVING WITH COLOUR
Every building has its own character. When you buy a new property or take a step back from your current one and consider changing it, you give yourself the opportunity to develop that character in a way that will suit you own requirements.
When it is decorated with sensitivity and confidence, the natural features of any home are enhanced, giving full expression to the taste and personality of the owner.
Choosing the right colours is the single most important decision you will make when designing any room scheme, and getting it wrong can be a costly mistake. There are thousands of different colours to choose from, so choosing right ones that will combine well and look stunning in your home can seem a duanting task.
Fortunately there is some science to what will and won't work when it comes to choosing and combining colour.
There are also set rules that interior designers apply when they are deciding which colour combinations to use and, with our colour guide, you'll soon be combining different tones and shades with all the confidence and flair of the professionals.
THE PROPERTIES OF COLOUR
See our range of red curtains.
See our range of Green Curtains.
See our range of Brown Curtains.
Looking at Colour
Amazingly, the human eye can see the difference between around seven million colours, but most of us tend to opt for shades that we feel safe and comfortable with as we don't have the confidence to choose more unusual ones. When we perceive different colours, what we are really seeing is light reflected back to our eyes in different wavelengths from the variety of surfaces around us.
Use our colour wheel to help you create beautiful balanced schemes or exciting new colour combinations. Experimenting with coloured pens or crayons is also an easy way of exploring the relationship of different colours to each other and discovering which combinations you like. But before you decide which colours to go for, its useful to understand the properties of colour and what affects it has on mood and atmosphere.
How Colour Affects Us
Using colour is a two-way process. We use it to express our personalities, and to reveal preferences and tastes. At the same, time the colours we live with directly influence the way we feel, the efficiency with which we work and the extent to which we are able to relax. Colour can play a major part in our overall state of wellbeing. Colours can have a very powerful effect on the way we feel and this is something we need to consider carefully when decorating. Colour can alter the way a room looks or create a certain mood, so as well as choosing colours that you like you should also think about how to put them together in a way that is pleasing to the eye. Some colours are more suitable to the function of certain rooms - a soothing blue for the bedroom or a bright yellow in the kitchen, for example - but be aware when you are choosing colours that certain tones can alter the feeling or mood you ar etrying to create. So whether you want to create a dramatic living room or a subdued bedroom, knowing how to combine different shades of colour within a colour spectrum that is almost infinitely expandable will enable you to create genuinely personal colour schemes with confidence, individuality and flair. Remember that the many tones of any given colour can achieve quite varied effects. For each colour, there are thousands of varieties on the market in the form of paint, wallpaper and soft furnishing fabrics. In order to achieve the look you want, you need to pay close attention to the shades of colour you select.
Colour and Space
Colour can significantly alter the sense of space in a room, almost creating an optical illusion. Using colour creatively can make it possible to alter a room's appearance, highlight its good features, or skilfully camouflage any blemishes. An illusion's success depends on the effects that 'advancing' and 'receding' colours have on rooms.
Dark shades will make a large room seem smaller. As a general rule, dark, warm colours based on the orange/red/yellow area of the colour wheel tend to 'advance', making large rooms appear smaller or more cosy.
Light, neutral colours have the opposite effect and will increase the sense of space in a small room. Cool tones based on the violet/blue/green section of the colour wheel, 'recede', opening up the area increasing the feeling of spaciousness, so are ideal for smaller rooms.
So by choosing to decorate a room with a dark or light colour tone, you will immediately create a particular effect. Before making your choice consider the purpose of the room you are decorating. Is this a space where you wish to create a quiet, introspective atmosphereor one that is more stimulating and lively, appropriate for entertaining.
If you stick to using warm colours in north-facing rooms, which tend to receive little or no direct sunlight, and Cool colours for south facing-rooms, which usually get lots of light, you are likely to get good results.
In contemporary homes, many rooms are used for more than one purpose. If you are decorating a bedroom for example, is the room also going to function as a play area for a child, or a study area for a teenager?
Colour and Light
Because colour is light, changes in light bring about immediate changes in the colour of any object or surface. Conversely, the atmosphere of a room can be altered dramatically by the introduction of a new colour because that colour will alter the quality of light in the room. In creating a successful scheme in any room, it is essential to bear the intimate relationship between colour and light in mind. Which way does the room face? How much sunlight does it receive, an at what time of day? When is the room most likely to be used? To what extent does the quality of natural light in the room change from season to season? When illuminated by artificial light, how does the interplay between light and colour alter? And how do you, as the architect of the room, wish it to alter?
Light alone can transform a room without any other changes being necessary. It can make spaces seem larger or smaller, more functional or more intimate. By making the most of natural light, and by using artificial light not only for illumination but also for particular effect, you can make the same living space extraordinarily versatile. I you use your kitchen as a dining room, for example, you will need to consider how you can explore the many different ways of using light to change the mood of the room at different times of day.
Colour and Contrast
Because of the interplay of colour and light, contrasting textures can create many pleasingly subtle effects when you are working either with the same colour or with different ones. Contrasts such as rough-smooth, pointed-blunt, light-dark, hard-soft, heavy-light can all enrich the colour treatment of an interior space.
'Natural' is the term used to describe any colour in which white has been used as a tint to dilute the impact of that colour. The natural colours most often used in interior design are grey-based or brown-based. The notion of a natural red or a natural blue sounds contradictory, but if these or any other colours are predominantly white, then they can be regarded as natural too. See our range of natural curtain fabrics.
The Function of Naturals
In many ways, naturals are the designer's best friend. Used exclusively, they create a restful, calm and undemanding ambience. As a base colour on floors, walls and ceilings, they provide a foil for the impact of more dramatic soft furnishing fabrics. Naturals can also be combined with stronger colours such as reds and oranges in patterned rugs and carpets, to bridge the contrast between a solid foreground colour, such as a red sofa, and a neutral base colour, such as dove grey walls.
Natural colours lend a sense of space to small rooms. They can be dreary in basements or north-facing rooms, but wherever there is plenty of natural light, the dominance of white in naturals will enhance that light. Naturals will also be a good choice in any well-lit room where you want an atmosphere of spaciousness, simplicity and calm. They are excellent colours for hallways and corridors, as they will both link and punctuate the overall colour scheme in a home.