One of the hardest parts of designing your home interior is always deciding on the colour palette. As an Interior Designer, this is the question we get asked the most – how do you pull together a colour palette that works? So, I thought I’d dedicate this week’s blog to my top tips on how to pull together an interior colour palette that doesn’t feel flat or too cluttered.
Top Tip number one
Don’t mix warm and cool colours
How do you tell the difference you’re asking? Here’s how.
Warm colours are golds, yellow, reds, oranges and cool colours are blues, greens and purples. Simple right? Wrong… Colours carry undertones, so you can have a yellow carrying an undertone of green for example so even though yellow is a warm colour in writing, in practice, with a green undertone it will look cooler in reality.
This is essential to look out for as it can also play havoc in neutral tone colour palettes. If you go for a green undertone in your cream paint, but then you have a warm undertone in your green sofas, the paint colour will make the sofas look extremely yellow rather than pull the scheme together in complimentary tones.
You’ll need to look at lots of colours together to start seeing the undertones in practice and this will prevent you making a design mistake!
Top Tip number two
Consider the natural light
Whilst mixing colours with contrasting undertones is one the biggest mistakes I see, a lack on consideration for natural light in a home interior is probably a close second.
Instead of thinking about the space, the light in the space and what would work specifically for that given room, I often see people just going for colours they like and not thinking about the bigger picture. Of course, you have to have something you like, but if it doesn’t work in the space to give the desired affect then you need to think twice about this approach. Natural light can drastically change how a colour looks.
Consider your light and at different times of the day. Is the room north or south facing? Does the light bounce around the room? Do you have any reflective surfaces that will help it move? Is the room small or large? Rule of thumb, dark colours can make a room look small, they are designed to make a room feel cosy and relaxing. Neutral tones are great in any size room, but then we go back to top tip number one, if you have a south facing room, be careful with warmer undertones as the yellow-ness of sunlight could warm the colours up a little too much!
As you can see in the image, the colour palette in this space has green undertones to the neutral colours in order to compensate for the bright natural lighting streaming in. This colour palette direction is essential in a space like this in order to keep the room warm and inviting.
Top Tip number three
Are you being bold
My last top tip is to consider prints. Are you going for colour, texture and depth or are you wanting to integrate a print or pattern? If you are wanting a print or pattern in the space, start with that as your main source of inspiration and start to layer flat colours on top – you can pick these out of your print or pattern very easily and your scheme will come together on its own.
When you are choosing your print or pattern remember to return to top tips one and two to ensure your pattern is going to work in the space you have before you get carried away pulling the rest of the colour palette together. As you can see in the image, the sofa colour has been pulled directly from the bold patterned wallpaper to ensure it holds a consistent colour palette.
This is how you start to pull a colour palette together that works coherently as a home interior scheme. It can also be useful to shop from the same company, for example, looking at the variations from Little Greene, Farrow and Ball etc and sticking to their suggestions if you get really stuck. The key to picking a colour palette for any home interior is to understand how you want to room to make you feel – do you want to feel happy, relaxed, calm? Different colours can affect our emotions and feeling more than we realise.
If you’re looking for personal interior design advice, get in touch.
Georgina Robertson, Owner, COCO Interior Design
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