Nothing is more effective for transforming a room than changing its colour. A coat of paint, fresh soft furnishings, and your space has a new lease of life.
When you want a change, it’s tempting to run to the store, grab your favourite colours and get painting! But it’s worthwhile taking the time to select your palette first. Colour has the power to reflect your personality and affect the mood of everyone who sees it. While a bad colour scheme can lead to eye-watering results, a good one can look spectacular. Follow these steps for a perfectly coordinated room.
1. Use a colour wheel
A colour wheel is a chart that shows the relationships between all the colours. It’s a great tool for discovering combinations that work beautifully.
How to pick your scheme
Certain colours work in harmony together, achieving a balance that’s pleasing to the eye. Here’s just a few combinations:
Monochrome usually describes black and white, actually it’s a palette made from shades, tones and tints of one colour. This is one of the easiest looks to achieve. Keep it interesting by mixing your shades and tones, and using a variety of textures and patterns in your space.
Analogous colours are neighbours on the wheel. They naturally work well together, because they’re similar, and achieve a harmonious look. Restrict to 2-3 hues so the room won’t look too busy.
Complementary colours are opposite each other on the wheel. Think ‘opposites attract!’ Find unexpected combinations that work well together for a striking but balanced look. Prevent the room being overpowered by choosing one dominant colour and one accent.
A triadic colour scheme is made by choosing three colours equally spaced on the wheel – imagine three points of an equal triangle. This creates a look that can be very flamboyant and interesting but remains harmonious.
If you adore the wheel’s bold hues, but don’t want your room to be too loud, soften your chosen combination with neutrals. These are colours that aren’t on the wheel, such as white, cream and beige. They give the eye a rest, and frame your bold accent so it has extra impact.
2. Use colour to evoke mood
Colour affects the mood of the viewer, and you can use this to your advantage. Ask yourself: what mood do you want to achieve? Will your room be bright and energetic? Dark and inviting? While your favourite colour might not convey the mood you want, it can be exciting to think outside the box and try something new.
Going back to your wheel, a split down the middle gives you warm colours: reds, oranges and yellows, and cold colours: blues, greens and purples. Warm colours are energising, while cold ones evoke a sense of tranquillity.
Make colours work for you
When choosing your scheme, think about the room’s function: is it a place to talk? To relax? And consider its size. Deep, warm colours can make a room look smaller, but the right shade can also make a room feel cosy. Cool colours can make a large room seem sparse and chilly.
Red is a bold colour that promotes conversation and stimulates appetite, so it can be a good choice for a kitchen, dining room or drawing room. Darker, more rustic reds can make a room warm and inviting, while a splash of scarlet in a cool room adds drama and a contemporary edge.
Orange promotes energy and can evoke feelings of warmth and comfort. For a relaxing but sunny living room, choose softer shades of peach or apricot. A vibrant orange is ideal for giving life to a space that doesn’t get much natural light.
Cheerful and uplifting, a creamy shade of yellow can give the illusion of warmth to a drab room. Yellow is perfect for creating a sunny living room, or for perking up a dingy hallway. Studies have found babies cry more in bright yellow rooms, so keep yellows muted in a nursery.
Both calming and uplifting, green is a versatile colour that can work in almost any room. Green gives us a sense of wellbeing because we associate it with nature – it’s a way to bring the outside indoors. Green is effective for opening up a boxy space, and lime accents give a fresh twist to modern interiors.
Blue is a soothing colour that promotes peace and tranquillity. Paler tints will work well in a living room or bathroom. Darker shades can be gloomy though, so balance these with neutrals or a warm accent like orange.
Purple is a relaxing colour that also boosts creativity, making it a great choice for a reading nook or study, while stronger purples like aubergine evoke a sense of drama. Purple is a royal colour, and deep accents in a living room or bedroom can convey luxury and sophistication.
Take the time to choose your scheme with these principles, and you’ve a world of new possibilities for your interior. Discover unusual combinations, play with variations of colour that evoke your personality and promote the mood of your choice. Have you used these to create a colour scheme in your home? Do you have a different method for finding your ideal scheme? Share your images and tips in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!