Decorating: Visual Tricks with Colour

As well as creating an atmosphere with colour, and visually heating or cooling a room, you can use colour, pattern and light to play decorating ‘tricks’ that appear to alter proportions — far less expensive than any structural alteration.


To lower a ceiling :

• Paint it a warm, advancing colour and colour the walls with a cool contrast.

• Colour the floor to match the ceiling, or use the same tonal value for both.

• Team a brilliant white ceiling with dark walls (white ceilings do not always look taller).

• Use a horizontal pattern on the walls, or divide them up with a dado rail and picture rail or frieze.

• Paint the cornice/coving to contrast with the ceiling.

• Tent the ceiling with fabric.

• Tall items of furniture will make a room look lower.


To add height to a low room :

• Paint the ceiling a pale receding colour — sky blue is particularly effective.

• Colour the ceiling a slightly lighter tone than the walls or match it to the background of any wallcovering.

• Use a light-reflecting texture on the ceiling but only if the plasterwork is good.

• Use a bold, vertical treatment on the walls.

• Use the same mini-print pattern over walls and ceiling making sure the pattern is non-directional.

• Furnish the room with low-slung furniture.


Dealing with ceilings and beams :

• To hide beams, girders, slopes and angles, colour them all to match the walls and ceiling; to make these features stand out, treat them in a contrasting colour.


neutral colour scheme to make room appear largerTo make a small room look larger :

• Use pale receding colours and small patterns.

• Avoid too much contrast in colour.

• Use light-reflecting textures on main surfaces.

• Choose a harmonious, neutral or monochromatic colour scheme.

• Use mirrors to reflect light.


To make a large room cosier :

• Use warm, advancing colours and contrasting textures.

• Use bold patterns on the main surfaces.

• Use complementary colours, such as curtains to contrast with walls and furniture that contrasts with the floor.

• Emphasize different features or areas with lighting.


To camouflage ugly features :

• Paint or colour unsightly features the same colour as the background. This is particularly effective with radiators.

• Use receding colours on both the feature and the background.


To enhance attractive features :

• Paint or colour attractive features to contrast with the background, for example use neutral colours against a white background or an advancing colour against a receding one.

• Light features dramatically.


To make a narrow area look wider :

• Paint or paper end walls in a bold, advancing colour or with a strong pattern.

• Dress a window in an end wall with floor-to- ceiling/wall-to-wall curtains in a companion fabric to the wall treatment.

• Put a well-lit, eye-catching piece of art or group of pictures on an end wall.

• Paint or paper both long walls in a cool, receding colour.

• Hang mirrors on one of the long walls.

• Make the floor seem wider with width-wise stripes or a chequerboard effect, and paint the skirting to match the floor.


To make a box room less square :

• Create a focal point in the centre of one wall, such as a fireplace, opulent window treatment or bold drapes above a bed to contrast with the surrounding wall.

• Colour one wall in a bold contrast to the other walls.

• Use one wall for built-in furniture, decorated with contrasting panels or beading.

• Create a trompe l’oeil effect on one wall.

13. June 2011 by admin
Categories: Colour Schemes, Decorating, Interior Design | Tags: , | Comments Off on Decorating: Visual Tricks with Colour


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