Interior Decorating with Greens, Blues and Violet Colours
Colours on the cooler side of the colour wheel often appear far from cold. Many of them mix easily together and there are fewer strident colours, making them a ‘safe’ choice on which to base a scheme.
Green is the ‘balance’ colour, halfway between the warm and cool colours of the spectrum. It is the colour of nature and guaranteed to suggest ‘landscape’, so is a good choice for a city apartment or dull townhouse. However, green can be very cold, especially if it has blue undertones, but mixes well with contrasting warm colours to ward off the chill.
Pale tints of green will create a very spacious look for small bathrooms and bedrooms, and when green goes towards blue it becomes minty, which is very refreshing in a kitchen.
Dark shades of green are rich and sophisticated: deep malachite or forest green work well with both traditional and modern styles.
Greyed values of green can be very subtle. Sage and olive greens are very elegant, and look good in country-style drawing rooms, classic hallways or modern dining rooms, but, like yellow-greens, need to be well lit to ensure they don’t look gloomy at night.
Blue is the colour of harmony, peace and devotion. It is associated with the sky and wide vistas, and will create an impression of space. But as it is basically a cool colour, use it with care. Blue is fairly low in reflective value, and will diffuse and soften strong sunlight, calming down over-bright rooms. However, clear, bright blue can also be very cheerful, which makes it ideal for children’s rooms, an urban sitting room or a basement kitchen.
The pure values of blue, especially as it starts to go towards green — peacock, turquoise — can be very demanding, so use these in small amounts if the room is small. Lightened to aqua, its freshness works well in bathrooms and kitchens.
The greyed tones and shades of blue can be subtle, but they can also be dull if not lit very carefully. They can look very effective teamed with crisp neutrals — white or cream — or warmed up with contrasting accents of orange, yellow or bright pink.
In its strongest value, a regal purple, this is a vibrant and demanding colour that needs neutral contrasts. It works particularly well with its adjacent colours on the wheel: blue, blue-green and pink-violet.
The pale tints of lilac and lavender are delicate and feminine, giving a romantic feel to a bedroom or bathroom, or a sophisticated look to a sitting room.
Greyed lighter tints give subtle heathers that are changeable in different lights, while the darker shades yield rich plums and aubergines. These work well in period settings, teamed with golds, cream and pale yellow in parlours or dining rooms.