Interior Design: Experimenting in Colour
Experimenting in colour
One needs to experiment with colours. Try, as far as you can, to see how colours will mix and blend. Obtain colour cards of paint colours, get samples of wallpaper and swatches of material to give you some idea of the finished effects of blending colour. Look at the colours in artificial and natural light and appreciate the fact that some colours, in proximity with others, alter in hue. Colours may ‘steal’ from each other.
The aim should be to achieve a modulated blending or a complementary contrast but never discord. The latter can be difficult to live with and may create a cluttered, restless feeling.
Red is a vibrant colour which should be used sparingly. It is suitable for use in such places as hallways, to give a bright, warm, welcoming feeling; in children’s rooms; and in living areas, to highlight focal points.
Orange is another vibrant colour which creates a warm feeling, but it can be over-powering if used extensively-particularly in a small room.
Yellow mixes well with red but needs the contrast of a cool colour. Lemon-yellow contrasts well with greens and blues. Blue is a cold colour and may create an atmosphere of remoteness and chill. Blue and red tend to fight each other although they can, with skill, be used effectively together.
Purple is a rich colour but can be rather overpowering if used too extensively. Used sparingly, it can make a valid contribution to a décor scheme. Shades and tints of purple can make very attractive colour combinations. Black and white, though non-colours, are used as contrast mediums.
Black contrasts well with white, yellow and pale tints. White is a very important ‘colour’. Extremely versatile, it can be used for the main colour scheme with highlights in other colours. Alternatively, it becomes the contrast part of a scheme using colour.
All-white bedrooms are very popular-white walls, ceiling, fitted cupboards, carpet, bedspreads, blinds and so on. Colour may provide highlights in, for example, lampshades, cushions, occasional chair covers, a bedside rug or books on a shelf. To take another example, white used as a ceiling ‘colour’ and for woodwork, doors and window frames provides an effective contrast for carpets, furniture, soft-furnishing and ornaments in other colours, tints or shades.
If you want a restful scheme, you should include such colours as oatmeal, beige, gold, soft greens, browns and cream. More stimulating, but correspondingly less easy to live with, are colours such as orange, blue, purple, red, yellow and pink, contrasted with white or black.
Camouflage of unattractive or obtrusive features can be achieved by the clever use of colour. Grey mixed with any colour will cause that colour to recede. In this way, angular, ugly shapes that tend to intrude visually can be made to recede. A number of doors breaking up a wall area can be made less obtrusive by painting the doors and frame in the same shade as the surrounding wall. If you are using wallpaper, take a non-dominant, receding colour from the paper and paint the doors and frames in this. In this way, the door will blend into the back-ground. Radiators and pipes can also be similarly disguised. Paint them the same colour as the walls behind them.
Shapes within a room that are angular, such as chimney breasts, tend to be less attractive as features than rounded recesses.
To lessen their impact, paint or decorate them with receding colours and use bright focal colours or pastel shades, adjacent to the object, to draw the eye. The converse works if you wish to highlight a particular feature.
Colour can be used to deceive the eye and help to re-dress the balance of badly proportioned rooms. This needs additional planning, but much can be done with colour alone.