Using Colour When Decorating

Using Colour When Decorating

Inspired Interiors by Robyn Coté is a Sydney based colour consulting and interior decorating service providing expert advice on how to create mood and atmosphere for any space – interior or exterior, residential or commercial. Robyn has given us her 17 Bright Ideas to think about when decorating with colour:

Tonal levels –  If you imagine the world in black and white, you will find a wide variety of greys between white and black. These are tonal levels and you can apply them to any colour to gauge its strength. When planning the colour palette for a room, think about the tonal levels of the colours you are using. In very general terms; the greater the distance between tonal levels, the more dramatic the atmosphere you will create.

Keep the tonal levels of all floor types similar when your flooring changes between tiles, timber and carpet and you want to maintain a feeling of flow throughout the house.

When selecting exterior paint colours; always look at the samples outside in both sunlight and shade.  The amount of UV light substantially changes the way colours appear. In most cases, the colours you select for your exterior will be more concentrated in pigment than those you would be comfortable applying on the interior.

Consider making your Colorbond roof and guttering colours the same to give a finished look to the roof line.

When painting your interior woodwork (skirting boards, architraves, doors, windows etc) any version of white; paint the cornices and ceiling the same colour. This will connect your rooms from top to bottom and help to balance the overall colour scheme.

The right lighting can change a nicely decorated room into a WOW room. Remember that lighting should be layered, just like furnishings. Task lighting, ambient lighting and focal/decorative lighting can all play a part.

Red is a very powerful colour. It can be used in small doses to add warmth to a room or you could paint your whole dining room. Red increases appetite and stimulates conversation – perfect for dinner parties!

Texture is just as important as colour – especially in monochromatic spaces. Think of an all-white room. The only way to give it dimension and visual interest is to vary and layer the textures in that room.

Feature walls – are they in or out? “Old style” feature walls were often dramatic but simple contrasts in paint; like white walls with navy or red in stark juxtaposition. Today’s feature walls tend to be more subtle paint colour variations or the addition of wallpaper or a special paint effect like a metallic in a similar hue.

Did you know that blue is the world’s most popular colour? Did you know that if food is presented to you on a blue plate you are not as likely to see it as appetizing or eat as much? Did you know that blue actually lowers your blood pressure?

Carpet and tiles always look lighter once laid. They can also look different under fluorescent showroom lighting than they do in your own home. Whenever possible, ask to take a sample home to see it in situ before placing the order.

Before you leave the tile showroom, ask to see the grout selections and choose the grout colour that works best with your tiles. That way, you avoid questions, panic or a “fall-back” option when the tiler is on site ready to lay them.

Children’s rooms are notoriously a fun place to decorate and add colour. Just remember that it doesn’t have to be bold on the walls; you can incorporate bolds and brights into bed linen, a floor rug, artwork, bedside lamps and accessories without going overboard on a bold wall colour.

Neutral colours are still extremely popular. However, we have moved away from the caramels, lattes and chocolates that were popular a few years ago to more muted hues. Muted colours, in basic terms; means that they have more grey/black in them. You will see that both cool and warm greys dominate the neutral palettes of today.

Area rugs can be your “art on the floor” or simply be there to add another layer of texture and warmth to the room. Either way they are great to designate a seating or dining space and should be large enough to be anchored by the furniture – at least the front feet of a sofa.

Feeling brave? For a dramatic impact; paint all surfaces from the floor up and over the ceiling a deep, dark colour. Contrary to popular belief that it will visually lower the ceiling height; you will not be able to distinguish where the walls end and the ceiling begins; thereby creating the illusion of a room without boundaries. Think of the possibilities – home theatre, bar, games room, library, mysterious bedroom ….

If you find some ready-made curtains you like but they are a little too short, find a complimentary fabric and simply sew it as a horizontal band along the bottom. Proportionately, one quarter to one third of the full height could be in the new fabric.


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This Post Has 93 Comments

  1. Lots of great ideas!

  2. What great info! Will definately be using some of these ideas in my new reno.

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