Are you struggling to know which colours to use in your home and feeling a bit overwhelmed by the choice available? Here are our tried and tested tips for getting colour right:
Before you do anything, decide what you do and don’t like about your room as it is. It may help to list 5 things you like and 5 things you’re less keen on. Perhaps the room has lovely high ceilings, attractive architectural features, a great view out of the window and lots of natural light in the mornings. It may also have dodgy wallpaper, curtains that have seen better days, a wonky door and an ugly radiator that you can’t afford to replace. This exercise is time well spent because you’ll want to preserve the features you like whilst changing or disguising those you don’t. And you may find that you don’t need to change absolutely everything. Perhaps a rug, new blind or pair of curtains is all that’s required.
It’s important to determine how much natural light a room gets, when it gets it and how the light changes through the day. The same colour fabric or paint will look different from room to room, at different times of day and even in different seasons. As a general rule of thumb (and we’re talking about the Northern Hemisphere here):
North-facing rooms tend to make colours look cooler and harsher and those with a green or grey base can look a bit drab. It’s often a good idea to go strong and dramatic to create a cosy feel but if you prefer a lighter tone, opt for a colour with a warm (i.e. red or yellow) base.
South-facing rooms are full of light for most of the day and pretty much any colour and any tone will work here.
East-facing rooms get the morning light which tends to be on the blue side. It pays to work with this and choose greens or blues or colours with a green or blue base that will look fresh in the morning and warmer in the evening.
West facing rooms get the evening light which tends to be warmer and are more muted in the morning. Warm tones will accentuate the light in the afternoon and the evening sun.
Do you want to create a calm, relaxed space or something more energising? Do you want the room to feel cosy, rich, cool, spacious, elegant or intimate? Any of these can be achieved through the right choice and use of colour. Generally speaking, choosing different tones of the same colour or colours that sit next to each other on the colour wheel (e.g. blue, blue-green and green) will lead to a more relaxing harmonious space. You could choose a pair of curtains in a colour that’s a lighter or darker tone of the wall colour for example. By contrast, choosing colours that sit opposite one another on the colour wheel will create a more dramatic, stimulating space. Don’t overdo the contrast though otherwise it all becomes a bit much. Better to choose one or two accents in the room, so for example, a bright pair of curtains or a dramatic rug in colours that are complementary to those used elsewhere.
It’s likely that you’ll want the colours of adjacent rooms to work with each other rather than clash. By doing this, you’ll create a sense of flow and make your home feel larger and more coherent. To achieve this you may wish to choose different tones of the same colour. If you paint the hall in one colour and the rooms leading off it in a lighter tone of the same colour, those rooms will feel lighter and brighter. Adjacent rooms painted in colours that sit next to each other on the colour wheel also work really well. A designer’s trick to creating an effective sense of flow is to decide on a palette of colours and then weave them in varying degrees throughout a home. So for example, you may wish to choose a pair of curtains for the living room in a colour that echoes a rug in the hall.
It’s essential that you test out paint and fabric colours before making a decision. With paint, you should always buy tester pots, paint a large piece of lining paper or similar in your shortlisted colours and then tape the paper to different walls within a space. Check how it looks at different times of day as well in both natural and artificial light. Similarly with fabric, request samples and tape them to windows. Get a sense of how they both look and feel.
At Stitched, we love helping you to decide on colour schemes and all our sample packs come with a complimentary colour wheel. So what are you waiting for? Take a look at our fabrics now!