“The purest and most thoughtful minds are those that love colour the most,” wrote John Ruskin. Whether you agree with the social thinker or not none of us can deny that colour is an important décor element
COLOUR plays a vital role in your life. It can lift your spirits or dampen your mood so it is important to give it the importance it deserves especially when introducing it in your home. Below are a few tips that will help colour your world.
Do not select a colour for your home only because it is in vogue at the moment. Things that are in today unfortunately may be out tomorrow. You will find yourself saddled with a colour you dislike or are indifferent to once its star has dimmed. Choose your very own colour spectrum regardless of fashion’s diktats. It will never go out–for you!
When using a large expanse of colour, remember that it will always appear darker and stronger than it appeared on a small fabric swatch or colour sample. This is particularly true of paint colours or wallpaper so keep that in mind when selecting your colour scheme.
Most paint manufacturers offer clients small sample pots. Get your contractor to paint a section of the wall and look at it at different times of the day. Colours look completely different in natural and artificial light. The depth of colour will also vary depending on the surface on which it is applied and the amount of light it receives. A good rule of thumb is if in doubt, opt for a lighter shade.
If you have decided to be a little more adventurous in your colour selection with more than one colour on the walls, then it is best not to go in for a contrast. Stick with the same colour but in two different shades, making one either lighter or darker.
Decorators often chose one basic colour which they use in the lightest shade on the ceiling, a slightly darker shade on the walls, and the darkest shade of the family is kept for the woodwork if any. This combination will get you the best possible results as it creates a visual harmony.
The colour continuity you get from using the same flooring throughout your home works well but only if you choose a neutral tone. The inherent advantage here is that while the home looks like one cohesive unit you can use different colours in different rooms so that they have their individual identities.
Try and think outside the box when choosing your colour schemes. Pattern and colour in textiles or ceramics or even in a painting, could form the foundation of the primary colour scheme. You could use the wall colour to tone down the larger palette.
Try and avoid using strong colours on the walls especially in the drawing room and bedrooms. These are the rooms in which you should look to the softer colours of the spectrum like creams, grey-greens, blue-greys and ivories. Passages though often neglected play an important role in your home as they serve to link individual rooms creating an overall look to the house. As they always get a lot of traffic these conduits can carry a darker shade.
If you would like to experiment with using dark colours on your walls, try and restrict their use to rooms that are used after dark. In artificial light they will not seem so overpowering. A trick that many interior designers indulge in to lift the look of a room is to insert one red article in it, no matter how small. This serves as a focal point. While this is a very effective ploy do not use red as the dominating colour in a room as it is a strong, aggressive colour and therefore difficult to live with long term.
And, of course, as colour psychologists insist every colour has a story. Red raises a room’s energy level, it pumps the adrenaline. It is said that in the living or dining room, red draws people together and stimulates conversation. Yellow symbolises sunshine. It is an excellent choice for kitchens, dining rooms and bathrooms. Blue is said to bring down blood pressure and slow respiration and heart rate. Considered calming, relaxing and serene, it is ideal for bedrooms and bathrooms. Green is considered the most restful colour and is suited for almost any room. Purple, in its darkest avatar, is rich, dramatic and sophisticated. It is associated with luxury and creativity. Lighter versions of purple bring the same restful quality as blue does. Orange evokes excitement and enthusiasm, and is an energetic color. While not a good idea for a living room or for bedrooms, this colour is great for an exercise room. Neutrals are basic to the decorator’s colour palette. Their virtue lies in their flexibility. You can add colour to liven things up; subtract it to calm things down. Black is best used in small doses as an accent.
The Vocabulary of Colour
It all began with Sir Isaac Newton. By bending light through a prism, the physicist discovered that the resulting colours formed a spectrum. He then arranged those colours in a circle: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet, returning to red. The colour wheel is the traditional vehicle for representing the colours of the spectrum and their relationship to each other.
Complementary Colours: Colours like red and green, blue and yellow that appear opposite each other on the colour wheel. However when paired with each other, the results are vibrant.
Analogous Colours: Colours like red and orange, green and blue that are next to each other on the colour wheel. Teaming them creates visual harmony in a room.
Saturation: The purity or brightness of a colour. A highly saturated colour is bright and clear, a less saturated colour will appear gray or muted.
Tone: A pure colour that has been modified by the addition of black or white.