We recently had the chance to answer readers questions in the Metro – always fun for us to share our thoughts and ideas and exciting to be asked! One of the questions also reminded us that starting the design and decoration of a room is often the hardest part – deciding what colours you want to use and what colours work with each other.
So…if like me, you haven’t thought about the actual science behind colour in a while, its time to dust off your school knowledge of the colour wheel and take a look at the colours sitting opposite each other, known as complimentary colours, for example blue and orange or pinks and blue greens. Harmonious colours are those colours sitting next to each other on the colour wheel, for example yellow and green.
In order to get a grip on exactly what the colour wheel means for complimentary and harmonious colour schemes, we need to understand what primary, secondary and tertiary colours are. I know its beginning to sound a little too technical but bear with me…
Primary colours are red, blue and yellow and cannot be made by mixing other colours together. By mixing equal amounts of these primary colours in various combinations, you will get orange, purple and green otherwise known as secondary colours. Finally, if you mix primary and secondary colours you will get the tertiary colours of red/orange, blue/green etc. You still with me? The fun part comes in how you choose to mix these in a room and where to start.
Start with one colour, your favourite or the one you think the room will suit, for example blue. You need to decide if you wish to add complimentary colours (colours which sit opposite this colour on the wheel) which make for more dynamic and energetic interior, such as adding orange to a blue room. For a harmonious scheme, choose colours sitting next to each other on the colour wheel, or simply shades and tones of the same colour.
We find too many neutral interiors, not because that is the effect clients are looking for, but because its the safer option. If painting your walls a deep indigo blue or a bright yellow is stopping you from starting to refresh or redesign your room, then start slower by adding colour into accessories that can be changed out as quickly as your mood changes. Cushions, lampshades, throws and art are the least expensive and quickest way to experiment before committing to larger pieces or a wall colour. A moodboard, paint chips and paint samples, images torn from magazines or saved to a Pinterest board are all good places to start feeling out schemes. You will gravitate towards colours that suit you and once you see a pattern you can start building on this. Have some fun, don’t think too much or too seriously about the end result to start, you never know where your design board might take you!