Whether or not you are new to interior design, working with colour can feel daunting. Many amateur decorators stick to ‘safe’ neutral shades through fear or lack of confidence, when following a just few simple rules can be the key to creating a stunning new look. Once you learn how powerful colour psychology can be it’s easy to put together a scheme to suit you. Use the basic principles to combat the stresses and strains of everyday life and paint yourself some comfort and solace from the outside world.
A New Hue
Though we all react to colours in different ways, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with some simple colour rules before you embark upon a home decor project. Yes, if the end result is more dreary that dreamy, you can paint over it and start afresh, but if your beautiful calming colour scheme costs a small fortune in paint, the finished room may feel anything but soothing! It is generally accepted that certain colours create a feeling of calm, while others inspire a range of different emotions, from excitement and passion (think reds and vibrant pinks) to happiness and creativity (try yellows and oranges). In creating a calming look, blues, greens and neutrals will be your palette, also pastel shades like lavenders, or soft greys. Try a theme like this in a bedroom or bathroom, or any other space where, after a long hard day at the office, relaxation is key. To get started and gain confidence, try creating a mood board made from magazine cuttings and photographs in colours that soothe you. The chances are that if the colours you’ve picked out look great together on your mood board, they will look fabulous in your home. When you’re ready to paint, use testers to your advantage – you’re not only testing for true colour, but also for the way that light works with your chosen hues. Allow as much space as you can to test colours, leaving room between each so that you can view them independently. It’s important to test on more than one wall so that you can determine how each shade will look in sunshine and in shade, at different times of day, and under different light sources.
Believe in Blue
Among the many shades of blue you will find those that evoke carefree memories and emotions. Think of that moment on your annual summer holiday when you see the captivating colours of the ocean laid out before you, and a sky so blue it could almost have been painted. Stress melts away, and you couldn’t care less about that report you forgot to send before leaving the office. It’s no coincidence that these colours summon up some of the same emotions in our homes, making them ideal for spaces where you spend most of your down time. Blues are also said to promote restful sleep, relieving tension and cooling the mood. Due to the association of blue with the large expanses of the sea and sky, you may also find that a room painted blue gives the impression of space, making it a great colour for smaller rooms.
Dream in Green
With its association with nature, growth and fertility, subtle, balancing greens are a fantastic choice for home decor. Said to promote healing and stress relief, green is often a key colour in the interior designs of medical institutions due to its harmonising influences, and colour therapists believe that green can even help to cure some illnesses. Take your inspiration from the natural world, and observe the way in which different shades of green complement each other. Taking this approach will help you to marry your chosen green with neutral, earthy colours, lavenders or greys; ideal for furniture pieces and accessories.
Know your Neutrals
As background colours, neutral shades need not be ‘safe’, and can create a calming base to which you can add as much or as little colour impact as you wish. Think creams, greys and earth tones, again using nature as your palette. In choosing accessories and furnishings, select similar hues, rather than contrasting colours, so that the eye flows easily around the room.
We all paint different pictures of peace and harmony in our minds. When extending your own picture to your home, think of colour as a magic wand, obey some basic rules then feel free to wave it as you wish.