How to Use Colour

Colour psychology and use is an art (and a science), and as a designer I am constantly refining and expanding my colour repertoire. Colour preferences differ widely… some people like red, others chartreuse or cobalt blue, other people prefer black and white. Whatever the colours, there are several key ways I ensure colour sings and is harmonious in a room (and throughout your home).

Limit colours to 3 in a room (4 at a pinch)

Be disciplined. Limiting the number of colours you use creates harmony, spaciousness – and is restful. It also allows your chosen colours to sing.

In this home, I used sludgy green, mustard and tumeric, peppering them throughout the living areas to create cohesion and a sophisticated colour palette. (See more of this home in my website gallery.)

Repeat, repeat, repeat

Once you select a colour for your room, use it in at least 3 places in different degrees of scale. You might, for instance, have a turquoise occasional chair in the corner; a patterned cushion which includes turquoise on the couch opposite; and a vase in turquoise on the sideboard.

Above, shows a design board for a client’s kitchen/dining area. I repeated the use of red, green and a smidgen of yellow through surfaces, furniture and decor.

Repeat room to room

Pepper at least one (preferably more) of your chosen colours throughout your home. This creates overall interior cohesion and flow – thus design flair. That’s not to say each room has to be navy and mustard if you select these colours for your living area. But you could use navy on the walls of a media room, then have a navy modular settee in the adjacent family room, and a patterned rug featuring navy in the entranceway.

In this home, the hallway wallpaper was the hero, with these colours used throughout the home. (See more of this home in my website gallery.)

Use colour contrast

Ensure your colour combo includes both cool and warm colours. This creates a designer look and better feel within a room. If a room includes too many cool tones of blues and greys (for instance) it may feel cold and it will certainly feel bland. Warm it up with perhaps a camel throw or some pink flowers in a vase – you’ll notice the difference instantly!

In this bedroom, I used a soft golden hue to warm up the bluey-greens – all the more important given the bedroom faces the south (cold) side of the home.

Select colours that work well together

There are many colour combinations that work well together. My next blog will provide you with considered colour combinations that you can use together in your home.