In this third and final instalment of Tips From Our Colour Consultants (you can read Parts 1 and 2 here and here), we’re kicking things off with the decorating misconception that Colour Consultant Michelle Smith most wants to put to rest.
“There’s this myth about a north-facing room being gloomy unless it’s painted in a light colour, but a dark colour in a north-facing room can actually make the space feel bigger,” the Beaconsfield and Henley Colour Consultant explains.
“A warm-toned colour such as Sap Green will help counteract the cooler light this room receives, while a colour with a grey, blue, green or lavender undertone will embrace it.”
No matter which method you opt for, Michelle recommends a single, simple approach to the rest of the room. “The traditional way of painting, with a white cornice and ceiling along with white skirting, really frames and enhances a darker wall colour. With a moodier, greyer wall colour, such as De Nimes, I recommend a creamy warm white like Wimborne White.”
Knowing the direction a room faces – what we call its aspect – is a good shortcut to figuring out what kinds of colours will work best. Another great starting point for choosing a palette is to think about how you’re likely to use the space, as Emily Harrold elaborates.
“When choosing a wall colour, it’s important to think about weight of colour before thinking about pigment,” says the Solihull and Leamington Spa Colour Consultant.
“In a hallway, for example, I will often ask myself if this is a holding space or a transitional one. If it is a space that I want to hold attention, then a deeper colour is more suited. If it’s more of a through space leading onto somewhere else, then a mid to light colour could be more suited.”
Emily’s principle been applied to great effect in these two very different entryways. The first, painted in Strong White and All White, is a bright and breezy transitional space that leads us to explore other corners of the home. In the second, a hallway that doubles as an intimate sitting room and conversation area, the use of deep Studio Green creates more of a destination, inviting visitors to linger and while away the hours.
Using bold colour to draw the eye and capture the imagination is a favourite method of many Colour Consultants, and it’s not exclusive to grown-up spaces. Caroline Stevens has a few tricks up her sleeve for bringing fun and bright colours to children’s rooms without creating an overstimulating space.
“If your child loves bright colours and you feel it would be too overpowering on all the walls, try colour blocking instead,” suggests the St Albans Colour Consultant. “Why not use a soft complementary neutral on the walls and paint different shapes in the bolder colours? Triangles look great, as do clouds and mountains.
“Another simple but effective compromise is to halve the room, painting the lower in one colour and the top in another. No need for a dado rail, masking tape will do! And make sure you take the colour across the back of the door too.”
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