Your Colourful Questions Answered: Part 5

Written on 27th January 2022

What shall I do with my tiny dark hallway? 

Ah, the perpetual hallway conundrum! Most homes have relatively narrow hallways and little natural light coming directly into the space, but fear not. There are a couple of options to consider, depending how safe or how bold you are prepared to go.

The first option is to look for colours that have natural warmth, essentially those colours that are red or yellow based. A gentle scheme to follow this principle could be Joa’s White on your walls (I’d recommend the washable and scuff-proof Modern Emulsion here) teamed with paler stablemate Dimity for your woodwork and Pointing on the ceiling.

Option two is to venture into the dark. As hallways are transient spaces that lead to the primary rooms of the house, you rarely spend much fixed time here, so you could consider something bold.

At the mid-dark end, you could consider the elegant Oval Room Blue for your walls. Keep woodwork in a complementary white rather than anything too clean or too sharp – something like Off-White, with its muted greenish notes, and School House White for your ceiling. Or, if you’re feeling really adventurous, switch out the complementary white for a dark colour on your woodwork something like Studio Green will frame the walls beautifully. 

These two principles of dealing with poorly lit or north-facing spaces will apply to any room in your home.

How can we use colour to create a focal point in a room?

If your room has a fireplace, that can often be the focal point, so one option is to paint your chimney breast. Rather than just choosing a random colour, think of the tonality and contrast to the main walls.

For example, if all your walls are in Shaded White then a beautiful yet discreet contrast would be to paint your chimney breast in Hardwick White. If you want something bolder, Card Room Green would give a stronger counterpoint but still be empathetic as it would pull out the green-grey notes in Shaded White.

Another option is to ’frame’ a particular artwork as to increase the scale on the wall. This can be as simple as creating a simple frame around the artwork or applying paint to the wall where the artwork hangs.

Ideas for rooms with lower ceilings?

An easy solution, especially if keeping room light with a gentle neutral or off white, is to take the colour all the way over from walls to ceiling. If you have used a stronger colour on your walls, then paint the ceiling with a complementary white – here are a few useful combinations:

Walls in Setting Plaster | Ceiling in Dimity
Walls in Bone | Ceiling in Lime White
Walls in De Nimes | Ceiling in Shaded White
Walls in Hay | Ceiling in New White
Walls in Purbeck Stone | Ceiling in Ammonite

I’m renovating a new home. How can I choose colours and themes that flow?

The easiest way to achieve this is to choose one of our Neutral Groups as the base for all your rooms – that is, your woodwork and ceiling colour throughout. This could be just one colour or a blend of all four in the group.

Then for each room, you can also bring in colours that sit happily with your chosen Neutral Group. One of our most popular neutral families is the Easy Neutrals. This is the family of Wevet, Ammonite, Cornforth White and Purbeck Stone.

You can use the group in any combination, but they will layer beautifully with the following colours too to create harmony, contrast and flow:

Can I paint a dark room with a dark colour scheme? 

You certainly can, as you are working with the restrictions of the lit environment rather than against them. But if you’re feeling nervous about truly committing, I always recommend starting in a small space such as a downstairs loo or cosy home office.

I recently decorated a small guest bedroom at home which has scant (north-easterly) morning light. I wanted to make the room feel cosy and inviting and flattering to all the furniture, so I chose an archive colour Etruscan Red to decorate the walls.

This does two things. Firstly, it brings warmth and intimacy to the space. Secondly, due to its deep oxblood tone, it ‘absorbs’ all the brown furniture packed into the room.

What’s a calming scheme to use in my bedroom? 

Think of gentle pastel shades to create something easy and restful. Greens are associated with bringing a sense of calm, so they’re always a good starting point. At the more nuanced end, Bone is a perfect neutral with little hints of green, and it would pair beautifully with Wimborne White on the trim and ceiling. French Gray would achieve a similar effect but slightly richer and deeper.

Pink Ground is another lovely choice, and teams wonderfully with Pointing. Last, but by no means least, Light Blue – our most complicated of blues, which drifts from blue to green to grey depending on the light – is a glorious shade for a restful room. It works exquisitely with one of our favourite ‘whites’, Slipper Satin.

What’s Patrick’s favourite colour?

This is so tricky as it changes on a fairly regular basis, but my go-to top five would be:

Related Articles

A Perfect Pairing: Transforming a Dining Room

Read the article

Reaching New Heights with the ELLE DECOR Penthouse

Read the article

Farrow & Ball X Vinterior: Upcycling at its Finest

Read the article

Sharing the Love for Pre-loved: Upcycling Tips From the Experts

Sharing the Love for Pre-loved: Upcycling Tips From the Experts

Read the article