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Choosing Perfect Colour Schemes

November 1, 2023

Choosing colour schemes can be one of the most difficult parts of designing your home. Not only is there an endless choice of paints and colours from many brands on the market now, there are also many nuances between different tones and subtle differences within one colour, so much so that the task can feel very daunting and even overwhelming at times.

Colour is a powerful and emotive subject and can transform a room by creating atmosphere and depth. There are so many principles to hand and everyone has their own thoughts on these and which they prefer to work with, but I believe that choosing colour is a very personal expression of ourselves, affected by our emotions and feelings when we are drawn to colour.

The use of colour is transformative in bespoke interior design schemes, and our tastes may change and shift over time. It is therefore human nature to evolve and build colour choices to suit our changing lifestyles throughout our life.

The colours we choose are ultimately statements about who we are and what we love. So, my advice is to always completely ignore trends and choose colours that you love and want to surround yourself with, that resonate with you and make you feel happy, calm, and comfortable . But remember that there are no right or wrong choices, they are simply your choices, so always trust your instincts.

Finding Inspiration

Finding colour inspiration is all around us. Most of us are lucky to carry a mobile phone around so take photos when you see something that inspires you or collect samples to create your own mood board.

The only golden rule I use is the importance to recognize and acknowledge your own favourite colour and tones. If you really love something, you will enjoy living with it for many years, so trust your instincts and do not be afraid of colour.

Colour Palettes
Josephine Munsey Chameleon

Mood & Emotion

It is so important to choose the colours that suit you and your emotional wellbeing, as they have such a huge positive impact on the way we feel and live. It is well known that colour influences and interacts with our emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

There are some recognized colours in the interior design world that are thought to create balance and harmony, for example blues and greens are calming and allow us to connect to nature, and bright yellows boost energy and lift our moods.

However, these are just the basics of colour theory, and there is much more depth to it, which sits outside of these basic principles. Essentially, we are designing our homes for living and each room will be designed for its specific use. We need spaces in which to sleep and rest quietly, to be busy and social such as kitchens, and rooms to sit and socialize in, as well as spaces in which to work. So, while we are considering colours, we should also consider the purpose of these rooms, alongside the subtleness of shades, hues, and tones in colour.

As a client said to me recently, colour and tone is a very personal choice, and one person’s idea of using a strong colour palette can also be another person’s idea of a looming migraine! So true!

So, we arrive full circle back to my earlier comment at the beginning of this article: colour is powerful and emotive and therefore a very personal and evocative choice.

Colour Psychology & Biophilic Design

With so many thoughts and hypothesis on colour theory and colour psychology, it can be very difficult to separate facts from fiction. Many studies contradict each other, and the new thoughts are that we are only beginning to unpick how colour can relate to, and affect, our emotions.

With little scientific evidence to guide us on meaningful colour hypothesis, there are some more instinctive approaches which can be applied. Biophilic colour choice takes a more intuitive approach, based on how the varied colours in nature instinctively make us feel. Using the natural world as our palette, we can try to mimic natural elements that influence our mental and emotional health.

Sky. From the pale skies on the horizon to the vibrant blues on a hot sunny, the sky has a rich spectrum of inspiration. So, consider the reddish-pink glow of a sunset, the grey and white misty shades of an overcast sky, blue hour just before the sun rises, the yellow pinks of dawn and the rich golden hour tones at the end of the day as the sun sets. The sky covers a wide variety of hues.

Sea. The sea has a myriad of subtle colour, blues, greys, and soft greens. We will always be drawn to and respond so positively in its presence and sound. Consider the tones of the sea as heavy rain and thunderstorms roll in, or a grey day when the waves are almost pale white in the distance, or the vibrant shades of almost turquoise blue when the sun is high in the sky, that Mediterranean strong blue we often see, even in the UK on a hot sunny day.

Plants. After blue, green is the most prevalent colour in nature. The intensity of every shade of green as spring arrives, moving to softer tones in summer, and finally fading to dull olives and browns in autumn and winter. There is a huge array of colours in the plant spectrum.

Earth. Earthy colours dominate the natural world, from gentle browns, greys, shades of stone and sand, that present themselves in the natural world in the shape of rocks, pebbles, and soil. Consider the difference in the colour of soil and grass in the hot summer and then again, sodden with rain, in mid winter.

Harris Tweed Roman Blinds

All natural elements have colours of varying intensity, from the softest gentle hints of colour, through to bright or deeply dark hues. The choice of which seasonal colours to consider is a choice we are also drawn to, sitting perfectly alongside the changes in our seasons.

The vibrant colours of spring can fill us with optimism and energy after a long dark winter. Summer colours are slowly fading, and they develop a soft, delicate, and muted hue. Autumn is a season of bold colour, greens, vibrant golds, reds, copper, and rust as the season rushes into its last stages of growth before leaves fall to the ground for another year, and winter arrives with its misty greys and charcoals, alongside the cool whites of a frosty morning.  

My Personal Approach to Colour

Regardless of the colours you are drawn to and which ethos you apply when considering colour choice, there are a few principles I usually work with, which guide my final decisions.

Consider the room size. Lighter colours can make a room feel spacious, while darker colours can create a more intimate space. However, I have also seen dark colours used in small rooms to great affect!

Think about the emotion you wish to ‘feel’ in the space. Warm colours can create a cosy and inviting space, while cooler colours can create a calming and relaxing space.

Don’t be afraid to mix colours and experiment, whether complimentary or by pairing unexpected colour tones together. Experiment with your own personal style!

Look at the light around your home and make subtle changes to the tones and hues of the colours you choose, as the light will change these as you move from room to room. A good example of this is duck egg blue, which can have the most incredible hues in the right light but equally turn to a very cold murky grey in some dull light.

There are no right or wrong decisions in interior design, and it is important to remember to listen to your instinct and consider elements that you are drawn to. And while there may never be considered ‘the perfect colour palette’, there will always be a perfect colour palette for you, which is the most important.

If you would like help with your interiors, we offer a bespoke interior design service and made to measure curtains and roman blinds in Somerset and the surrounding areas. Please get in get in touch if you would like to discuss my services.