So you have heard (more than once I am sure) how changing the colour of your walls is the easiest way to give a room, or your entire home, a facelift.
Sounds easy enough, does it not? If only picking a colour were as simple as playing roulette with the colour wheel and hoping that your gamble will pay off...
Unfortunately, hitting “the jackpot” (freshly spruced home interiors to brag about) is not a game of luck.
Letting your colour preferences guide your choices is good, but allowing them to reign supreme is easily a recipe for disaster; just because you love pink, that is not an excuse to have a house that looks like cotton candy.
Before making any choices, it helps to understand the theory of colour as well as considering the room’s function and architecture.
Let these things, together with your style, dictate what will eventually go to your walls.
The theory of colour
Lest you think that I am taking you back to an art class where words like “mosaic” and “collage” were thrown around and you were often lost in some daytime reverie as the teacher droned on, be assured that only what is relevant to your home décor shall be delved into.
Now, knowing and understanding colour harmony is probably the best information to be armed with if you want to get the most out of colour, and it is definitely a bonus if you plan on involving a design consultant; we do not want to seem ignorant now do we?
Simply put, these harmonies are relationships between colours on the colour wheel and the result of these relationships is a visually appealing interior.
Here are some colour schemes to play with:
Monochromatic — This scheme consists of different tints and shades (light and dark) of a single colour. This scheme is easy to get right and although it may lack visual diversity, its simplicity can be soothing.
Achromatic — This colour scheme contains various shades and tints of whites, blacks, and greys, but no colour. It speaks of simplicity and sophistication and is one of those schemes that you cannot go wrong with.
Analogous — Analogous colours are those that are adjacent to each other on the colour wheel. This scheme, therefore, consists of three colours that share a similar hue, such as yellow, yellow-orange, and orange. They usually work well together and create serene and comfortable designs.
Complementary — Complementary colours lie opposite each other on the colour wheel, like blue and orange, red and green, and purple and yellow.
Complementary colour schemes, especially when in high contrast, create a vibrant look. However, caution must be taken not to overwhelm your space.
Split-analogous — This scheme includes a main colour and the two colours one space away from it on each side of the colour wheel. An example is red, violet, and blue.
Split-complementary — This is a variation of the complementary colour scheme. In addition to the base colour, it uses the two colours adjacent to its complement.
This colour scheme has the same strong visual contrast as the complementary colour scheme, but has less tension.
Triad — This scheme uses colours that are evenly spaced around the colour wheel. They tend to be quite vibrant even if you use pale or unsaturated versions of your hues.
To use a triadic harmony successfully, the colours should be carefully balanced; let one colour dominate and use the other two as accents.
Tetrad — This scheme uses two base colours that are one colour apart on the colour wheel and include their complements, such as red, green, yellow, and purple.
The tetrad colour scheme works best if you let one colour be dominant and ensure a balance between the warm and cool colours in your design.
Warm and cool colour schemes — Warm colour schemes are centred around red hues, make up one half of the colour wheel, and do not include blue at all.
Cool colour schemes, on the other hand, are centred around blue hues, they make up the other half of the colour wheel and do not include red at all.
Most of these schemes can further be explored by adding white or black in the same degree to all the colours.
Working colour into your space
Painting small rooms cool colours to give the illusion of space, and vice-versa for larger rooms, is not the rule of thumb.
Go against the grain where you see fit by making a small room’s architecture intimate with a rich, warm colour scheme and let your big rooms expand with light.
Even with nine colour schemes to work with, make sure that in the end, the colours you pick speak about your personal style; no point in people wowing over something that looks good but you really do not like it.
If you are unsure about how much colour to put where, go with the 60-30-10 rule; divide the colours in the space into components of 60 per cent of a dominant colour, 30 per cent of a secondary colour, and 10 per cent of an accent colour.
The result will be a balanced room. Accentuate architectural details by painting them a lighter variation of the dominant colour in the room.
If the dominant colour is white, then go dark; do not allow beautiful features to blend into the background.