As a house buyer, you may find that the place you’re buying hasn’t been decorated in decades, or was recently given a nice coating of neutral white or beige in an effort to be as neutral as possible. It’s certainly not impossible to add colour to a room, but many find it hard to take the plunge. It can be challenging to know which colours to use, what inspiration to draw from and, most importantly, which room will benefit best.
Use the 80:20 rule
The 80:20 rule is the ratio of plain-to-bold colours you should be using in an interior space. Mix colour with 80% neutrals to add colourful character to a room – this means you don’t overwhelm the space with colour and that 20% really does go a long way. Having neutral furniture also helps: it’ll let the colour really stand out and not detract from its potency. These neutral areas will also “warm up” thanks to the splashes of colour – so everything in the space benefits from careful colouring! How can this be achieved? Throws, pillows, curtains, or an accent wall. This can work for every room, but larger rooms benefit most from this – so living rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms and kitchens. Small changes can make a huge difference!
There’s also the 60:30:10 rule, comprised of: 60% of a dominant colour, 30% of a secondary colour, and 10% of an accent colour. Make a “colour board” and play around with what you think will suit a particular room.
Use a colour wheel
Used mostly in interior and graphic design, you can use a colour wheel to help narrow down your choices for which colours to pair in a room. You can either go complementary – red and green, blue and yellow, on opposite sides of the wheel – or you can choose an analogous scheme, like red and orange, or yellow and green, which are next to each other on the colour wheel.
Keep cool and warm colours separate
Knowing the difference between warm colours (reds, oranges, yellows) and cool colours (blues, greens, greys) and keeping them separated is vital for getting the right ambience for a room. They can be successfully combined, but this is tricky and can easily go wrong. Warm colours are exciting and inspiring, and should be used in the social portions of a house like the living room, dining room and kitchen. Cooler colours are gentle and soothing, and can be very effective for bedrooms and bathrooms (or even a home office) where calmness is needed.
Don’t be afraid to contrast
Contrast doesn’t always have to mean garish. Using light and dark colours together can define lines and enhance the formality of a room – consider a daring contrast in a dining room. And don’t be afraid to live with the colours before you dare to contrast – grab a sample of the colour or material you’re after and give it a few weeks before deciding if you want to commit to colour.