The Power of Colour; Choosing the perfect palette for your room.

Deciding on the right colour for a room can be a daunting task.  It’s not something to be taken lightly, as it can be costly and time-consuming to correct if you make a mistake. While repainting a room is relatively easy, fixing errors like reupholstering furniture or replacing carpets and window dressings can be more challenging.  However, getting the colour palette right can bring pleasure and enjoyment for years to come.  So, before you embark on your next renovation, here are some tips to consider.

Instead of immediately choosing a colour because it is your favourite, I always recommend stepping back and thinking about the room’s primary function.  Is it a space for relaxation, entertaining guests, exercise, sleep or working?

Colours have an impact on our mood so considering a colour pallet that aligns with the room’s intended function is a good starting point

While the effect of colour can be subjective, influenced by culture, experiences and childhood memories (like my aversion to burn orange, a victim of our parent’s kitchen counter tops!), studies have found some universally common emotional associations with certain colours. For example white is often associated with purity and hygiene, red is often perceived as the colour of love but also associated with danger, while blue is generally seen as calming and dignifying.

Another factor to consider is the size of the room and the lighting conditions.  Do bear in mind that the appearance of a colour changes in different lights. A room will look different in full daylight compared to artificial light and even further variations occur with different levels of artificial light. In smaller rooms or those with limited natural light, lighter colours can help to create a sense of space.   Conversely darker colours can add depth and coziness to both small and larger rooms or rooms with ample natural light.

Applying these general guidelines are a great way to focus the mind, here are some further principles to consider.

To achieve a harmonious scheme use related colours of the same hue, whether from either the cool or warm colour spectrums.  The goals is to create a sense of affinity where the colours coexist pleasingly to the eye.

A contrasting scheme uses colours that are opposite to each other on the colour wheel, such as shades or blue and yellow.  This creates a dissimilar yet complementary effect that adds points of interest to the room.

Warm colours like pink, orange and red are more arousing.  Depending on how you use them the room can have a vibrant and cohesive feel, particularly when used harmoniously.  Alternatively, using them as contrasting accents or pops of colour can add excitement and draws the eye to them.

While a monochromatic approach is where you choose a single colour and use varying hues throughout the room.  The harmonious scheme creates a sense of drama due to the use of tones at the extreme ends of that single spectrum while still remaining visually consistent.

By considering these principles, you can create a colour palette that enhances the ambience and aesthetic of your room.

Briefly other tips to consider are :

-The existing elements in the room, eg flooring, architectural features and furniture

-Visual harmony between spaces.  How does the scheme look against adjacent rooms especially where the floor plan is more open.

-Ceiling heights can also have an impact on your perception of the space and absorption of light

-Test the lighting conditions. Get samples of the various materials you want to use and see how they look at different times of the day and under different lighting conditions.  One common error people make is to look at the material only on a horizontal plane.  For curtains, wallpaper etc where the application is vertical I always recommend taping the sample to the wall as the effect can be quite different.

But above all else remember that choosing a colour palette is a creative process and personal preferences play a significant role.  Trust your instincts and select colours that resonate with you and the overall mood you want to create in the room.