Setting up a room, or an entire house, can be mind-bloggling with a multitude of ideas to choose from. The first post in the newly launched HOME section should be about getting started. How can you make sure these ideas make sense so that you end up with an effective and functional designed space? When we recently moved to our new place, what worked while we decorated our lounge area is sticking to a colour palette of our choice and using the colours as inspiration.
The colour-based approach. My first purchase for the new house was a blank canvas. I used a palette of colours as inspiration. I kept the tones more masculine, if I may say so. I wanted the centrepiece of our lounge area to be a stunning abstract art in acrylic. Red had to be a part of the palette for me, to add warmth to the modern greys. I built the entire room around the painting. Whatever your inspiration is, it needs to reflect your personal style.
Here are some pointers while choosing palette colours to do up an entire room:
Chose a palette that has tones of neutral, a medium colour (blue in this case) and a colour that pops (red). Because the brighter colours need room to breathe, use the 60:30:10 rule (neutral: medium: pop). Other great choices for tones are neutrals with cherry and mint, or wine and light yellow ochre.
- Use neutral #1: For a neutral wall paint color, look to the pattern’s whites and beiges. The light coffee colour brings warmth to the room and breaks away from the grey tones of the lounge.
- Neutral #2: The predominant colour in the room would be this colour. At least 75% of the furniture should match these tones. In our case, this colour is grey.
- The connector: This is a key colour, usually a darker neutral tone. It must make a stunning combination with the medium tone and the neutral #2. I love the use of a dark furniture or frame or lampshade in every room as it grounds and clarifies all the rest of the colors in the room.
- Medium: The larger accent pieces are made of this colour. Our throw, cushions, rug and oriental style vase look stunning in blue.
- Pop: If you are feeling adventurous, you can use the pop colour in a larger space instead of sparingly. For example, take the red and tone it down (say, to burgundy) for a winged chair fabric or large floor cushions. Otherwise, stick to using the pop colour to a limited number of accent pieces.
A real “cookbook” way to make any space look good without much risk, McCauley says, is to use darker color values for the floor, medium color values for the walls and light values for the ceiling.
“Any interior space replicates the outside world,” he says. “The exterior environment is generally darker below our feet (the earth itself), medium-valued as you look straight ahead (buildings/trees) and lighter values skyward.”