Recently I’ve noticed my customers becoming braver with their colour choices and Interior designers are also getting bolder with their requests. I’m being asked more and more, “How can I best use colour in my home?”
I’m not a colour expert, but I am an absolute colour and pattern lover, so I wanted to share some tips on how to use colour in your home and let you know what steers my thinking.
1. Use colour trends and inspiration to guide you
When I see new colour combinations together I feel a tingling of excitement and I research them to see how they’ve been used before. There's probably a dozen rules on the do’s and don’ts of colour usage, but I prefer to just go with what I feel works. I love this quote from Lori Sawaya, a colour strategist, and it seems to back up my thinking!
“There is no colour policy and you cannot get it wrong. You are allowed to blaze the path of your own colourful journey” - Lori Sawaya.
If you love bold colors, there’s no reason to be afraid of using them. There’s no getting around it, bold colors are in – and they look like they’re here to stay. That said, I’m fully aware that bolder shades can be intimidating to handle when it comes to putting home interior ideas together.
A good place to start is by looking at the trends around you. These can come from anywhere, from Fashion and Home Decor, to what’s on TV. Subconsciously we breathe in these trends and move along with them naturally, as they are presented to us in our worlds. If you start becoming more aware of the colours that appear, you can start to decide what you like and what you don’t and more importantly how certain colours make you feel.
These feelings can then be translated into your interior projects. If you feel calm by the site of certain colour combinations you might want to include them in an area where you spend your downtime, equally if you feel an excitement you might want to use these colours in an area where you entertain.
I love to follow fashion trends and use these in my prints, but I wouldn’t say I always follow colour trends. When it comes to colour, I can be inspired by beautiful flowers in bloom and be blown away by the endless colour combinations in nature, more than the trends I see.
As I start to absorb new colour combinations, they end up being translated into my prints.
Trends are helpful as a guide, but you don’t have to follow them. Take your inspiration from our natural world too, it offers us so much.
However, if you feel like you just don’t get inspired in this way, Pantone is another great place to start. The Pantone Colour System is the most important colour matching system in the world. The system originated in 1963 to solve the problem of complicated colour matching in the printing industry. Every colour, in every tone and tint, was given a number to classify it. Pantone literally wrote the book on colour matching.
Each year they pick a colour of the year that will influence trends and designs. This year the colour trend for 2020 is classic blue, a striking and bold colour. I have a Pinterest board showcasing this colour and how it could be used in your home interiors.
If you haven’t used it yet, Pinterest is a great place to find colour inspiration and how to style your home with this colour and any other colours you’re attracted to. You can also use it to discover what home decor colours are trending and for interior decorating tips, it’s definitely worth a look.
2. Use colour with confidence in your home interiors
As I’ve got older, I’ve become much more confident with colour. Now more than ever I don’t worry so much about what goes with what. If you accept it doesn’t have to be perfect, you can become quite free with how you put colours together. I do love colour coordination, but lately I’ve been loving more of a colour clash.
It adds excitement rather than predictability. My intuition has become stronger and I feel that almost any colour combination goes and really it’s about changing your perspective. I’m finding that colour combinations I was unsure of last week or last month, suddenly feel good together, sometimes I think you just have to wait a little while before your brain accepts them.
A good way of trying colour combinations is to get hold of some fabric and wallpaper swatches and put them together on the side somewhere in the room you’re thinking about redecorating. Leave them for a week or so and then see how you feel about them as you begin to live with them. You can fall in love with colours you never dreamed you’d look at, they just need a little time to come together in your mind.
In the words of the fabulous sculptor Chihuly ‘I never met a colour I didn’t like.’
3. Find your colour connection and colour scheme
I do count myself as a maximalist. This means more of everything; more of your favourite colours, fabrics and accessories. I completely believe that more is definitely more, but I like to do it in a minimal way, if that makes sense? A minimal maximalist!
I love an explosion of colour and pattern, but done in a certain way. I’ll mix certain clashing colours together, but I’ll anchor them with monochromes or a neutral, so it doesn’t become too overwhelming.
Throughout my home, I’ll try and have a colour connection. To do this I take one or two colours from one room through to the next and evolve the colour palette. The connection might come from the wallpaper on the wall in one room, to a lampshade in the next room. Or from a cabinet in one, to a cushion in the next.
The connection of colour from room to room, is often made through my prints and to me they all just go together, whether they coordinate or clash.
The important thing is not to think about it too much. Move things around and try them out for a few days and see how you feel. Nothing has to be permanent or perfect, treat it as a fun activity and see if anyone in the household notices!
4. Mix and match colours and patterns
I’m essentially a little impatient and can get bored easily, so I normally go for plain walls as a backdrop and mix in a few wallpapered patterned walls, that can then be changed quite easily. They are not statement walls as such, but walls used as an addition to highlight a colour in the room. This is more of a softer approach; it could be the wall behind the door or the alcoves besides the fireplace rather than the chimney stack itself. I find taking the less obvious route, adds an element of surprise and I’m less likely to get bored of the colour or pattern.
It also means that you can accessorize with more colours and patterns as the room is not overwhelmed by a statement wall.
5. Don’t be afraid to experiment with textures
Another important aspect for me is texture, which goes hand in hand with colour. As much as I love to mix up colours, I also love mixing textures. Luxe home interiors is a big part of my brand and texture plays an important role in this.
For me it’s really important for a home to feel tactile. I often mix velvets with satin, with wool and I can’t resist a coloured sheepskin thrown in for good measure. These all add to the mix of colour and give a home depth and interest.
Once you’ve worked on your colour scheme, try and take a step further and think about the textures each colour could come in and what kind of feel you want to create in each room of your home. I personally love a luxe homely feel, but I like it to feel light and airy at the same time. Again Pinterest is a great place to have a look for inspiration. When pinning to your board, start by pinning any images that you like and then you can narrow it down and really hone in on the style you’re after. I always surprise myself, as quite often I’ll start with what I think I want and then after filtering through, I find out that I actually want something quite different. Give it a go!
Like most things in life, the use of colour, whether it’s in your home or what you wear, is all about confidence. I know that opening yourself up to your own intuition about how different colours make you feel can be difficult. It’s a little like asking me to cook something without following a recipe! But once you start experimenting you’ll find your confidence building and that your vision will start to flow. Once it does there’s no looking back and you'll know how to best colour your home.
“I found I could say things with colour and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for.” Georgia O’Keefe
Please get in touch if you would like to discuss my fabrics, wallpaper or homewares for your beautiful home interiors projects.