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Using colour in your home

Maia Devereux Maia Devereux
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Choosing a colour scheme can be hard. Hours spent with colour wheels, trying to decide what complements what, what contrasts with what; working out what works before throwing up your hands in despair and starting again. What if you cheated—just a little bit—and chose a piece of furniture, or a wall covering, that, like a colour wheel, did most of the work for you? We're talking multi-coloured pieces: furniture, wall or floor coverings that come in a ready-made patchwork of colours which you can use as the colour statement in your room, or as inspiration for decorating the rest of it. A multi-coloured piece will provide you with a ready-made palette for the rest of the room: a sideboard incorporating, say, blues and reds and yellows will naturally suggest blue, red, or yellow cushions and accessories. Alternatively, you could keep the rest of the room neutral, or in a colour block, and use that one piece to do the colour talking for you. One piece: many ideas!

Striking colour wheel

In a French townhouse with an interior by Maguelone Vidal architecture the entry hall features this multi-coloured light-fitting used to stunning effect against a turquoise background. Cleverly, the designers have added one of each colour featured in the light to each room in the house—so there's red in the bathroom, a touch of green in the master closet, yellow in the kitchen, blue in the living room, and purple around the pool. This light fitting, then, serves as a taste of what's to come in the rest of the house: it's a bespoke colour wheel there to greet every guest. 

One rug to make a room

This PXL rug by Colors of Reusing is made from pieces of sample office carpet. From these cast-offs, the designer has created a gorgeous coloured patchwork whose gradations of tone create an almost painterly effect. This is a great example of using one multi-coloured piece to bring an otherwise neutral room to life. 

Rainbow wall

A plain white room, with plain white floors and furniture, brought to vigorous life by a vivid, multi-coloured wall. A colour block, stripes, or a repeating pattern would all have worked, too, but none of those would have that beautiful movement from cool (blue) to warm (orange) that we see here. If you can't decide what colour should predominate in your room, why not have all of them?!

Harlequin pergola

Appropriately named Harlequin, this pergola by French designers Solisystème is a fabulous departure from the whites and neutrals that invariably predominate in awning and pergola design. The multi-coloured panels can be moved along the rails, meaning you can adjust the light on your terrace, or just play with the arrangement of colours. Again, we see a fairly neutral space enormously enlivened by the addition of one major multi-coloured piece. And in this case, the pergola has served as colour-inspiration for the patio furniture, too. We told you this was easy!

Multi-coloured mosaic

Multi-coloured mosaic tiles have long been used to great effect in interior design, especially in kitchens. In this example, Equipe Ceramicos show that a multi-coloured mosaic can be used just as effectively in the bathroom—creating a joyous, vivid strip that's all the more pleasing because it's unexpected. 

Muted patchwork

Multi-coloured never has to mean garish. This shabby chic table by Mixx Mixx has been painted with a mix of white and coloured acrylic glaze, to give a muted yet colourful finish. We see the table has been used as inspiration for the other colours in the room in the red and blue cushions on the chairs. A cool idea would be to build from a muted patchwork centrepiece, through increasing levels of colour saturation, out throughout the room. 

Coloured sideboard

This three-door sideboard by Kwik Designmöbel, handmade from walnut veneer, is an absolute feast for the eyes. Coloured, geometric tiles embedded in the doors tick our multi-coloured box, while the graceful glass feet make the sideboard seem to float. Like a series of paint chips stuck on a wall, but far more beautiful (and useful!) this piece, or one like it, would perfectly serve as colour inspiration for the rest of your decor. 

Have you ever tried using just one multi-coloured piece to drive your own colour scheme? Let us know in the comments!
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