A colour that really pops can add a whole lot of energy to a room. Intense colours fire off the synapses, add interest and visual variety in a way that really changes the way we feel in our environment.
But no one wants a super bright colour scheme that looks tacky, chaotic, heavy or overbearing. We need to feel good in our spaces when we're tired, energised or feeling a bit under the weather. A great colour scheme should both levitate the mind and warm the room. It can be tricky to find a balance that suits our daily needs.
So weather you're building a colour scheme from scratch or considering an ultra bright wall, ornament or piece of furniture, here are a few tips and a kaleidoscope of bright and beautiful rooms to get you inspired.
Begin by choosing your main base colour. Most people are drawn to a particular colour, but if you're worried that it is too strong, you can always work around that by using varying tones throughout the room.
Think about what mood you want to create in the room. A warm, golden colour scheme in a hallway or entrance area will make people feel welcome, a kitchen area with splashes of zesty oranges will give you verve in the morning and a bathroom bathed in cool aqua blues and greens will induce feelings of tranquillity. But you can also do something completely individual as long as you build on the base with some kind of harmonious, complementary or tonal rhythm. See how this living room has white as a great base for the hyper colourful scheme. The greens in the curtains, table, sofa and pillows are a secondary colour that create verve without overpowering the room.
The 60/30/10 rule is surprisingly easy to implement and a great way to navigate through the process of choosing your colour scheme. The 60% is your main colour that anchors your space. It's often the colour covering the walls and large pieces of furniture. In this beautiful room, the anchor colour is the beige tones of the floors, walls and main sofa.
The 30% colour uses about half as much colour space. This colour might occur in the curtains or a large rug. The idea is that this colour complements the main colour, but is different enough to set it apart. Here, the secondary colour is in the lovely greens of the painting, the wall and greenery outside the windows.
The final 10% of your colour is where you can really go to town. This is where you bring on the fun, intense colours and accents that dazzle like the yellow settee here. This colour can be chosen from a small detail in any of the other furnishings, like a pattern in the cushions or a detail in an artwork or vase.
By following this rule, there will be a harmony to your colour scheme.
If you really want to make a bold statement with your colour scheme, create some bold contrasts. Contrasting colours, also known as complementary colours, are those that are opposite on the colour wheel. Putting these two colours together will add a real zing to your colour scheme.
See here how the highly saturated red in this beautiful kitchen contrasts beautifully with the intense greenery of the garden scene outside. The green garden counterbalances the energy of the super bright kitchen while also offering a more calming energy.
This gorgeous fluorescent yellow bed by Catherine Lansfield Home would certainly get us to jump out of bed in the morning. But while the super intense yellow might be energising to some, others might find it a bit too much. There are general colour rules and schemes that most decorators agree on, but we're all individual and it can take time to really get a feel for how colours affect us.
So get some sample pots, paint your colours on separate pieces of paper, stick them up on the wall and leave them there for a few days. Move them around from room to room over several days until you've found the perfect combination that feels right.
Interior Designer John Saladino famously said, ’in choosing colour follow nature's lead’. That's because nature has done all the work for you. For colour inspiration, walk around your garden and see how the natural foliage has its own, perfectly balanced colour scheme. A strong base colour of earthy tones usually has a complementary colour for its foliage and strong accents in the florals.
Subtle colours can have a huge impact like the cool apple green of this floor. This colour really works to unify the room and bring the various pieces together. Consider repeating and building on the same colour variation through the furnishings and accents.
To finish up our colourful tour, we come to black, one of the most underestimated and powerful values at your disposal.
Black is mysterious, elegant, formal and it contrasts with every other colour around. But with the latest trend to make our homes brighter and lighter, it often gets overlooked.
Black needs to be carefully moderated because it just sucks up all the light in the room, but with careful use it can make a great base colour. Look at how designer Mauricio Arruda has used black sparingly to great effect in the border of this bedroom.
For more colour inspiration, check out this Ideabook Multi-coloured magic