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Interiors Q&A – planning a colour scheme

February 13, 2011

Dear Andrew, we are planning to redecorate in the New Year, what do I need to consider when planning a colour scheme?

A well thought out colour scheme can create a stunning look for your interior and is important to create the mood that you want.  Whether you are looking to create a sooth calming interior or looking for your home to be colourful and edgy the colours picked will have a strong influence on the look you actually achieve.

Calm scheme

Colourful scheme

Buying yourself a Colour wheel will help you plan a scheme.  This has different colours displayed around a circle and shows the relationship between primary colours, secondary colours and complementary colours.  When planning your colour scheme it can be one of three sorts; tonal, harmonious or complementary.

A Tonal scheme focuses on just one colour that is used in different tones in the room.  For an interior that is restful and calming a Harmonious scheme uses colours that are next to, or near each other, on the wheel – for example red, red-range and orange.  A Complementary colour scheme uses colours that are opposite each other on the colour wheel – for example blue and orange.  Using this type of scheme isn’t a safe choice as it is more daring but the results can often be dramatic.

If you are planning a scheme for the whole house remember that the relationship between the rooms should be considered, this is especially true if you have a small home.  If you want a calming interior it will only be achieved if everything flows together from room to room so consider using one base colour and adding accents of different colours in different rooms.

Farrow & Ball Colour book

It is essential that you try out any colours in your home before deciding and remember that the colour charts you pick up at the DIY store are generally not true representations.  There are several paint manufacturers, including Farrow & Ball and Zoffany, who sell colour books with actual painted samples which are great if you have lots of colours to choose.  To be sure you like your choices buy a sample pot and paint yourself a large sample on lining paper.  You can then move it around your room at different times of the day – paint finishes look different in different lights so make sure you are a happy before you get out your paint brushes.

Giving some thought to the colour scheme of your home doesn’t take long but it can really pay dividends and help you achieve the look you want – be it calm, colourful or anything in between.

This Interiors Q&A first appeared in an abridged form in CityAM

7 Comments leave one →
  1. February 14, 2011 6:48 pm

    Great explanation Andrew on the differences between tonal, harmonious and complementary.

    • February 15, 2011 9:04 pm

      Thanks Mary, I thought it would be good to go back to basics so readers can understand about the connection between colours.

  2. February 14, 2011 11:11 pm

    Big follower on this page, a lot of your posts have definitely helped me out. Looking forward to posts!


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