A touch of colour

Choosing the right colour palette has the power to transform your
home. A vivid lemon, a calming blue, even a neutral cream can elevate a
space from dull to daring. But with thousands of colours to choose
from, how do you find one that will stand the test of time, yet still
reflect the latest trends?

InsideOut spoke with Rebecca King, interior designer at Woods Furniture and Design, to get an inside look at designing with colour in mind.

Why is colour so important in a home?

Most people are scared of colour. It can transform a room into a comfortable inviting space or it can make a room feel dark and gloomy. Who wants to live in a room with beige carpet, beige sofa, and beige walls? It is important to turn your house into a home by creating spaces that make you happy.

What about trends in colour? How can you keep up with these?

I don’t believe it is necessary to follow the latest trends in colour. You probably don’t want to have to change your home every season to be “on trend”. It’s more important to feel happy and comfortable in your home. The 2012 Pantone Colour of the Year is Tangerine.

While it’s a beautiful colour to bring life into a room, what if you hate orange? The best place to start for design in your home is actually your closet. If you only have blue shirts, linen pants, and black flats, your home should feature your favourite colours–blue and white. If you do this, you will always love your décor. Don’t be afraid to paint your walls blue with a crisp white trim.

How can colour be used to freshen up a home?

Look no further than a few gallons of paint. Paint is such a wonderful way to bring life and colour into a room. Consider painting an accent wall or stripes in a room. Or start with a smaller space, like your powder room. Intense colours look great in a small space.

Have fun with the interior of your closets. Don’t forget about your ceiling, it is also an area to bring in colour. Consider taking 20 per cent of the wall colour’s intensity. Start small then work your way up to, say, painting a room a vibrant peacock blue.

What’s the best way to pick out the right colour and avoid any costly mistakes?

A common mistake people make with paint is choosing it from a tiny paint chip. Narrow your paint chips down to two or three. Then have your paint store mix up a small sample of the colours and paint a 12-inch square on your wall. Make sure you look at the colour at different times of the day. This is the best way to make sure the colour will look good with your existing furnishings.

Besides paint, what are some other ways of adding a splash of colour?

Accessories are your best friends when it comes to decorating. They are an inexpensive and fun way to bring colour and pattern to a room. Consider finding your inspiration from a furniture store.

Find something that grabs your attention. It can be a throw pillow, blanket, fabric or a piece of art. Place two coloured throw pillows on your sofa with a neutral one behind it. Pick up a patterned vase or a beautiful art print. Draw inspirational colours from the artwork. It is bound to have several colours that work together. If you keep your colour palette in your home similar, you can mix and match your accessories throughout each room.

What’s the best colour to choose for rooms that will transition with time?

Many clients have a nursery in their home that they are looking to transition throughout the years. My advice for bedrooms is to keep the wall colour serene and soothing. A dusty blue or a pale green is my go-to colour. If you keep the paint the same for the room, it creates a base where you can transition bedding in and out. For a nursery you can have valances made in a playful pattern.

Once the child gets older, buy a simple wooden or white bed. Take down the child-friendly valances and replace with woven blinds. Buy bold bedding, but keep the bed skirt a simple geometric pattern than can be used once it becomes a guest bedroom.

Use a beautiful white coverlet or quilt to turn it into a gender-neutral guest bedroom. Have drapes made for the room with coordinating shams. One thing I always attempt to have in any room is three patterns.

In order to do this you must have at least three colours to work with. I generally start with a pattern, then select a geometric print. Lastly choose one or two solids to tie it together. This gives you plenty of options for furnishings, draperies, and throw pillows.


Rebecca King Interior Designer, Woods Furniture and Design