Choosing Room Colours


One of the most important things to consider when choosing your room colour is which direction your room is facing because if you are south-facing, if you choose yellows and oranges and reds, warm colours, it will actually be very warm in the room. The room will feel hotter. If you have a north-facing window and you use blues, greens, cold purples, your room will feel a lot colder.

So, do bear that in mind when choosing wall colours and make sure you're not making a north-facing room feel colder just because you've chosen cold colours.

One tool to help you in considering colours is the colour wheel. Any kind of colour comes from a combination of the three basic colours which are blue, yellow and red. They are basic colours because no two other colours can be blended together to create them. Green and orange are secondary colours because you mix two primary colours together to get that colour.

When we go from the darkest colour down to the lightest colour, these are called colour values. All the tones of that particular purple or blue, as you go down to the lightest, are each values of that colour. If a colour like the purple is mixed with white, that's called a tint. If it's mixed with gray, it's called tone and if it's mixed with black, it's called shade.

In interiors, when using colour, either use them in a monochromatic scheme (all values of the same colour) or a complementary scheme (which is having a red with green or having a blue with an orange, for example). Any colours that are opposite each other on the colour wheel are called complementary colours. Although they appear to clash, they can be used to add a little dash of accent colour, giving real energy.

Colours can advance and recede. A dark colour will advance in on you or close the room in so if you paint a small room all dark, it will feel a lot smaller. If you paint the same room a light colour, it will make the room feel bigger, so it is a receding colour. This is useful to know if you have a very high-ceiling room where you want to visually make it seem a bit lower and in order to do that, you should paint the ceiling area a darker colour to bring the room down. You often see this in restaurants where they want a large room to feel more intimate. Conversely, if you have a very low-ceiling room, keep the ceiling a light colour and it will make it feel much higher. You can also use this receding and advancing technique in a long narrow hallway.

Another colour story that's very important in interiors is the neutrals. You can't really do much without considering the neutrals because even if you have the monochromatic scheme, you will probably have an oak floor or you might have furniture that's wood furniture, so you are automatically bringing in a neutral colour. The neutrals are whites, blacks, grays, beiges and topes. In a monochromatic scheme based on one colour, a good way to do it is to take one of these paint chits from a store and you can see the dark tone and work its way right to the light tone. Bring in an accent colour which is a deeper colour.

Colour is a big subject but the key for interiors is to remember the following things. Which direction is your room facing? Is it a small room or a large room? Just remember working with the values of a colour. Bring cohesiveness into the scheme being sure that the tones of the colour all work together.