The A-Z of Interior Design - C for Colour

Colour is impossible to ignore. Colour is everywhere. 
Whilst creating a colour scheme, how do you know which colours to use and which to leave out? The first thing to do is think of the colours that are closest to your heart. One colour may come to mind, but if you think carefully you will probably come up with a selection. Think about nature and the way vibrant colours surround us – the glorious sunsets, a field of poppies against a blue sky, the pebbles washed up on the shore, and, of course, the brilliant blue-green hues of the sea.


Students' colour studies:

Many people think there are definite rules about colour, but any colours can be put together as long as they have the same tonal value. Toning colours such as a soft blue and a soft green (see example below) can be combined, whereas a soft blue with an acid green would mean the green fights for attention. Generally, three types of colours are used for a successful interior design colour scheme:

Base colours – these are the colours that occupy the widest areas, ie, walls, floor, ceiling. The impact of a colour increases in direct proportion to the expanse it covers.

Foreground colours – these are colours that dominate in the furnishings of a room, ie sofas, tables, chairs etc. They need to harmonise with the base colours.

Accent colours – introduced to enliven the overall colour scheme of a room, through soft furnishings, art work, flowers, etc.


Complementary colours of red and green work well together in this bouquet:

Works of art can be used to inspire colour schemes within interior design.  These beautiful muted colours can translate easily into a room:


Don’t Panic!

If you are really stuck when you think about colour then you can always resort to the traditional method of using a colour wheel. This will give you a text-book guide to the primary colours, (red, blue and yellow), secondary colours (made from primary colours), and tertiary colours (a primary colour mixed with a secondary colour). The wheel (available from art shops) will guide you to which colours go together, just look at the ones which are opposite each other, or side by side, but be careful to always use colours of the same tonal value.


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