Deciding on a Colour Scheme

Putting together a colour scheme can sometimes be a quick decision, and at other times it can be very confusing.  There are a lot of colour options to choose from and if you do not have a clear idea of the look you are after you can certainly go round in circles for days.  Here is the process that I would go through as a designer to come up with a final product.

1. START WITH A CONCEPT

This is so easy to do these days with Pintrest, search through the site until you find a picture you just love (you don’t have to like everything in the picture but you must love the overall effect or the feeling you get) and keep this as your concept picture.  Pintrest is great for putting together a concept or mood board, so have fun with it.  However you can achieve the same result by having just one picture as your concept so you don’t need to spend hours and hours on mood boards when one picture will do (unless you love doing mood boards!).

Now this look you have chosen for your interior can be quite neutral (see the photo below), it could have pops of colour or it can be super bold.  I honestly do not have a preference as I feel you can achieve amazing results with any of these options, so the choice is yours, but be warned… once you have decided on a concept Stick To It.  That is possibly the most important piece of advice I can give, jumping around and changing halfway through becomes confusing and the end result will not have the same an impact because it will just be a mismatch of different ideas.

PICTURE REFERENCE:  RESTORATION HARDWARE

2. FLOORS AND WALLS

I have grouped these 2 design elements together because I do not think it is wise to choose one without the other.  You might fall in love with a a wall colour from your Pintrest pic and start to paint only to realize is it just not working with the floor.  A designer or decorator would by now have pulled out their paint fandeck and say “I just love this colour, look how well it goes with your floor” but if you do not have such a fan deck this becomes a little more challenging.  If you have a sample of the floor then this would be ideal  (if not maybe take a photo of your existing floor), and together with your concept picture, you can go visit your nearest paint store.   Here you would find a host of swatches and you can start pulling out those that best reflect what is in the concept picture and compare them against your floor sample or photo.  Once you have narrowed your options down you will want to get some paint samples (I would get of my 3 favourite options, even if you have to pay for them it is well worth it).

Now, I have been assuming your wall colour is going to be a neutral, and this is definitely the way to go if you are not wanting to be too bold.  This is always a wise choice because it is so easy to build from a neatural using feature colour and pattern in the scatters, rugs, curtains etc.  I should probably mention that I consider grey to be a neautral as I find that it works with any feature colour and is easy to build from, it also gives the room a modern look.

But perhaps you are wanting something more exciting for this room and want a feature colour on the walls.  This is a very brave direction to go in but can yeild the most amazing results.  The colour choice now becomes incredibly important as it is going to be the most prominent element int he room and I can offer this bit of advice that has served me well over the years: I personally do not like colours that are too bright or too primary/ secondary in colour.  I prefer are what I call “dirty colours” which are basically more muted and end up looking more classy.   These dirty colours are a mix of many tones, they are the colours that keep your mind searching to put a name to it, and you eventually end up deciding it is a “greyish greenish blue”.  These colours make me happy because they are more complicated, more interesting and usually warmer and more welcoming.

For instance, instead of using bright pink for a girls bedroom, perhaps try a “dusty blush” on the walls, and start playing with other colours from there.

PICTURE REFERENCE:  FAB MOOD

3. WORK WITH SAMPLES

By now you should have come home with some paint samples.  To see if you were successful with your paint colour selection start by painting a large square on some of the walls in the space (50 x 50cm is fine).  Make sure you paint the sample(s) on a wall that receives a lot of natural light as well as a wall in shadow.  I do this on absolutely every project as light plays a huge role in how we see colour, and it will look different throughout the day as the light changes within the room.  So keep looking at the samples and make sure you are happy.

Once you are set on your wall colour take that swatch (or paint the colour from the tin onto a small piece of card), take your piece of flooring and put them together on your table or stick them onto a board.    You can even paint a piece of card white and add this to the samples to represent white furniture or the white painted ceiling.  Add in your concept picture, and any pictures you are considering of furniture items or plain inspiration. You are now creating your sample board and you can build from here.

PICTURE REFERENCE:  DEARDESIGNER.CO.UK

4. START TO LAYER

Adding as many samples together as you can will give you a real idea of the effect you are achieving, and it is at this stage that you can start removing and replacing those colours and finishes that don’t quite work.  If you are using blinds or shutters see if you can get a sample piece from the supplier and add this to your samples.  If you are using curtains, try get a cutting of the fabric and add this as well, the same goes for a wallpaper you want to use.  Do this for the couch or headboard fabric.  It also helps if you can take a photo of your sample board to the different fabric houses and furniture shops to help make the right colour choice.

The tones in the furniture items also form part of the colour palette, this could be the colour of the wood or the type of metal in the legs of a coffee table.  Add in a picture of the pendant light you want to use.  Start to get a visual of how all the different elements are going to work in the room.

PICTURE REFERENCE:  EVERMOTION.ORG

5. ACCESSORIZE

The final step is to consider the accessories, this is the final stage but it is important because these items pull the room together. I recently posted a blog on how to set out vases and accessories to finish off a room, which you can also refer to.  Of course scatter cushions can be purchased from various décor stores or they can be made up to to suit the room (Note: where possible I would spend a bit more and opt for feather scatter inners, they make a big difference).  Keep going back to your original concept image to make sure that your choices are on track with the look you have been trying to achieve.  Artwork is also an important consideration as it must fit or compliment the colours already chosen.  I usually send a photo of the sample board to an artist I work with and she creates the most amazing artwork for that space. The accessories do not have to match the colours already in the room, you can layer tones and finishes to create more interest, just ensure they complement what has already been achieved in the space.

PICTURE REFERENCE: ADORE MAGAZINE

I hope this helps you with your schemes, please visit www.jossi.co.za for more ideas or to browse our online store.