Everything in your home doesn’t have to match. In fact, I believe that spaces are far more interesting and thoughtful when they aren’t overly matching! I love to mix furniture pieces and décor of different styles. But there is one trick to tie it all together – a consistent interior colour palette.
Colour has been linked to emotion and psychology for centuries. It can enhance a feeling of space, affect the mood of your room and how the space makes you feel. Warm colours are often more vibrant and tend to inspire confidence. They are inviting and promote intimacy. Cool colours create a relaxed mood and bring clam to a space. Natural tones can also help achieve a tranquil, peaceful environment.
Your challenge is to match, contrast and reflect colours that inspire the right mood for your home.
Having a consistent colour palette allows you to have a cohesive look throughout your home that flows from room to room. But a consistent colour palette is very different to a ‘monotonous’ colour palette – it shouldn’t be boring. Far from it! Your colour palette (even if it’s just ‘white’) should co-ordinate but utilise different tones and textures to create energy and interest.
MY 7 STEPS TO SELECT A CONSISTENT COLOUR PALETTE THAT INSPIRES YOU
1 I SEEK INSPIRATION
Explore magazines, design blogs and pinterest for colour inspiration. Don’t forget to consider the finishes you already have in your space. Are you drawn to serene, neutral interiors or do contrasting bold colours excite you?
Don’t be frightened to add colour and pattern to your space if that reflects your personality.
And at the other end of the scale – don’t think of white as boring! White when done right is masterful and can absolutely take your breath away. Neutral spaces just need depth and complexity to become special so they can set the stage for your décor items.
If you’re still unsure, look to nature as a muse! Chances are, if the colours work in the landscape they will work perfectly in your space! Another great way to determine what colours you are naturally drawn too is by looking in your own wardrobe. If your wardrobe is all grey and black, it’s a pretty safe bet that you prefer more neutral tones.
There are three a types of colour palettes that usually work harmoniously together in interiors. If the images below don’t inspire, I don’t know what will. Keep reading for some truly stunning interiors in both neutrals, monochromatic and bold colour.
Monochromatic Colour Palette
A monochromatic colour scheme uses just one colour. Variation is created by adding white, grey or black, giving different shades and tones of the same colour.
THE COLOUR WHEEL
Many people think a monochromatic colour palette is limited too black, grey and white, but any colour can be used in a monochromatic scheme.
A neutral monochrome schemes gives a very tranquil, contemporary feel. Neutral rooms need depth and complexity to feel special, so use texture, tone, pattern and print to add interest – a touch of black or metallic (or both) don’t go astray either.
Analogous Colour Palette
An anologous colour scheme is comprised of three neighbouring shades positioned next to each other on the colour wheel (for example blue, green and yellow). This can give a calm, harmonious feel with enough contrast to keep things interesting. Like other schemes, each colour needs to be balanced within the space. I usually pick a dominant shade to ground the look, a supporting colour and a final accent to pop against the others.
Selecting shades that are more muted and subtle can help this type of colour scheme to be successful. Add other materials and texture to achieve a well-rounded complex look.
Complimentary Colour Palette
If you love fun, vibrant colour a complimentary colour palette uses opposites on the colour wheel. These colours provide contrast, allowing each colour to stand out.
Colour can create real WOW factor, but don’t forget that you can also use neutrals to bring visual relief. These include a neutral paint colour or textural elements such as timber, stone, leather, polished concrete or linen.
To create a timeless and calm space, I like to keep my big-ticket items neutral. In my living room, I’ve then introduced jewel-like pops of colour in décor items (like cushions, vases, fruit in a bowl, flowers and so on). But overall the colour scheme is based on a natural earthy palette. I use many textural elements to add dimension and movement. The neutral base also allows me to change things up from time to time at minimal expense.
The neutral base is taken a step further in the image below. It features a very limited use of complimentary colour in a piece of artwork, a cushion and a coffee table book.
2 I KEEP IT PERSONAL
Don’t get hung up on the colour wheel or trends. First and foremost – make sure you start with colours that you love. These can be as neutral or as wild as you want them to be. This is your space and it should tell your very unique story. The space below is a great example of an interior that is a quirky mix of pieces the owner has collected and colours and textures that the owner loves.
3 I CONSIDER THE ARCHITECTURE OF YOUR SPACE
Think about the scale of your space. Consider how the architectural features of your interior will work with your interior colour palette. If you would like to create the illusion of a higher ceiling, you can get my tips and tricks here.
4 I START AT THE BOTTOM
Once I have a basic overall colour concept in mind, I always start by selecting the most expensive and largest element within the room first – usually the flooring. This might already be a given for you, but if not start at the bottom.
Your floor will influence your colour choices dramatically. I then move on to other high cost elements like joinery finishes. There is less variety available in these finishes, so it makes sense to pick them first. Once you’ve got your flooring and joinery selected you can finally look at paint colours, fabrics and décor that will complement.
4 I SELECT A BASE COLOUR
The transition of colour from one room to the next will impact the overall feeling of your interior. At this point you need to consider your home as a whole. If you’re taking a walk on the wild side and opting for a mustard yellow sitting room, consider how this is going to flow into other spaces within your home.
One way to make this work is by selecting one consistent base colour. You can use this on the walls of connecting spaces (like hallways and landings) to create a flow between rooms – especially if you have open plan.
A base colour is often a neutral, but it doesn’t have to be. Consider how the colour tones work with each other.
If your interior is small, contemplate connecting spaces with colour in the décor rather than painting too many colours on the walls throughout.
5 I CHOOSE A TRIM COLOUR
I recommend keeping the trim colour consistent throughout your home as well. Trim often works best either matching or contrasting your base colour. If it is close but not quite the same colour, it can just look ‘off’.
In the image below, I would continue the teal skirtings, architraves and mouldings throughout the home with white window frames. The wall colours themselves could then vary but the consistent trim colour would tie the colour scheme together.
6 I SELECT ACCENT COLOURS
Now that you’ve been inspired and know the kind of look you’re after, it’s time to select your accent colours. They should complement your style, your flooring and joinery finishes and any existing furniture you already have. I like to keep my overall interior colour palettes to a maximum of 3-5 colours. There are endless tones and textures you can play with, within this guideline.
Remember, selecting a consistent colour palette is not all about painting entire walls. If you use a neutral backdrop, pattern and texture will help create a multi-layered and wonderfully vibrant room. Think about unusual ways to use accent colours. Glossy black doors can give a room instant sass. A pop of colour to the rear of a shelving unit or a coloured stool can all add an unexpected splash of colour.
7 I TEST SAMPLES
My final tip if you are painting: A paint sample on a small card swatch can appear very different once painted on a large wall where scale and light effect the overall appearance. Once you’ve chosen your favourite colour swatches, purchase test pots. Then you can make larger samples that you can place around your room under different lighting conditions. That way you’ll know you’re not going to be making a time consuming mistake.
So, let’s embrace colour or the lack of it! Whatever your colour preferences – have a consistent colour palette – and you can’t go wrong. I’d love to hear how you’ve come up with your interior colour palette.