The 10 golden rules of colour and design


There are 10 golden rules of colour and design.

1. Decide on the mood

Decide on an overall feel or mood you want the area to have. This will determine your personal style. It can be helpful to choose a few words that describe how you want the space to feel, i.e. calming and restoring, sophisticated, retro, romantic or laid-back elegance.

2. Identify limitations

Choose the most limiting aspect of the interiors first. For example, there are fewer granite choices available than there are floor tiles, so choose the granite first, then the floor tiles. Then you can move on to the curtains or blinds, and finally the paint colour. Doing it the other way around can often become expensive if you have to change a design feature when it doesn’t work with another element in the room. Sometimes, the most limiting elements are existing ones that can’t be changed, such as flooring or curtains that won’t be replaced. Paint colours should always be the last thing chosen when decorating a room as there are so many available – 720 in the Colourplus collection in fact!

3. Take a sample home

Don’t impulsively decide that you like a colour after viewing it in store. Always take a sample home and view it in situ. In-store lighting will be quite different from the lighting in your home, and this can affect the look of the colour greatly.

4. Check colour effects

Check your chosen colours both during the day and night. This is especially important when using metameric paints. Metameric is the organic and inorganic compounds of the colour pigments that “fight” each other, so that a colour can look completely depending on the light. This gives wonderful depth and dimension to the paint, but it is important to check that the colour is what you expected.

5. Try it in different rooms

When choosing colour, look at the largest samples possible. Colourplus has A3-sized samples of available colours. Take these home and check how colours work in different rooms, under different lights and in different situations. You can move a colour sample around the room to see how it works with furnishings, how it looks in the corners of rooms, and next to doorways to see how it works with any interconnecting rooms.

6. Make sure it flows

Think of your home as a whole, even if you are only decorating one room. Make sure there is flow between different spaces by using a complementary colour palette.

7. Consider the style of your home

Consider the architectural style of the house, lighting and the size, properties and functions of a room when considering colours and finishes. A small room will not necessarily feel larger just by painting it a light colour; natural light and ceiling height also play an important part.

8. Keep in mind proportions

If you are looking to have more than one floral or stripe in a room, remember the golden rule of proportion – they must not be of the same scale or they will fight each other and create discord rather than harmony. Choose large and small, or medium and oversized to get the balance right.

9. Make sure the balance is right

The rule of proportion is equally important when using strong colours. To get the balance right, the proportions of colour must be balanced, and that doesn’t mean 50:50. One colour must be allowed to dominate a space and be the focus. In designing there is a classic 60:30:10 equation which equals a winning colour scheme.

10. Pay attention to lighting

Lighting can make a huge difference to a room. It should be one of the last decisions made for a room (even if that “room” is outdoors), but it definitely shouldn’t just be an afterthought.

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