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Why is choosing a colour so tricky?

It is only colour! No big deal.

You know you like your bedroom white, your clothes black, your car silver. Your favourite colour is red. but that’s no help in choosing the right colour for this, for here, for now, and if you get it wrong you will waste money. Feel foolish. Be unhappy.

Why can something so apparently trifling, feel so immensely important?

Why does something so simple seem so hard?

How can something so obvious be so mysterious? – Revised extract taken from ALL ABOUT COLOUR by Janice Lindsay

COLOUR is the single most important ingredient in preparing a scheme for your home or work environment. Colour affects your mood, your behaviour, your personality, and energy levels. The patterns, shapes and colour combinations you choose reveal your personal preferences and say a lot about you. The colours and décor you choose for your surroundings can have a huge impact on your well-being and can affect your entire approach to life.

Emotional, physical and behavioural changes can be made by using colour because colour has both a positive and negative side. Each area of your living and working spaces represents a different part of your personality. The way you decorate and maintain these areas can influence your mood and how you deal with your emotions because depending on your choices, you’ll either feel supported or conflicted with your everyday surroundings. Think about how your surroundings make you feel and whether it reflects your personality?

Skilful use of colour improves the proportions of a area. White and pale colours reflect the light and therefore create an illusion of space, while deeper and darker colours can have the opposite effect.
Are your surroundings everything you need and want it to be? To create a feeling of harmony within your home you should be able to move between the main living areas without being shocked by loud colour changes or conflicts in styles. Adjoining rooms look their best when they are seen to be in harmony with the rest of house. Your décor pieces should be able to be moved around the central core of the house without having to go to any extra expense. Different shades and tones of one or two colours will always work the best.

The role of a colourist is likened to that of an independent arbitrator, helping pick a path through swatches of paint samples and issues of taste before they lead to conflict and helping save a marriage or partnership. The choice of colour today is vast and choosing those can seem like an insurmountable task. Look around and it will be there, in a painting, object de art or soft furnishing piece – the right colour palette to envelope your style and personality. Inviting a colourist into your home to help with the selection of your paint colour schemes, can save you time, money and make the result more interesting. Colour testers are available in small pots to paint on yourself, however my advice would be not to paint them on the wall but on a large piece of project card applying two coats. This way you get the full depth of colour and you can move the colour around different areas to see it in all different light sources depending on the time of day or night. Leave it in one spot for a few days before you change the position. After a while you’ll know it’s right, because you can see it and feel it, that’s how colour affects us – by the visual and the emotional. There is a science to it but is finally determined by the clients taste. People can be scared of colour, particularly when there is a lot of money involved.

Cool colours work well in warm areas, like blue, turquoise, violets and blue greens. Warm colours like pinks, red, oranges, tangerines and yellows create a welcoming mood for cold, uninviting rooms. They are physically stimulating and energize the surroundings. Dark saturated warm colours enclose a space and create a more intimate feel while cool colours have the opposing effect.

To make sure you are choosing the colours to suit your surroundings and personality

  • Determine the mood and structure of your surroundings
  • Choose colours that feed your soul
  • Experiment with different choices using colour swatches of paint, fabric and texture
  • Eliminate the choices that don’t work and improve on the ones that do.

Don’t be afraid, colour won’t bite. Most people know what they like but do not have the strength of their convictions to go ahead and put it on the wall, that is where a colourist comes in by validating their choices.

There are no rules! Every individual has very specific requirements depending on their taste, lifestyle, age and living environment. So when in doubt seek some professional advice. A typical colourist appointment can take between one to three hours depending on the size of the job at hand.

Written by Janiene Murrell – Principal of Finishing Touches by Janiene Murrell

Featured image designed by outanmax / Freepik