About to tackle a revamp of one of your rooms? Ensure your colour scheming works well every time you decorate with our guide to the basic rules of decorating. By Sarah Warwick
Use the colour wheel
A colour wheel of 12 segments is based on the primary colours. The remaining segments of the wheel are made from primary colours mixed with secondary colours. If you are using a colour wheel to help you decorate, you can create a scheme from just one segment of the wheel – and of course your scheme would be co-ordinated as you’ll just be working with one colour. Alternatively you might choose two or three colours that sit alongside each other on the wheel – for example green, yellow-green, yellow – as these will work equally happily together in a room. Other options for a co-ordinated room include using colours that are opposite each other on the wheel, or using three colours spaced equally apart on the wheel. Whichever option you choose, you’ll need a break from colour in your room, too, so plan for areas of neutral or white.
Re-create a look you’ve seen
Look at how much of the total area of the room each colour takes up. If a colour is on the floor or walls, then that’s a substantial area, and you can use that sort of proportion in your room. If a colour’s just used on a vase, a rug and a couple of other small accessories, then to get the same effect that’s how little of the room you should use the colour in, too.
Play with colours online
Dulux’s MousePainter allows you to play with Dulux’s colours in a room. Choose from a gallery of images the room that’s closest to the style of your own. You can then pick a colour, and click and drag it to fill an area of the room. Repeat until you’ve filled all the available areas of the room, and until your colours are a harmonious set, not a clashing nightmare.
Use a mood board
Start with a plain board to which you can pin and stick samples, and then gather wallpaper, fabric, pictures of the furniture and accessories you want, and use sample pots of paint to create paint swatches. Then you can lay out all your proposed colours together on the board to check they are co-ordinating perfectly.
Start with something you love
You might have a contemporary floral wallpaper in mind with a neutral background, plus green and pink as part of the design. You already know that they co-ordinate perfectly because you can see the evidence. You can then use the colours in the rest of the room, so in a bedroom, for example, your flooring might be in the neutral, your bed linen might repeat the green shade in a patterned fabric, and cushions, artwork, and a throw could be in the pink. The key here is not to aim for equal proportions of the colours as they will compete. Often it’s the neutral from the sample that has inspired you that you’ll want to use over large areas, and the boldest colour is used the least – but it doesn’t have to be this way round.
For more advice and how to guides on designing and decorating your home visit Channel4 / 4Homes.
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