Yellow, orange, red, purple, blue and green... which is your favourite colour? All of them evoke different feelings and have their own personalities There is a whole study on how and why colours affect our lives whether we know it or not. [Read more here]. And when asked we all do proudly declare how much we love this or that colour the most... but why then our homes are so often just furnished with plain and safe items?
Muted tones are safe, yes, as they have a softer visual impact, and a slightly weaker personality making them blend in more with their surrounds and therefore easy to live with. I always advise my clients to purchase large key furniture pieces like the sofa and dining suite, being the more expensive piece, in muted tones. This allows them to last longer as they do blend in, and spare you from needing to buy a new one sooner than later: perfect when investing in quality and well performing furniture for the home. Yet, adding that punch of colour which may be needed to lift the mood is easy: let's add one or two bright but smaller pieces, like an armchair or an ottoman. Then on the sofa, complement the look with cushions of same or similar colour as this will tie the space together; throw in some texture and pattern, and then add a few decor accents throughout the room, and you are on your way to a well balanced space.
The size and amount of colour you add to brighten or change the mood of a room depends on how bright your selected colours are; this brightness or intensity of colour is called chroma. Think of the bold colours of Lego which are HIGH in Chroma, compared to the soft impact of LOW Chroma pastels. Too much vibrancy will affect the general mood of the room and make relaxing difficult. So select your colours wisely, and remember that high impact punchy colours like the red spectrum, including yellow and orange close to yellow, may not be a great choice for a child's bedroom when it comes to sleeping time.
Yellow is bright, we know it and I actually love having yellow accents in a home as it will add energy to a dull room but also a sense of summer and playfulness. Bright Orange however, despite having a similar power in lifting the mood, is closer to the strong impact of Red, so will have the same effect in a less subtle way. Muted Orange however is a colour that matches all seasons, as its calmer like the falling leaves in Autumn, and it goes especially well with rich timber tones.
Blue is calming and cool, and green is safe and easy to include in a home, as it works to bring the relaxing impact of nature inside... We all are ready to declare which colour is 'my favourite', the one we like to identify with the most. But when it comes to having to live with it or wear it, we usually choose many varying tones of that base colour, including it as a background, or picking it up in smaller details rater than the bold main pieces. We also do like to change, to mix and match colours as we do with what we wear every day. Why? Because colours have subtle but meaningful powers and whether we know of their influences or not, we enjoy to play with the impact of colour and how it changes our mood and the feeling within our homes.
Pairing colours is also a powerful way to create tension or calm in the environment we live... blues and greens, or greens and purples work very well, due to how they sit on the colour spectrum. Add a splash of red, of yellow, or gold to see your environment become intense, fresher, richer... the possibilities are endless and the results always different. So, my advice is don't play safe, don't refrain from having fun. Experiment, add and change colour to impact on your life; why not include that one bold and bright armchair to your living room and see how different the rooms feels, it's easier than you think!
All images by James Treble: Soft Line Furniture at Milano Design Week 2017
James Treble is an ambassador for Planet Ark and firmly believes in sensible purchasing, recycling and creative re-purposing. James Treble has more than 25 years of experience in the Building Industry, Real Estate and Interior Design. His knowledge and experience in adding value to homes, through clever design & styling, is now published for all to learn and benefit from. Interior Design For Profit is now available online.