Most of us understand the impact colour can have when we use it in designing our homes. From energetic, inspired spaces to calm and restful retreats, colour plays a big part in the way our rooms make us feel.
However, even with the best of intentions, things can go wrong when using colour to decorate. So, before you pick up that paint brush, read on to find out five of the most common mistakes people make when using colour and how you can fix them.
1. Not Paying Attention to the Light
Colours will look different depending on the lighting in each of your individual rooms. While a bright south-west facing room will make colours look bright and glowy, a north-facing room can make the same shade look more subdued and dulled down.
Make sure you test your colours beyond that tiny paint chip you get from the DIY store. Paint a large swatch of colour on a piece of white card, leaving a border of around an inch along the edges and tape it to your walls at different points of the room. Keep an eye on how the lighting in the room changes the shade – you may love the way a colour looks in full light but not in the evening when ambient lighting is on or on a dull rainy day.
2. Not Considering How You Want Your Room to Feel
We all know colour has the power to change our moods. We may adore a splash of bright yellow but painting four walls in this intense hue is likely to make us feel on edge or agitated. The same can be said for a bold red which might feel overwhelming when used in large quantities. Darker shades are very popular now but you may not enjoy the feeling of having less light in the room.
Paler, more subdued hues naturally make us feel calmer while intense colours increase our energy. Consider the purpose of the room before choosing your dominate shade – do you want it to feel creative and exciting or warm and relaxing? Your choice of colour will need to come into play.
If you do love bright, saturated hues, consider bringing them in as accents against a more neutral backdrop so that you can still enjoy them without having any negative effect on the feel of the space.
3. Not Paying Attention to Undertones
If you enjoy a more eclectic touch of mixing and matching colours within one space, there may be a fine line between a fun and whimsical arrangement of shades and a chaotic mess of colour. One reason for the latter is because you’ve failed to take into consideration the undertones of the colours you’ve chosen.
Neutrals are perhaps the most difficult to get right (ask anyone who has gone through the challenge of choosing the perfect shade of grey). Make sure that your colours have similar saturations – a similar intensity of colour and share a similar undertone which is that subtle leaning towards a warmer or cooler colour palette for a more soothing and compatible mix.
4. Mixing and Matching Too Many Different Colours
There’s a big trend for maximalist styling at the moment where many different colours are combined in the same space but it’s a difficult look to pull off well. Using too many different shades, saturations and tones can very quickly go from inspiring and exciting to chaotic and overpowering.
If you are just starting off with using colour in your home, the 60/30/10 rule may be helpful. This uses one colour (usually a neutral and normally walls and floors) for 60% of the space, a mid-range shade for 30% of the room (normally your larger furniture pieces, curtains and bedding) and using an accent colour for the remaining 10% (cushions, accessories, smaller artwork) of the room.
5. Letting Fear of Colour Hold You Back
Of course, using colour can feel a bit overwhelming. If you’d love to use colour in your home but are so afraid of getting it wrong, you settle for tried-and-true neutrals all the time, that could be a mistake too.
Playing it too safe can result in a room that lacks any personality or feels uninspiring. Consider introducing colour in smaller quantities to get a feel for how they work together by way of your accessories, artwork and soft furnishings and build up your confidence over time.