COLOUR BY NUMBERS
What are the style secrets behind adding colour to your home? We asked interior design expert James Treble.
James Treble’s guide to choosing paint colours for inside your home.
Q1 How many shades of one colour can you use together?
A Using one colour in differing shades in a space is called “monochromatic”. The basic rule is to select three depths of colour, ranging from pale and diluted to mid-tone and a deeper rich shade. For main walls and any features, I suggest using lighter to mid-tones, as these make spaces feel larger. Keep deep tones for furnishings and repeat the mid to light tones in smaller ways to balance the space.
Q2 Should the colours in your home all work together?
A It’s a clever idea to create a cohesive home, where all areas have a seamless flow or transition.
This can be achieved by using the same flooring, wall colour or furniture style throughout the house. It makes smaller spaces feel larger and makes the home feel more calm and consistent. However, you can still introduce additional colours, by treating this cohesive idea as a base palette for your main areas (such as your flooring and the main wall colour) and adding interest and variation through feature colours, materials and decor, which can easily be changed.
Q3 How do you choose a jumping-off point for colour in a room?
A Use a key element/s in your home, such as a feature artwork you love, a sofa or a rug, as your starting point. These provide ideal reference points for colour, and they also reflect your personality. Look at these and pull out a particular colour (or texture or pattern) and use it in other areas around the room or house. An example would be using an artwork as your main centrepiece, then taking a colour from this artwork and introducing it into cushions, a throw or a rug. Doing this will visually tie the whole space together.
Q4 What colours would you not put together?
A They say blue and green should never be seen, but the right shades of each can work really well. A lot of the time colour combination is personal preference. I would avoid making a home too beige or too bland. It’s important to have contrast, adding interest and providing light and shade throughout. Contrast can come in many forms, from introducing a darker or lighter colour to natural textures such as timber and stone or a punch of colour. They all help to add visual interest and avoid the dreaded
“bland or boring”.
Q5 How do you add colour to a primarily white interior?
A This depends on your interior style or the look you are after – and doesn’t have to mean bright, bold or in-your-face colour. It could mean
Q6 What’s your current favourite colour pairing?
A Right now it’s darker colours. Deep colours are moody, luxurious and very on-trend.
simply adding muted earthy neutral tones, through natural materials and textures such as timber, woven jutes or sisals and, most importantly, greenery. I love using plants inside the home to link inside and out. Green, in the form of nature, is a colour that can work in all interiors.
Q7 Are there any rules about using too many colours?
A In general, the rule is three colours in one space. I use this rule often, especially when creating exterior schemes, as a balance of three different colours (which can be in different finishes, not just paint) makes a well-balanced looking space. For interiors, I usually suggest one main colour for the walls throughout to create a cohesive space, one tonal use of colour in furniture, which may be a similar timber tone or all white, and then a stronger colour in small punchy ways with accessories, art and interior styling. This also allows you to easily and cost effectively change the bolder colour as your tastes or the seasons change.
Q8 What have you found is the most popular colour scheme?
A The most popular colour scheme would be the neutral, slightly grey off-white colour palette. This is so easy to live with, doesn’t go too blue – which a grey scheme can do – and blends well with modern and contemporary styling and timber tones, which most Australians usually have in furnishings of some style.
Q9 What do people find trickiest about using colour in their home?
A In general, people are scared of colour. They worry they’ll get it wrong, so they play it safe, resulting in a bland interior with little contrast that ends up being boring. My advice to everyone is to be a little more daring: do your research, find images of rooms you like and then, instead of simply copying them, adapt them for your needs by taking the ideas and colours which work for you. Always do your homework and, when you are shopping, take samples such as paint chips, fabric samples of your sofa or even photos of your space. You’ll find most of the staff in paint and furniture stores will be more than happy to offer their advice to ensure you get it right.
“It’s a good idea to get sample pots and paint swatches on different walls to really see how they look in your home.”
The jump-off The colours in the artwork influenced the choice of cushions and coverings on the bed. Porter’s Paints Emerald Haymes Paint Grape Nectar Dulux Ahoy
Taubmans Oriental Night Moody blues This room goes for impact with rich cobalt walls and accessories in lighter shades of blue.
Porter’s Paints Drizzle Haymes Paint Sun Dew Dulux Parchment Paper Haymes Paint Soothe Dulux Land Light Porter’s Paints Nude Haymes Paint Boulder Grey Haymes Paint Feather Grey