NOW Magazine - Toronto Living - - Front Page -

Colours can evoke won­der­ful feel­ings. We want to help you en­hance your living space and make your house a home through the proper use of light and colour. With­out light, there is no colour. So where do you start when dec­o­rat­ing your room? A proper floor plan helps pull all of a room’s pieces to­gether. Work from the floor up. With proper plan­ning, you can avoid costly mis­takes. Re­mem­ber, your fur­ni­ture doesn’t have to line up against the walls. De­fine your fo­cal point – the room’s cen­tre of a grav­ity – and place your fur­nish­ings around it. A com­fort­able con­ver­sa­tional group­ing could cen­tre around a fire­place in win­ter or a win­dow with a view in sum­mer. Once you’ve de­cided on the use of space, move on to your light­ing plan. To see how colour is go­ing to re­act in your room, view it in day­light un­der nat­u­ral light and at night un­der ar­ti­fi­cial light. The colours of paint and fab­rics can change dras­ti­cally. This phe­nom­e­non is called “metamerism,” the char­ac­ter­is­tic of colour to be per­ceived dif­fer­ently in dif­fer­ent lights. Day­light at sun­rise and sun­set is warm in feel­ing. Day­light at noon can feel cool. Ar­ti­fi­cial light is ei­ther cool (blueish) or warm (red­dish). In­can­des­cent light is warm and flat­ter­ing, while flu­o­res­cent light usu­ally leans to­ward the cool spec­trum and is clear and vir­tu­ally shad­ow­less. Halo­gen light­ing has a strong blue cast that en­hances whites, greys and blues. A halo­gen lamp ap­pears yel­low if it’s low­ered with a dim­mer switch. Can­dle­light or light from a fire­place – light­ing by com­bus­tion – gives a feel­ing of warmth and should be used as of­ten as pos­si­ble. You need three dif­fer­ent types of light to have a good bal­ance. Work with all three lev­els to meet your needs and cre­ate a mood: 1. Pri­mary light­ing: from the ceil­ing, giv­ing gen­eral il­lu­mi­na­tion. 2. Sec­ondary light­ing: task-ori­ented, for read­ing or workspaces, un­der kitchen cab­i­nets. 3. Mood light­ing: a light source com­ing from the floor up. Th­ese can be placed be­hind trees to cre­ate shad­ows or lend am­bi­ence or mys­tique. Now colour can be added to your floor plan. All rain­bows are not the same, and nei­ther is our view of colour. The brain in­ter­prets colour. It doesn’t mat­ter how ac­cu­rately sci­en­tists mea­sure colour and light – in the end, your eye and brain make the fi­nal de­ci­sion. Ev­ery­one sees it dif­fer­ently. Ask your­self: How do you want to feel in your room? How does the se­lected colour af­fect the rest of the house? What is “in” and do I want to be trendy? Will I get tired of this colour? What if I hate it? And so on. Noth­ing evokes emo­tion faster than the “wrong” colour or one you hate. Warm, sunny, happy, cozy and safe: if you’re af­ter th­ese qual­i­ties, go for the warmer colours in the yel­low, or­ange, red, vi­o­let, brown and cream fam­i­lies. The warm colours tend to be stim­u­lat­ing, mak­ing your room ap­pear smaller and warmer. Rooms fac­ing north or east do well in warm colours. Rooms fac­ing south or west may seem too “hot” in warm colours. Wood has colour as well. If your wood pieces or kitchen cab­i­nets are look­ing tired, the warmer colours will play them down. They won’t be as no­tice­able. If you want a feel­ing of so­phis­ti­ca­tion, el­e­gance and en­larged space, the cool pal­ette will work for you. Blues, greens, blacks, greys and whites will ex­pand a space, en­hance the look of wood and give a re­fined look. In a room, colour is bro­ken down into three cat­e­gories: 1. Pri­mary: ap­prox­i­mately 70 per cent of the colour in a room, usu­ally the main wall colour. 2. Sec­ondary: about 25 per cent, usu­ally the colour of larger ob­jects like fur­ni­ture and cab­i­netry. 3. Ac­cent: about 5 per cent. Com­pet­ing colours don’t work in a har­mo­nious colour scheme. Once you have se­lected a floor plan and colour, it’s time to re­dec­o­rate. Don’t panic – you have a plan and have thought it through! A half-dec­o­rated room can be de­scribed as half-dressed. Fin­ish it and en­joy. Your hes­i­ta­tion is nor­mal, but if you lose con­fi­dence, the room will never get done. Good taste can be de­fined as all the de­sign el­e­ments work­ing to­gether har­mo­niously. When you cre­ate good de­sign, you’ll live with it longer and be hap­pier in that space. Colour is here to stay. Re­lax with it, un­der­stand it and use it.

Good light­ing will oc­cupy a space with­out ob­struct­ing

it. Light­ing can al­ter moods and les­son ten­sion.

This ar­ti­cle was sup­plied by Para Paints. Go to for other de­sign­re­lated tips and ar­ti­cles.

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