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Get your colour on
In a colour rut? Our digital coordinator Jess shares her top tips from her day spent with self-proclaimed colour lover and stylist, Sophie Robinson…
When the Nest team asked me to attend Sophie Robinson’s Colour Course, I grabbed the chance with both hands. A full day of colour! In Brighton! What could be better? From the moment I approached the steps of the Artist Residence in Regency Square, I knew I was in for a fun day.
A colourful day with Sophie Robinson and Jess’ impressive Pantone Mug collection! Source: 1
I adore colour. From my graphic design background I discovered Pantone charts and my love has grown from there. My home is a mixing pot of everything from bright hues to subtle tones; I love finding new ways to use colour from an endless wealth of combinations. The workshop was sure to celebrate this, but I also hoped to understand my colour choices more, create palettes to suit me and pick up hints and tips along the way! Throughout the day, everyone on the course had the opportunity to collage, discuss and moodboard, but it was so insightful to listen to Sophie’s approach to colour. When I wasn’t staring in awe at her colour combos, I scribbled down some of her top tips to share with you…
1) Use visual tricks!
Using colour in interior design is all about how it affects the eye, so getting to grips with visual tricks is key. Think about the room you’re decorating – for big, airy rooms, your reds, oranges and yellows, otherwise know as ‘advancing colours’, can help create a warmer atmosphere and cosy nooks. Your greens, blues and violets are ‘receding’, making them really useful for balancing out unusual proportions and creating light and space in smaller rooms.
That’s certainly not all – another great pointer from Sophie was to paint hallway and thoroughfare spaces a dark colour. This might sound crazily claustrophobic, but it can be a great visual way of providing a heightened sense of space and light when you enter the adjoining room.
2) Don’t just think about walls
There are also visual effects you’ll want to avoid! Don’t forget about your ceilings, storage areas, skirting boards and floors when using colour. These elements form the design of a room too, so they shouldn’t be an afterthought! Painting everything the same colour is a great way of achieving continuity, as it ties the room’s different features together. In traditional homes, this technique allows you to maintain the period features we all love, whilst achieving a seamless contemporary look.
Whatever you do, avoid ‘white fright’! Going with white might seem like a safe way to refresh a room, but it can look harsh; white walls or shades reflect all available light back at you, creating a rather exhausting visual effect. Opting for a few steps off appears white whilst being much kinder to the eye! If you’re looking for a change, Sophie says that nude pink is very much the new beige, so you can avoid ‘white fright’ whilst opting for a new neutral.
Avoid white fright and go for pale pink or off white – Anglepoise Original 1227 Mini Table Lamp, Gubi Grashoppa Floor Lamp, Lightyears Volume Table Lamp , Muuto Nerd Chair, Carl Hansen CH24 Wishbone Chair and the &tradition Flowerpot VP4 Table Lamp. Source: 1, 2, 3, 4.
3) Go with the flow – use a base colour for a unified space
Imagine your room as a blank canvas in which to tell a visual story; use colour to make it flow whilst creating different themes and sections. Sophie recommends grey as a good foundation colour. This will tie everything together, so you can layer different colours on top to distinguish between different areas within your open space. Even if your rooms are separated, consider the flow from room to room and how your colour schemes work with one another.
4) Use the colour wheel to embrace tone or go for contrast
The foundations of arranging, mixing and styling with colour begins with the principles of the colour wheel. To discover perfect combinations, choose those that lay opposite each other on the wheel, like red and green. If you’re feeling a little tentative, try muted versions of these colours, like moss green and pale pink.
Create perfect colour combos with the colour wheel. Products from left to right: Muuto Visu Chair, Vitra MVS Chaise, Muuto E27 Socket Suspension Light, Vitra Polder Sofa, Hay DLM Side Table. Source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.
If you’re in love with one colour, you might want to embrace tone! If you mix the various shades of the same colour on your walls, features and furniture, you’ll create the impression of depth, layering and unity. The third way of approaching colour combinations is through using harmonious colours. These complement each other through their similarity and sit side by side on the colour wheel, like red and pink.
5) Pop that colour
Using the wheel, employ a base colour and inject pops of a contrasting shades in sporadic bursts – think cushions, rugs and other accessories. Try teaming blue/ grey with orange to keeps things lively (without being too overwhelming!) You can also use the harmonious approach, but tone down one of your colours so it’s not too much. Zingy orange with pale pink (instead of red!) and a bit of grey for grounding = stunning.
6) It’s hard to nail beige
So many of us opt for a neutral beige palette, but Sophie thinks getting it to work well is a challenge. To stop it from falling flat, play with texture – mix shiny with matt, rough materials with cottens and consider injecting metallic touches. All of this manipulates the light to achieve a sense of elegance and a winner of a beige palette.
7) Don’t decorate for other people
I was amazed to learn that 75% of people decorate their houses for other people. Remember that you are the one that has to live in the home you create – it’s your haven and your space to relax, study and entertain. So, while it’s OK to think about how others will perceive your space, pay attention to what you are drawn to!
The subject of colour is fun, inspiring and ever evolving – I walk away with a sense that, although there are rules about colour, they’re there to help you experiment, have fun, find the palettes you can’t live without and create a home you’ll have an everlasting love for.
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