Choosing the right colour palette for your interiors

Friday, February 26, 2016

Colour palette, garden escape

If you are looking to add your own stamp to your new home, one of the first questions you might ask is how to pick the right colours.

Different colours can create different moods and may alter our perceptions of a room and the surrounding area. 

Planning is key says Louise Turley, Interior Designer for Bovis Homes.

"By creating a mood board you can minimise the chances of this happening by exploring your scheme on paper and having the option of changing anything that you don't like".

Pick a central theme

Make sure you pick a theme you would be happy to look at every day and always ensure the other people in your household have an opportunity to share their views as well. Depending on whether your aim is to impress or just simply create a relaxing, homely space, it's important to remember that choosing colours is down to personal taste. It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the wide range of paints on the shelves but you can help minimise the confusion by following our simple guide to sourcing inspiration and choosing colours based on the principles of colour theory and colour psychology.

Build a mood board

Now that you've got a theme, start collecting relevant cut-outs from photos, magazines, fabric samples, wallpaper patterns, paint sample sheets, posters and adverts to help build your mood board. Pin whatever you collect to a corkboard, or just keep these bits and pieces in an old shoebox where they can all be stored together.

You want all your samples to be loose so you can rearrange, overlap and play around with the variations until you feel happy with it.

colour palette, Moroccan afternoon

It's better to be overflowing with inspiration than to have nothing to hand. When you start out, don't be too protective about what does and doesn't become a part of your mood board.

Add as much as you can, and then as your board starts to develop, take away anything you're not happy with. This should give you a focussed (but still bustling) set of colours to choose from.

Is a board too much effort? Try Pinterest!

If physically collecting samples and cut-outs sounds too time-consuming then give Pinterest - the image collecting site - a try. You can set up boards for different themes and pin any images you come across on the internet to your digital mood board.

As a good example, check out our blue hues board with some of our favourite azure interiors. It's quick and easy to fill up your board with ideas from around the world, and you're bound to find some inspiration on Pinterest from other pinners.

Picking the colours

The colours will largely depend on the theme you've chosen. However, you should also factor in the style and colour of your furniture.

The next step is to choose one or two main base colours. As a rough guide, you'll probably use these colours for 80% of your paint.

Then, pick some complementary or accent colours which will often be used sparingly.

Using your interior

Each house is built differently. Be aware of connecting rooms and make sure that the colours you choose for adjoined rooms work well together. Here are some top tips to keep in mind:

  • To prevent rooms from looking too disjointed, take some time to walk around the property and check what areas are visible as you move around from room to room. This will help you plan your overall colour scheme and see how much freedom you have when it comes to experimenting with colours in different rooms.
  • Don't be afraid to stick to neutral shades when it comes to adjoining spaces such as the hall and landing.
  • Consider how you can make the colour flow from room to room, such as using colours that are adjacent to each other on the colour wheel. As an example, greens and blues are harmonious colours. As another option, you could look at creating a subtle difference by using different shades and tones of one colour.
  • Don't overlook soft furnishings or other features and fittings, which you can take inspiration from and use as a base for your colour scheme.
  • Lastly, always remember that the paint you picked in the shop may look different when it's painted on the walls, and this is due to various factors such as the orientation of the room and how much direct sunlight it receives. Paint your own swatches on the wall to see if your chosen colours will work together.
Colour palette, a stroll in the parkWhich colours create which moods?

Start by deciding the mood that you want to achieve; for example, you might choose a vibrant colour such as red in the dining room if this is where you plan to entertain and you want to create energy. Bathrooms are typically a place to relax, so you may opt for green or blue.


Careful of trends

Bold or strong colours can get boring easily and may quickly look out of place to the rest of the home. You don't want to redecorate constantly, so only go for trends if you know it will be a long-term investment.

Experimenting with colours

Adobe Colour tool is useful if you want to create colour schemes and if you're on a smartphone or tablet, why not try the free Dulux app which will let you paint your walls "virtually" using the camera on your phone. This way you'll be able to test out combinations of colours without having to buy any paint.

There are many online tools available, which will help you source inspiration and discover if different colours will complement each other, enabling you to create the perfect living space. Do remember that choosing colour will be based on your own personal tastes so don't be afraid to listen to your gut instincts, provided you've applied a bit of colour theory and tested out your chosen colours. Try to keep it simple and keep in mind the overall effect and mood that you are trying to achieve but most importantly, have fun.