INTERIOR COLOUR CONSIDERATIONS
Choosing paint colours from the infinite choice available today can be a daunting and frustrating task especially when the colour you finally decide upon ends up looking completely different when it is actually painted onto your walls. Senior Interior Designer Caroline Flannery and owner of Dublin based Interior Design Consultancy Level Design Solutions sheds some light on the subject of choosing colour.
Why does the colour look great in the tin or on the colour swatch but end up making your room look dull and gloomy? The reason for this Caroline explains is that how we see colour depends on the quality of available light and orientation of the space hence the same colour can often look very different depending on whether the room is facing north, south, east or west. This is an often neglected element of making colour choices but it is a vital consideration and is often the reason colour schemes fail so get your compass out!
North-facing rooms have cold steady light hence colour won’t vary much during the day. Choose warm creamy neutrals if you wish to bring light into the room and avoid colours with a cool base such as greens, blues and greys. Alternatively accept that north facing rooms will never be bright and work with nature by using strong dark colours such purples and reds to create drama and intimacy.
South-facing rooms have an abundance of warm light therefore most colour palettes will work whether cool or warm. Be aware however when the sun is shining into the room some colours may appear quite dazzling hence avoid very bright vivid colours and pure whites.
East-facing rooms can be a challenge as the light changes so dramatically during the day. The room will receive a lot of morning light which will cool as the day proceeds. Your choice of colour will depend on the atmosphere you wish to create in the room for example in an east facing kitchen you may wish to take advantage of the energy from the morning sun therefore consider warm yellow tones but in an east facing bedroom if you do not wish to rise with the sun chose from the cool green/ blue palette. Play it safe and purchase a number of sample pots observing the colour at different times of the day before making your decision.
West-facing rooms will receive direct sunlight in the afternoons/evenings so be aware that the light will change from cooler in the morning to warmer in the evening. If the room is used in the afternoon/evening time pink based colours work beautifully as they glow as the sun goes down. Cool colours will also work well in the warm evening light. As with East facing rooms it’s a good idea to test the colour on the wall at different times of the day before committing.
Caroline recommends that you consider elements in the room which you are not planning to change for example you may not want to change the flooring or the existing furniture hence the colours will have to compliment and harmonize with these elements. It is a good idea to base your scheme around an inspiring painting or rug which will form part of the room, choose a colour which will blend with the object rather than attempting to match it exactly.
It is also important to decide what type of ambience you wish to create in the space as colour directly affects mood. There is much research available on colour psychology however as a rule of thumb warm colours can make a room feel intimate and warm and cool colours can create a sense of calm. Lastly always choose a quality paint over the cheaper brands on the market.