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Colour Me Right

Posted by
on March 25, 2014 at 03:07 AM

There are colour theories and there are principles of space dynamics and then there are real-time evaluations of available space, ceiling height, usage, décor budget and such other constraints and factors.  Finally, and actually, most importantly, what a stylist may fail to address as priority but which actually should be at the heart of the design decision – is what “you” as the occupant/user of a space wants and needs! Based loosely on existing theories and personal experience – are some colour tips that can be helpful while choosing colours for the space around you! 

© Courtesy of Ar. Rajesh Patel on TFOD

Play it Safe!

No one can ever go wrong with neutrals! Just choose between the greys and the browns and weave the colour scheme around it. Cream and beige walls, walnut veneer, coffee coloured furnishing fabrics, some plain and some with stripes, cocoa coloured drapes or louvers – what could possibly go wrong? Best described as staid and elegant, the only risk is that of visual monotony – the décor could get boring a tad too fast!


Splash a Colour!

Even in a conservative decor of whites or grey hues, taking an accent colour like fuchsia or aubergine or peacock green or sunset yellow will add chutzpah to the space. Choose this accent colour wisely. List out the personal preferences of all occupants of the space, the usage of the space, the time of day during which the space will be used most, the type of lighting and other existing décor elements – and then arrive at a decision that satisfies most of the parameters. Choose a wall to become the feature-wall – with an accent colour, add some artwork, get proper lighting for it – and see the difference! 

Riot of Colours?

Colours lend character to the space. Using colours close to the occupants’ personalities enables the space to be used more intimately and creates instant connection and comfort between the space and its users. A riot of colours, however, may not address the primary goal! Colours are to be chosen to add energy, vibrancy, calmness and comfort – so pick the right ones – based on the function of the space. 

Stick to the same colour – vary tints and shades!

Go for the colour closest to your personality – and use tints and shades of the same for different elements. This primarily helps in creating variation without risk of colours not complementing each other.

A tint is the mixture of a colour with white, which increases lightness, and a shade is the mixture of a colour with black, which reduces lightness. A tone is produced either by mixing with gray, or by both tinting and shading. Mixing a colour with any neutral colour, including black and white, reduces the chroma, while the hue remains unchanged.

In common language, the term "shade" can be generalized to furthermore encompass any varieties of a particular colour, whether technically they are shades, tints, tones, or slightly different hues. However, adding a bit of brown – instead of black or white – softens the colour in a more charming way, instead of only varying its intensity.


Complementary Colours and Colour Contrasts

Colours, much like people, have families; and also much like us have compatibility in lesser and more proportions within themselves! The colour spectrum thus has a warm family that includes reds, yellows and oranges; and a cool family that includes blues and greens. Taking an overall scheme from one family and creating a striking contrast using a shade from the opposite side of the spectrum, will add a dash of surprise and interest. As an occupant/user, you may need a little time to get used to the new colour and find yourself doubting your own or the designer’s decision; but rest assured, you will soon find yourself enjoying a space with that surprising contrast colour more than you would have imagined!


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