In many interior design projects people often worry too much about decorating small rooms with colour because the urban myth tells us that we will make a small room appear smaller unless it is a pale shade. Although this is true to some extent, the effect is blown way out of proportion. Making wise use of colour in small spaces allows us to define and anchor the room. White is lovely when it is used in interesting ways, but, more often than not, it is used because people are afraid that to do otherwise will make the room look small. The room is the size that it is and often, a white or beige room is a boring room. We can do better than that through the use of interesting and dramatic colour.
A powder room, for instance can become jewel-like with bold use of colour in an interior design project. True, we may then require more lighting intensity, but builder’s lighting is most often inadequate at best, so better lighting was needed from the start anyway. A great many people live in their home for decades suffering along with grossly inadequate lighting and/or electrical outlets into which to plug lights. It is well worth the effort to upgrade lighting to dramatically improve the quality of life in the home. High impact colour is useful as an accent wall or in accessories. Draperies, sofas, and headboards look wonderful in rich colours.
Use a favourite colour combination throughout several rooms to maintain flow and balance. Use one trim colour, not always white, to pull the eye from one space to the next. Dark colours used as trim can take a home from flat and boring to dramatic and elegant and the home will be much more interesting as a result. Lack of colour visually flattens a space. Layering in a favourite colour as an accent contributes to a feeling of depth in a room. Depending on the level of drama that the interior designer wishes to achieve for the client, the designer will use a little or a lot of a dramatic colour. Knowing what our clients desire in a finished room design depends on excellent two way communication between designer and client. If the client wants an interesting room design but is not ready for the beautiful Ralph Lauren look below with black trim and leopard wallpaper, that will become clear during preliminary conversations between client and designer. Some clients may love this look but do not have the confidence to go ahead with the process of adding it to their home. The job of an interior designer is to try to determine whether the client loves the daring look and just needs the confident input of the designer to go ahead, or whether, much as they like the look, it is simply too dramatic for them to live happily with.
The beauty of wood furniture deserves to be displayed to best advantage. Grain pattern, colour of the wood, and patina add complexity to the surface of the wood. Most often, all the wood furniture in a room will not be identical to each other. This is highly desirable for an acquired over time look. A colour consultation with an interior designer or interior decorator will help determine the underlying hue in the pieces. From there, wall colour and fabrics that will show the furniture to greatest advantage can be chosen. A high contrast colour can be very dynamic; low contrast tones can look rich and mellow. Dark finishes, such as mahogany, walnut, or cherry, stand out in sharp relief against any light color, whether it’s a tint of green or blue or a hue from the sunny side of the colour wheel. In the same way, light wood shows up boldly against dark or strong colour on the walls. All in all, this variation goes a long way to creating a much more interesting room design.
If you have very fine furniture and want to show it off a light colour will achieve this. This option can back-fire and look busy if you have a lot of dark furniture in a light room. The contrast calls more attention to the furniture, and the eye darts from piece to piece. If you love the look of dark wood against light walls (or light furniture against dark walls), keep furniture arrangements orderly and streamlined to offset the impression of crowding. To achieve high contrast with medium-tone finishes, keep the wall color soft and light, creating as much difference as possible between the values of the wood color and the wall. You can also use the colours in the furniture finish as a cue for wall colors. If the dominant color in the wood appears to be red, then a green background will enhance and intensify the wood’s hue. Golden-yellow woods look handsome against warm red as well as earthy greens, teal, or eggplant. Brown woods with yellow undertones relate to buttery walls yet stand out boldly for high-contrast drama. Antique woods, which have a patina that offers depth and complexity, may combine several tones — that’s why they can look good against a variety of light or dark colors.
Since 1993 Mulberry Interiors, interior design consultants have been assisting clients in Oakville, Mississauga, Burlington, Brampton, Milton, Georgetown, Etobicoke, western Toronto, and Vaughn. We specialize in residential interior design and decorating and are at our most creative when we use colour as our theme. We offer a full range of interior design services such as choosing paint colours, space planning, furniture sourcing, custom draperies and soft furnishings, flooring selection and accessories. Call Mulberry Interiors now at (905) 849-6423 to book a consultation. We look forward to working with you to increase your enjoyment of your home.
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