colour is a powerful element in interior design. Many modern homes are open concept and clients often ask if colour choices can occur even in that scenario. The client may desire an overall colour to run through the bulk of the home but perhaps a pop of vibrant colour in some areas or just a colour change in others would be desired. Certainly, here in Canada, we spend a substantial amount of our days as well as evenings indoors. That is not to say that we do not enjoy many activities outdoors, but we do live in a challenging climate, depending on the part of the country that we inhabit. With our interior design service being based in Oakville, Ontario as we are, over the years we have been in business since 1993, we have met a wide variety of clients from all walks of life. These clients live in a wide range of homes, large to small and everything in between. We love the diversity. Rich or dark colour choices can be employed in smaller spaces with terrific design effect. So often, clients have been told and believe that light colours are de rigueur in small homes and small rooms. On the contrary, say Marguerite Roberts, Colour Specialist, and owner of Mulberry Interiors, dark colours lend presence to a room design, while enhancing adjacent furnishings, even tired or underwhelming ones. Just the effect of colour can define an area or room like no other design element. The room in th ephoto below is not large, yet it looks wonderful in deep blue. The wood furnishings would be simply present in the room, rather than looking as pleasing as they do adjacent to the rich wall colour.When using rich or darker wall colours, we need to balance them with lighter shades so that we do not become overwhelmed. Colour shades in the artwork are sources of the range of colours that might be used in the colour palette in the entire home. Some colours may run throughout the home, and others may be employed once or several times in other areas.Innovation in interior design has resulted in new ideas for ways to construct and to enhance and decorate our modern homes. Some clients want a casual, upbeat colour palette, while others still love colour, but want a more soothing, slightly greyed down colour palette. Some clients want a more dramatic look than they may have wanted in the past. Others are not ready for a big change, want to maintain a more traditional style of décor, but more of an updated, fresher look. Whether you live downtown, in the suburbs or in a rural area, what may be considered a modern day home may now be something a little outside the lines. The open concept style is one of these new ideas. Derelict warehouses have become sought after dwelling spaces. The ceilings are gloriously high and the windows are large. What is lacking is a feeling of warmth and coziness, however, because there are far fewer interior walls than in the past. Not to worry because the feeling of spaciousness more than makes up for the inconvenience in furniture placement.Colour choices are not just confined to walls. New styles in flooring can carry colour and pattern into a room design’s colour palette. The basic colour my be moody or subdued, but a more vibrant element such as a tiled floor in several colours. The remainder of the flooring in the loft may be vintage wood, except perhaps in the bathrooms and kitchen. This is a practical choice in areas where flooring may be damaged by water, but it also defines these living areas as separate from the main open concept home.We see this as well in the use of area carpets, which are often as artistic as artwork for the wall.Creative space planning is what is called for, by means of placing furniture pieces back to back or having them fully finished on the reverse side. One of our clients in Burlington, Ontario lives in a modest semi-detached home on a street lined with mature trees planted in the 1960’s. This semi is across from much larger in-fill homes built around 1985. This pleasing mix of home styles and mature trees makes for a very pleasant neighbourhood close to three schools. The rooms of the home were really quite tiny and the feeling was very cramped before the rooms were opened up. The home is still the same overall size as the footprint has not changed. It’s the livability of the home which has changed a great deal. We used colour to define the various areas of the open spaces. Sometimes colour blocking is used simply for a creative effect, but other times to make a more interesting transition from one living area to another. We could not change wall colour down the centre of a wall, but we could do so wherever the architecture turned a corner. As a result, the home is now much more interesting because it is not all one colour. Wallpaper was also used in a couple of areas to add drama and interest. One bathroom had very red tiles and since they would only be living in the home for two years, they were not ready to renovate the bathroom. It was in good condition, functionally. The red tiles were what was bothering them. The wallpaper we used on the wall above the tiles was a graphic modern zebra print print which dealt with all the colour changes and brought the room very much up to date, and created an overall colour palette that was quite pleasing. The use of colour and pattern in this way is a very powerful tool in interior design. Often, we make use of this dramatic tool by installing a wallpaper mural to add interest and define an area of the room. The new look for the bathroom was in keeping with the décor of the rest of the home. This client has an extensive collection of treasured antiques, artwork, and inherited family heirloom furniture. Our décor update retained all of the treasured elements of the collection, and enhanced them and showcased them with beautiful a wall colour palette.
Sometimes the addition of a statement piece that is not only beautiful, but also a surprise is the answer to the decor situation. A striking copper bathtub against a rich, deep teal wall colour is a pleasure not only to use every day but also to simply view in the home. You tend not to tire of a solution like that. One of the ways that we can achieve definition of function is with colour. Because we are able to see through the space from one area to another, the colour must flow in a pleasing manner. Neutral shades can help with this, but many clients don’t want to be confined to neutrals if they love colour and the home is large enough to handle significant colour. If it is not hot colour that you crave, but still want a bit of dramatic impact, deeply toned neutrals may do the trick in some areas. Colours must not only flow through the space, they must enhance furnishings. A bit of drama can be achieved by painting one wall in an accent shade or using one of the fabulous wallpapers now available. Long gone are the dreary little florals of yesterday. The new graphic prints dare to go big even in a small room. They are fun and fresh and reinvent the old patterns such as Art Deco styles by printing them in large scale renditions in options from subdued neutrals to a riot of colour. It is important, however, to choose a wall that should be a feature. So often we encounter clients who would love to have a feature wall but there is already a focal point such as a fireplace in the room. It makes no sense to distract from this feature by adding colour off in left field. Instead, it is preferable to use one beautiful shade on all four walls, or a dramatic paint shade or a mural on the fireplace wall, thus further enhancing the fireplace feature. The materials making up the mantle should be considered as they are, in fact, a form of colour blocking in themselves. The various colour tones in granite facing on a fireplace can be enhanced by repeating them in paint colour or wallpaper on adjacent walls. Colour placement is also important. As soon as the homeowner or a guest walks into the home, there should be a pleasing ambiance of colour that leads one into the home. After that, a back drop for the formal rooms must be created using colour. Shades from the furnishings are a likely jumping off point for a colour scheme. Large swaths of neutrals running from one area to the next can be sparked with colour blocking with accent shades or geometric wall treatments, even in relatively neutral colours, several in one area to indicate that room’s function. A relatively small home has been made much more interesting, simply through the use of colour blocking. The accent colour has highlighted various quite ordinary objects and features in the room and made them look surprisingly interesting. Without its colour accents, this room would be quite boring.Rooms that you relax in can be painted in soothing shades, but do not need to be, as a rule. This does not always mean beige. Using rich colours with similar tonality can create a cozy and comforting living space that is really very relaxing to be in, even with quite a lot of colour. Save the more vibrant hot colours for accents or areas where they are appropriate, unless you find them relaxing to be near on a regular basis, of if they are not in your direct line of vision while you are occupying the room. A home gym or a child’s bedroom, for instance, can look terrific in hot colours, creatively utilized. Remember, the ceiling in such a room need not be white. Children’s rooms can be done in less formal shades, also. Children love colour. children of our clients often ask that their room be painted in a colourful way, even black. It is the parents who resist. Toys are manufactured in primary colours and when a room is painted in one or more similar colours toy clutter often is less visible, and there is a real sense of fun. Even the parents enjoy it!Depending on the occupation of the home owner, home office colours can be somber or upbeat. If there are very few walls to define this area, plants, coloured panels, a wall of patterned wallpaper, or a large artwork hung from wires above could help to define this or any other relatively public space in the open concept home. The kitchen wall or walls can be a vibrant shade. Gone are the days when we spent all day in the kitchen, so a bit of upbeat colour would not be out of place or over-powering.
Often, the assistance of a a colour specialist is a desirable service to help you through this. Call Mulberry Interiors now at (905) 849-6423 to book a paint colour consultation. We look forward to working with you to increase your enjoyment of your home.
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