Colour in a neutral world
Photography by Provoke Studios
There’s a definite art to successfully bringing a burst of colour into a neutral world, especially when it is executed with subtlety and sophistication. One of the most common hurdles designers face is the clients’ sheer fear of colour. Honestly, we’ve heard it all: it’s too bold; it’s too trendy; it’s too… colourful. To all these excuses we say, “You’re not afraid of colour, you’re just afraid of the wrong colour.” With that being said, here are some tried-and-true designer tips for choosing the perfect tone and shade, and how to incorporate it into your interiors to make your neutral rooms pop.
So, where do you start? Colour has been proven to have psychological effects on people, so before you dive into the pool of paint swatches, ask yourself how some of your top colour choices make you feel, and more importantly, how do you want to feel in your space? The same room can have a completely different ambience in a new hue. For example, cool colours such as blues and greens, tend to invoke feelings of tranquility, reliability and calmness. On the other hand, colours on the warm side of the spectrum tend to act as stimulants. Reds, oranges and yellows are known to elicit feelings of excitement, warmth and playfulness. Consider this when making your colour choices.
Follow Your Bliss
Keep in mind that colour resonates with different people in different ways. The short answer to the colour quandary is this: It’s all about personal preference. If you love it, then it’s right.
Vibrant & Fresh Palette
In this small but sweet urban space, we played with a combination of colours to bring out the homeowners’ sense of youth and modern fun. The home is fresh and bright, and perfectly on-trend with a crisp, off-white backdrop that enhances its sense of spaciousness. High ceilings, large windows and neutral walls play perfectly with the complementary palette of warm greys peppered with pops of coral, blue and green, with a vibrant sunny yellow taking the spotlight.
Yellow was a great choice for this home and its owners. The colour’s association with sunshine, warmth and joy is exactly what the homeowners wanted to feel when spending time in the space. While yellow is a dominant colour choice, we used it sparingly and in a very understated way, so as not to overdo or overwhelm. As they say, everything in moderation.
Subtle & Strategic Placement
To create a sense of continuity throughout the home, we used the same sunny shade of yellow in every room, albeit in small doses. It instantly draws attention, and lends a wonderfully warm hint of sunshine to the otherwise cool and contemporary backdrop. The cosy living room enjoys some yellow sofa cushions and some subtle, strategically placed, sunny accessories tucked away on the bookshelf. As you move through the kitchen, a yellow tea kettle perched on the countertop is just enough to catch the eye. In the bedroom, we echoed the same shade with some pillows and a playful pillowcase. A modest sitting area is inviting and instantly alluring, though you may not immediately know why… (Hint: it’s definitely the yellow!) We even carried our colour theme into the great outdoors, onto the balcony barbecue area, where a couple of yellow cushions invite sunny thoughts, even on cloudy days.
“Reds, oranges and yellows are known to elicit feelings of excitement, warmth and playfulness.”
Our clients absolutely love their bright, sunny interiors, which brighten up their days in British Columbia’s often-grey climate. The look is fresh and urban, yet fun – a true reflection of their personalities.
It’s easy to introduce colour into a neutral space, despite common fears. In fact, it’s essential if you want to create a space that has that little extra oomph that you can’t quite put your finger on. Try some colours on for size before you commit. Buy small paint jars of your top contenders, and test them out on a wall. Spend some time with each hue to see how you really feel about it. Remember, colour is subjective, and you make the rules.
Award-winning designers, Phyllis Lui & Aleem Kassam, are the principal designers for Kalu Interiors. For more than a decade, this Vancouver-based design firm has become known for creating thoughtfully curated interiors that enhance and inspire how you live. The firm provides bespoke design services for clientele throughout Canada. kaluinteriors.com