When it comes to breathing life into a space, designer Kate Davidson relies on the colours of the rainbow
By Kate Davidson
As a designer, colour is among my most-used, most-loved go-to tools. Colour can be a front-andcentre focal point, or used as a complementary element to everything else that’s in a room. Colour is used to express personality, affect mood and promote well-being. Colour has the power to inspire.
THE ABCS OF COLOUR
The primary colours are where it all begins. That spectrum of stunning shades starts with various combinations of yellow, red and blue—the most basic of the bunch, and arguably, the most intense.
Yellow tends to produce a warming effect, and it has been known to arouse feelings of cheerfulness and stimulate mental activity. For these reasons, yellow is an ideal choice for kitchens, living areas and offices. Yellow is the colour that stands out before all other colours when placed against a black backdrop. It immediately has that “wow” factor, but when overused, yellow can have a disturbing effect. New parents be forewarned: it’s been said that babies cry more in yellow rooms!
Blue is the next primary colour, this one known for its cooling, calming effects. It may even lower blood pressure and heart rate, which is why it’s often used in bedrooms, living rooms and lounging areas. Think “serenity now.” Gentle blues also make for unconventional, yet subtle, neutral hues that go beyond your basic (and let’s face it, sometimes boring) beige. Alternately, rich blues like “peacock” can create a regal look in a space. But beware of the moody blues! Consider the ways in which you’ll use the room, who it will be used by, and how you want people to feel when they’re in it.
Last, but not least, is red. This bold, fiery and intense third primary colour is often used in measured doses, and sometimes in great big ones, too for the brave at heart. Red evokes passion and warmth, and it is right at home in both traditional and contemporary environments. But due to red’s hefty visual weight, this colour is often reserved as an accent colour in small but impactful “pops” to draw the eye.
In various combinations, and with the addition of black and white, yellow, blue and red are the colours that form every other one in the rainbow. When selecting a room’s colour palette, think about the adjoining rooms and hallways connecting them. This is particularly important in open-concept homes. Generally speaking, you want the adjoining areas to all be within the same colour family to maintain visual flow throughout your home.
Another colour-palette consideration today is fixtures. Their finishes should be incorporated into your colour plan, not left as an afterthought, as they sometimes are. A hot trend right now for light fixtures, cabinet hardware and plumbing fixtures is matte black, which you’ll see dominating interiors in the year ahead. The best thing about black is that it pairs well with all colours—you could call it the ultimate neutral—and it offers a resting place for your eyes when scanning a room. Combining different finishes has become a popular design trend, and black pairs perfectly with all other colours and finishes.
Small spaces like powder rooms are an ideal place to inject some fun and be bold with colour and finishes. Kitchens are also an ideal host for pops of personality. Keep in mind that kitchens and baths are the most expensive rooms to refinish, so if you’re not all in, stick to the neutrals and consider alternate ways to get your colour fix.
If you’re looking to incorporate colour without the commitment, I advise my clients to think accessories. Liven up a neutral room with unexpected pops of the trendiest hues. Be brave and bold, and have fun! When Pantone’s Colour Of The Year makes its annual exit in favour of the next hottest hue, you’ll be able to stay on trend without breaking the bank. From bigger-ticket pieces like vibrant window treatments to accent furnishings and small appliances, to low-cost items like pillows, picture frames and a rug, the level of investment—and commitment—is totally up to you.
Colour truly has the power to bring your interiors to life, and is limited only by your imagination.
Accredited designer Kate Davidson is the Principal of Kate Davidson Design Inc.—a multi-disciplinary interior design firm providing complete design, renovating and decorating services for residential and commercial clients throughout the GTA. katedavidsondesign.com