Designer Insights: Colour


It’s one of the most common questions I get as an Interior Designer, “what colour should I paint my house?”. It seems as though, whatever suggestion I give, there is always that one person that says “what about beige?”. I’ve even had people send me photos of their freshly painted beige walls asking me what I thought of their colour selection!

What is it about beige that is so appealing? Why do we want our house to look like every other house on the block? Does the thought of colour make us so uncomfortable we are willing to drench our entire space in the most drab pigment known to man? I have since made it my mission to stop the beige epidemic.

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First of all, if this is you, you are not alone. In my 10 years as a designer, I’ve dealt with numerous suppliers that help me to specify appropriate finishes for my clients. One afternoon, I met up with a tile supplier who was showing me the various colours a particular tile line came in. When he got to the “bold colour section” in his pamphlet, he completely passed it over saying, “we don’t carry these colours in North America.” Being pretty green (bad pun) in my career and little naive, I asked, “how come?” “There isn’t enough demand for the product over here,” he said, “they are much more popular in Europe, so we only import the colours in the neutral colour schemes.”

After that conversation and a few projects under my belt, I came to the realization that we don’t embrace colour because we don’t know how to use it appropriately. Using too much of a bold colour can overwhelm a space making it overstimulating. Your eye doesn’t know what to focus on when every wall is asking for your attention. Below are a few tips that might help you steer clear of being a victim of beige-ism and a little inspiration from Pinterest:

Yellow and grey kitchen

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Colourful living room

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Bold and pastel living room

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Use bold colours on one of your walls to highlight the feature wall of the space. This may be the wall you first see when you walk into a room, or the wall you feel is the most integral part of the space. If your prefer a shot of colour tucked away a little, here’s an example in a hallway:

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Bring colour in through accents. Repeat the the colour, or shades of the same colour through accessories. This could be a throw blanket, frames on a wall, candle sticks, pillows, etc.

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Colour can also be brought into a space through furniture and fixtures. Sometimes the most unexpected colours work well together, like this bright yellow shelving unit and the peachy vase. Try using paint chips to inspire different colour combinations. If you prefer the digital sphere, Pinterest has great colour palettes.

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Colour can look different in different types of lighting and on different scales. Always test paint on a wall, or get a sample of the finish you are looking for before you purchase a large quantity. If your room receives a lot of daylight you might want to stick to cooler colours that fall in the blues, purples and greens. The colour temperature of daylight (approx. 5600k ) falls in the cooler range which will enhance these colours. If you have lighting which has a warmer colour temperature (3000 – 4500k) you might want to stick with reds, yellows, and oranges to get the best effect.

Enjoy your next colour selecting adventure and remember, you’re always welcome to connect with us and share your design stories.

Written by: Interior Designer, Michelle Amore ARIDO, IDC, NCIDQ

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