Using colour in predictable ways is a little dull. As interior designer Jonathan Adler says, “colours have strong associations and communicate different things.” As a result, we could all do with paying more attention to how we use them around our homes. I’m not big on red, especially if you’re planning on a red wall but more interesting than the colour itself, is the location that you use it. There has been almost an endless array of paint colours on the market for many years that there are few surprises left when it comes to picking a colour. The next step in bringing your home alive is to switch your attention to being brave with how and where you use it.
On the stairs
Using colour on the stairs is unexpected and therefore fresh. If your property is similar to the home below and the stairs are interrupted mid-way by a door, why not choose to swap colours once you reach the temporary obstruction? What appears to be a home with no trace of personality at first sight is revealed to be completely the opposite.
The colour almost wills you to walk up the stairs and take a look at what’s on offer inside. Greater impact is achieved by the colouring of where the stairs meet the bottom of the wall and the door on the inside. Where the stairs aren’t obstructed and the door is simply positioned at the top of the staircase, the same effect is achieved. There’s no denying that you want to see what the rest of the home has to offer. If you have a handrail, painting it in a different colour can really help set the scene by adding an extra colour pop.
Ceilings and extensions
Choosing to replace the traditional white or cream ceiling is an easy way of adding drama, thanks to the sheer size of the ceiling canvas that you have to work with. It’s easy to forget about ceilings, but remember this is the fifth wall in a room to play around with. To give yours just the right amount of nonconformity, extend the paint down the wall so that traditional dividing lines are disrespected. Who knew that it was possible to bring a pipe alive and make it as much of a design statement as a necessary function to keep your household running smoothly?
The fireplace is an obvious focal point in a room. If painting an entire ceiling doesn’t appeal, why not downsize but choose a large enough feature to make an impact. By visually supporting it with a feature wall you’ll anchor the colours into the space. It may sound like a contradiction but be careful not to make the feature wall larger than life, or else the fireplace will blend into the background. Framed trinkets with hints of your chosen fireplace colour are perfect.
Should introducing large doses of colour scare you, build up the colour with drawer identifiers until you’re happy with the frequency. Whether you choose to hook hanging fabric like that within Geronimo Studio, or adorn your draw handles with woven wool, the end result is very similar. It’s the perfect way to bring white furniture alive without having to dust off your paintbrush.
The kitchen fridge
The kitchen is potentially the easiest room in the house to change. Quick improvements could include painting cabinet doors and swapping white chairs for red chairs but my favourite improvement has to be exchanging the dull white fridge for a coloured version. Smeg is renowned for shunning the safe and offering a range of colours from pastel blue to orange and red. The fridge is one kitchen item that we can’t live without so there’s all the more reason to put your own stamp on it and make it look as good as you can.
Adding colour through your bedroom walls or entire bedspread is predictable but isolating a shade to the pillows on your bed isn’t. The optimum bed is inviting so selecting a romantic red or relaxing blue will work wonders in creating that haven that you’ve dreamed about. If you and your partner struggle to agree on paint colours, take it in turns to swap pillow colours – it’s an easy fix that can keep all parties happy!
Inside the cupboard
Opening up a solid door cupboard to be greeted with a splash of colour is invigorating and a fantastic way of becoming accustomed to using colour in a creative and crazy manner. For those of us who don’t like to vary too far from the ordinary, we can rest assured that colour is controlled. It’s not permanently on display.
To make a bolder move, add colour to the back of a cupboard that has its contents on display via a glass door. There aren’t any rules here, so you may find that colouring with lights is preferable to working with paint. It’s a look that works just as well in kitchens no matter what individual style is at play. If your kitchen uses wood extensively, great. Should you have white marble countertops, that’s also fine.
In the garden
Colour is often used as a visual highlighter for an object’s function or detailing. Did you know that red postboxes throughout England were once green but were changed in the early 1800’s after complaints that members of the public kept bumping into them? That said, colour can work well outside when it’s of the same colour group as its surroundings, as long as you add an alternative colour or print into the mix.
These green curtains could easily blend into the background were it not for the white floral print tracing its way down their entire length. At the same time, the bright blue rug and seating covers help lift the area and break up the monotony of the scene – while being careful to keep the tranquillity and natural vibe.
Does your home have a playful relationship with colour? Comment below or send us a photo on Twitter! For help finding a professional painter/ decorator (or electrician for light installations) to inject your property with a healthy dose of colour, post your job and up to three local tradesmen will contact you to quote. Browse their individual profile pages, complete with previous customer recommendations and ratings to help you decide who to hire.