It’s no secret that colour plays a key role in making a house a home, which is why interior designers remain so in-demand for adding the finishing touches to a variety of residential schemes and developments.
Because residential developments can vary greatly in style and requirements, interior designers have plenty to take into account when it comes to specifying colour schemes – with the size, location and age of the property all important considerations in the final design. So whether it’s bringing a show home to life or transforming a unique period property, the chosen colour scheme can make all the difference.
On a practical level, it’s known that dark shades make a space seem smaller while light, cool colours make a space appear bigger. This is a key consideration depending on the type of property, whether it’s a show home which features the smaller-sized rooms often associated with new builds or a spacious period property. But there are so many other factors to consider when specifying interior colours, which can have a huge impact on the end result.
In this article, Kathryn Lloyd, Colour Specialist at Crown Paints, explains how interior designers can balance the desire for on-trend shades with other essential factors in creating a home which is as practical as it is stylish.
While grey hues may still be a popular colour choice for many homeowners, it’s important to also consider palettes beyond this when specifying colour schemes for residential projects.
For show homes, in particular, embracing new and bolder colour schemes – as opposed to the new-build sector’s standard shades of off-white – can be an ideal way to inspire prospective homebuyers. Show homes offer an ideal opportunity to showcase colour palettes beyond classic neutral shades, without the hurdles that may be faced with older properties such as those which are listed and, therefore, require careful consideration and approval.
Style with substance
Many paint brands, like Crown Paints, invest heavily in developing new colour trends each year, using their expertise to take into consideration a number of factors – from wide appeal to the feeling particular shades can evoke.
For example, key trends for spring/summer 2020 include ‘Direct’, which focuses on bright colours being used in an expressionistic way, the optimistic and forward-thinking shades of ‘Rethink’ and ‘Connect’, which has been inspired by the joy of outdoors and its link to wellbeing.
Trends like these are fluid, with different colours and shades all sitting within each palette so that there’s plenty of scope to add individual personality and style, whether that’s at the request of a client or when given full creative autonomy. Because of this, there’s the option to take as much or as little inspiration from trends as desired.
And additions such as lighting, furnishings, materials and finishes all contribute to the overall ambience of a space – meaning colour plays a vital role alongside other elements of a home in order to create the ideal space.
The psychology of colour
Many factors affect how we experience colour, and this is something which is being continuously researched in order for professionals to gain a deeper understanding of colour psychology.
Interpretations and experiences of colour are entirely individual and based on factors like culture, language and memories, all of which can impact the effect colour has on behaviour. This can also vary according to the hue, saturation and lightness of a colour. For example, a lightened shade of red becomes pink – a room which is painted pink will have a different effect than one which is painted maroon – and a navy blue room won’t evoke the same feeling as one which is sky blue.
As a general rule, muted shades are seen as calmer, while vibrant colours are more energetic, and this can have an effect both mentally and physically. It has been shown that bland, ill-thought-out colour schemes can result in people being under-stimulated which can lead to restlessness. An overly busy scheme can cause irritability and over-stimulation can lead to increased muscle tension; showing the importance of choosing the right colour for homes and more specifically, different rooms within the home.
To help prevent over-stimulation, bold colours can be used alongside more muted accessories and furnishings. Try using bold shades in more minimalistic ways, such as for a feature wall which highlights a key characteristic of the room, such as a fireplace. Bolder colours can also be used to delineate the different ‘zones’ of an open-plan house, which is an interesting way to add colour without it being too overbearing.
The importance of interpretations
As well as the psychological responses to colour, interpretations can be deeply ingrained both culturally and individually. For example, colours associated with sports teams can have a huge influence on interior choices, as can symbolism – with many colours being linked to the world around us.
Green, in particular, has become a popular interior colour recently, with its instant association with nature and sustainability; which has led to many paint brands naming green tones after various plants and herbs. And with the well-known link between nature and wellbeing, it’s certainly a colour to consider in the interior design of residential schemes.
Yellow is also linked with the surrounding environment and nature – namely the sun – and is, therefore, often seen to represent light and happiness. While it tends to be thought of as a bold choice in interior design, it makes an ideal accent colour for a modern finish, particularly when combined with dark grey, and mustard-like shades can complement period properties in particular.
Other colours have strong associations too, with red often representing passion, purple associated with luxury and royalty, white being linked with purity and cleanliness, and blue representing tranquillity, for example – and these should also be taken into account when specifying colour schemes for residential properties.