Thursday, 31 March 2011

Creating illusions in home decorating

In strangely proportioned rooms, colour can be your best solution, this mostly happens in houses that are converted in flats. When a large area gets divided in smaller ones, the result might be an unusual one, for example high ceilings can make a room feel smaller, so the cheapest way to improve it is to use colour cleverly.  Also, light painted walls reflect light, so the room will appear larger and brighter, while dark painted ones will have the opposite result.
  •    Make low ceilings seem higher by painting the walls in a dark colour and the ceiling in a light one or white, floor length drapes will also help.
  •   High ceilings painted in a darker colour than the walls will reduce the height of the room
  •   To make a room that is long and narrow look wider, paint the longer walls in a cool blue or green, so that the walls appear to regress and paint the narrower walls in a deep, warm shade, and they will appear to advance.
  •  If a room is small, paint the walls in a warm colour to create a feeling of cosiness and add mirrors to create an illusion of space.
  •  In a small house or flat, link the colour of the corridors to match with the room colour and remove doors to achieve an open-plan area.
  •  Pint undesirable pipework the same colour as the background, preferably in a matt finish paint because the shapes don’t catch the light as much.
  •   Make a simple square room more interesting by adding blocks of colour, stripes, stencilled moulding and designs.
  • Striped walls can help to visually spread out a room and make it look larger or higher, and will also give a very contemporary look.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011


As a metallic, silver is the colour of the moon, it symbolizes security, intelligence, maturity, conservative, balance and also has a feminine influence.  For instant cool in a room, silver is the right colour to choose, it is sharp with a reflective mirrored surface and it compliments most other colours. 

It is the colour of metals such as stainless steel, aluminium, chrome, tin, zinc and galvanised steel; and they have been making a stand in home decorating since the appearance of the industrial style.  Silver is mostly preferred in the kitchen, where it dominates as stainless steel in sinks, appliances and work surfaces.  Chrome also has its place in the kitchen as the metal of toasters, kettles and food mixers.

 In other parts of the house you can introduce silver as accessories or even on walls matched with other colours such rosy pink, purple and lilac. It works well with soft fabric textures that share silver’s reflective abilities like silk and velvet. For a soothing and relaxing result mix silver with white and lavender and add some crystal accessories and mirrors, this will give the room an air of elegance.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011


Gold is the richest and most luxurious metallic colour and it’s perfect for framing and emphasizing in decorative schemes. Gold was used in Europe from the 16th century onward for furniture gilding; the late Victorian designers were inspired by the Chinese style as they used gold in filigree patterns on red and black lacquered furniture.
Although gold is a bold colour you can tone it down by using it in low quantity and instead of the high gloss finish go for the antique gold which looks classic matched with pastels. Gold also works well with earthy colours such as cream and dark brown if you want to go for glamorous, or as a highlight on white painted wood. 

You can use gold when you want to make a big impact as part of an ethnic-inspired colour scheme, but just as a finishing touch. India, Morocco or Thailand cultures can be the perfect examples and can be used as inspiration for colour schemes as their fabric and accessories are often patterned with gold.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Black and White – Sophistication

Black and white offer a solid contrast and if you are brave enough to use them over large spaces, they can make a bold statement. Black and white were extremely used in the 1920s, especially for party rooms, and in the late 1950s and early 1960s by artists who painted their studios white (due to the ability of white walls to reflect light) , and the youth culture which adopted the style for their homes.
 The theatrical effect of black and white can be cold and plain sometimes if not spiced up with colourful accessories and exciting paintings to contrast the light background. 

The Japanese style is quite successful in the West as it’s a great example of strong contrasts. The difference is that black is impersonated by a very dark brown and white has a shade of yellow or cream.  The Japanese have also perfected the art of minimalism by using just a few pieces of wonderfully shaped furniture whose shape is exposed by the strong contrasts between the dark objects and their light backgrounds.


Friday, 25 March 2011

Hot Pink – Passionate

Passionate pink is a feminine colour; it’s hot, spicy and a courageous choice for home decorating but will grant a room instant sex appeal and vitality. It is the colour of dazzling cactus colour flower, where extreme visibility is needed to attract pollinating insects to ensure the plant’s survival.

It gives an exotic appeal as the colour pigments have been made in India and the Far East for centuries.  The best examples of beautiful hot pink are Indian saris, Chinese silks and shimmering satins. It’s the perfect colour for a love nest, but is also a fun colour to use in other parts of the home.  Because, like red, hot pink will make a room look smaller, it should only be used where that is the desired result.

In the East this colour is frequently used with gold, but this should be done carefully, as an extra, or the effect may not be pleasant. Mixing it with other strong colours, like crimson red will keep it spicy. With other intense colours like purple, emerald and peacocks blue will create an ethnic look. Patterns like swirls, geometrics and stylised flowers in hot pink, yellow, orange, apple green and white proclaim an allegiance to 1970s revival style. This colour is best suited for use in a room where there is limited natural daylight or where the room is mainly used in the evenings.

Pale Pink - Soothing and rejuvenating

Pale pink is a wonderfully flattering colour. It seems to suit all complexions and bring a warm glow into any room. This is the colour of the inside of a seashell, apple blossom in springtime, strawberry ice cream and many other pretty things. Pink is associated with sweetness and innocence. It is a life colour, a signal of health and well-being.

Pink is a colour well-suited for use over large areas. Its character is influenced by other colours- with dove grey, it is sophisticated; with pale lemon yellow, white and powder blue, it is nursery soft; but with faded aqua and terracotta red, it is typically Mediterranean. Pink is the natural colour of freshly plastered walls, a delicious warm earthy pink with a rustic character that is enhanced by deeper terracotta shades, natural wood and deep greens. Mixed with verdigris and ochre, it is reminiscent of faded pink villas on Tuscan hillsides.

Rosy pink is softer and sweeter, the colour of cascades of rambling roses around cottage doorways. Pink need not always be seen as exclusively feminine and can be very bold and striking in the deeper salmon shades that are tinged with orange.
It is easiest to imagine a colour when we have several sensory references. We recall the taste, smell, appearance, sound and texture and create a perfect imagine in our mind’s eye. It is impossible to think of sweet peas of also conjuring up their scent. Each of these pale pinks tickles the senses in a different way. Rose pink mixes well with deeper reds, white, sky blue, and pale and mid green. Salmon pink, black and cream create a smart look. Pale looks equally delicious in chalky distemper paint or high gloss.
Pale pink is an undemanding colour it live with and is useful for softening hard edges and creating a rosy glow. It is adaptable background colour that feels equally at home in the nursery or the office. Baby pink looks sweet with white or cream and other pastel shades, but it can also look sophisticated alongside steel grey; or funky with sharp lime green or turquoise. Pale pink with black shouts 1850s glamour, pink gingham has a cute French style and plaster pink is popular in the Country Style palette.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Brown - Comforting

Comforting brown is the colour of wood, leather, crumbly earth, dogs and horses, freshly baked bread, coffee beans, pebbles in a stream, bowls filled with nuts and, maybe best of all – chocolate.
It is a colour that is always warm, whether combined with red, green or yellow. Brown appears somewhere in most rooms as the colour of polished wood, but it often not qualified as being part of the colour scheme. The Victorians, especially the Arts and Crafts movement, used brown a lot for wallpaper, fabric and carpet patterns and it was the dominating colour of homes in the 1940s, in a very dull way during the war years. In the 1970s, orange and brown was the trendiest combination, and now brown has returned in fashion as part of the natural palette.

Dark brown works well with soft sap green, taupe and olive for eco-style room; or contemporary dark wooden furniture mixed with pale jade and deep plum walls. Deep chocolate brown and cream striped walls look delightful in a dining room, and red-brown floor lies infuse a kitchen with warmth. It looks good with khaki greens and creams and also bright colours and cool shades of lilac and turquoise. 

Green - Harmonising

Green is the predominant colour of our planet from outer space. Green is the colour of youth, growth, ecology, relaxation, balance, recovery and optimism. It connects us to nature. Green soothes disturbed emotions and provides restful sleep, which makes it the ideal colour for a bedroom. It is a favourite colour in hospitals where its calming influence counteracts fear and trauma.
Green is perfect foil for most other colours, but using several greens together it is best to keep to light and dark tones of the same green. Sea green and olive, for instance, make a sickly combination, as do yellow-green and pine. If in doubt, search through a plant manual for the best green combinations – nature never gets it wrong.

Although green is a cool colour, it will not make a room feel cold so long as there are warm contrasts. The lighter greens feel most youthful, refreshing and full of positive energy, just like new growth in springtime. They look good in a contemporary-style room with plum-purple and chocolate-brown. Olive, moss, lime and lichen are other unusual shades of green with contemporary edge.

Sage is a soft-grey which is very easy on the eye - a most restful, cool, meditative colour. Sage itself is the herb associated with wisdom and memory. Muddy green is thought to be depressing because of its associations with decay in nature, and lime green can induce feelings of nausea. Leaf green is the best colour of new shoots, full of freshness, hope and energy. Pine green can be cold unless brightened with contrasts. A deep green looks good with burnt orange and cream.

To appreciate green’s harmonising effect, think of a garden filled with many different colours flowers. It is the green foliage around all these colours that allows them to blend so well together. Use green in the same way when you decorate, and you will find that the results are invariably harmonious.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Yellow - Sociable

Sociable yellow is a colour that makes us feel happy, warm and gregarious. Yellow glows and is light-reflecting, which makes it a very useful colour for rooms with a northerly aspect where its effect is one of the true colours and carries with it all the positive qualities of brilliance and light. Symbolically, yellow is associated with intellect, understanding and knowledge. Buddhist monks wear saffron yellow robes as a sign of their spiritual enlightenment. Yellow is strongly affected by the colours used alongside it – with black it is at its most luminous; with violet it looks hard; with orange it appears purer, and with green radiates life and energy.

Yellow and blue can be an uncomfortable combination unless the shade of blue is softened with grey. Red and yellow are celebratory colours, full of fun and very bold. Use yellow in a large kitchen where meals are prepared and serves – you will be guaranteed a lively atmosphere and good conversation at meal times. In a playroom it will encourage generosity and good behaviour, and in a work room it will encourage imagination, creativity and communication.

 Sunshine yellow radiates warmth, confidence and goodwill. This effect id intensified and energised by a glossy reflective surface. Pale primrose yellow has a soft feminine character. Deep mustard yellow is heavy and rich, a match for powerful colours like scarlet and purple. Creamy custard yellow goes with everything - it is comforting, warm, friendly and unchallenging. Lemon yellow has a hint of sharp green in it, and brilliance but no warmth. Its coolness can impact an air of sophistication, especially when used with black.
Decorating a room yellow is like sending out an ‘open house’ invitation. It is very reflective and on a bright day will infuse a room with yellow light. Earthy yellow is warm and looks good in a farmhouse setting or a sophisticated living room, while primrose yellow is fresh and suits a light, airy contemporary style. Citrus yellow is the coolest shade with a lime green cast. It is sharp as a lemon and works well with bold contrasts. Each yellow is unique but all are convivial.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Purple - Serenity

Being surrounded by lilac and purple is said to help us achieve serenity. But purple is the colour of contradictions – it also has a strong associations with royalty and mourning. Purple is linked to creativity and it favoured by artists, musicians and those who tend towards an eccentric, bohemian lifestyle. It is believes to have a negative influence on people with susceptible temperaments, and those prone to depression should avoid it.
The colour ranges between blue and red, with blue-violet at one end and maroon at the other. Violet is the darkest and deepest colour of the spectrum. The more red a purple contains, the warmer and more comforting it becomes. Deep purples are too heavy for large areas, but are tremendous for adding depth, richness and colour accents to a room.
Pale lilacs, lavenders and violets have opposite effect, and are excellent for walls and ceilings. Used in harmonious colour schemes, their effect is cool but comfortable, making them ideal for bedrooms and studies. In a room used for more sociable activities, the colour works best with warm contrasts, such as earthy oranges and deep yellows.

Royal purple is the colour of robes and pageantry. It is associated with wealth and luxury of the highest order. The look and feel of silk, velvet and satin are well suited to purple. Violet is the deepest spectrum colour. Decorating with this colour indicates confidence with contemporary style. Lavender is a soft pale purple, which is infused with relaxing meditative powers. It can be masculine or feminine, and is enhanced by proximity of blues and greens.