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Four surprising colour tricks from interior designer Anna Thomas

12th January 2022

Anna Thomas is an interior designer and founder of Creative Interiors. She spoke at our Members' Mastermind in November about the use of colour and we absolutely loved her presentation. We wanted to share some of the key points we took away from her talk. Colour is so powerful in interior design, but many people find the choice overwhelming, all too often opting for a "neutral" colour palette painting entire properties brilliant white or the dreaded magnolia. Here are four top tips to help you avoid falling into that common trap: 

No yellow in bedrooms 

For us to experience colour there needs to be light, and the lighting in a room has a huge impact on the colour. Each of us perceives colour in our own unique way but we can make generalisations about how different tones make us feel. Whereas warm colours are joyful and passionate, cooler tones are more tranquil and calming.  

Yellow is welcoming, so it makes a good choice for front doors and hallways. However, it can also be quite stimulating so is not the best choice for a bedroom. Many expectant parents paint nurseries yellow but babies have been shown to cry more in yellow bedrooms! 

In contrast the cool spectrum is peaceful and lowers blood pressure. Blue is good for concentration and could be a great choice for a relaxing home office. Introducing green to any scheme whether through paint or plants is a great thing to do as it reflects nature and is very grounding. Red is a bold choice but the right shade could work well in a dining room, stimulating appetites as well as the conversation.  

Embrace the darkness 

The quality of light differs throughout the day and throughout the seasons. Morning light tends to be bright but also slightly cooler. South-facing rooms get the most light and warmth and in contrast north-facing rooms tend to be dark and cold. Rather than fighting against it, Anna recommends embracing the darkness by opting for really deep rich shades to create a cosy environment and introduce some warmth. 

West-facing rooms also tend to feel shady. They can take quite bold colours like peach or apricot which will feel more neutral at the start of the day and then come into their own as the sun moves around feeling very warm and relaxing. 

Don’t paint your ceilings white 

It’s so easy to paint everything brilliant white, and many property developers fall into this trap, thinking it’s a safe "neutral" choice. But you need to think more carefully about who’s going to be living in the property. For example, people with autism could find white very overwhelming and quite depressing.  

Anna would also avoid painting ceilings brilliant white, preferring to think of them as the fifth wall and an opportunity to introduce some warmth to a room. White is quite a clinical colour, so why do we always use it on the ceiling? Using a different colour can make the room feel a lot more welcoming - be adventurous or explore the huge range of different shades of white to find something warmer. 

White isn’t the only option for woodwork either. Light colours give a more spacious feel but you don’t need to limit yourself to white. In a small room painting everything the same colour can make the space feel bigger. So match the walls, woodwork and door. If you’re going with neutrals you could consider painting the ceiling the same colour too. 

Don’t paint sample patches on the walls 

Everyone does this but they can be very hard to cover up afterwards (especially if you’re trying to paint over dark patches with a lighter colour). If you get some lining paper and paint that instead you can move it around the room and see how it looks in darker corners, as well as in the light. Make sure you look at it at different times of day too as the quality of light will change. 

You can then use swatches to remind yourself of the colour (we don’t tend to store them very well in our heads). A mini portable mood board of colours and fabric samples can be an invaluable asset to take out with you if you’re sourcing soft furnishings for the room to see what will go well rather than relying on your memory. 

We hope that gives you some food for thought for your next renovation project, it certainly did for me. If you’d like to watch Anna’s talk, it’s available to all property members and you can sign up or login here

Photo by Christina Rumpf on Unsplash

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