On Design – The Art of Colour

by Janice Long, Calla Design – 

One of the reasons I hear people say they love the store is because of the use of colour. I will say that I am a colour afficiondo, but I’m not afraid to use it and recognize the impact it can have in creating an inviting space. 

As I look around my store, most of the furniture is actually upholstered in neutrals – the colour comes from the local original art featured on the walls or the “purple” room here in the store.

Most people stick with neutrals when decorating their homes. For decades, the reason I’ve heard for this is: “in case we want to change.” The reality is, however, most people don’t make big changes unless they are moving or have a life-changing event.

To buy a can of paint in a neutral is the same price as purchasing a real colour. The fastest way to get the biggest impact for change in your room is with wall colour. 

Some of you will choose a colour you’ve had success with before. However, it may not be quite right in a new home, where perhaps the living room now has northern light as opposed to the southern light you had before. Or maybe it’s a colour you saw and liked at a friend’s house. Go out on a limb and choose a colour that defines you and your space.

The possibilities are endless and some people are overwhelmed by too many choices, so where to begin? You can draw the colour from an accent cushion, a beautiful rug or a glorious painting. You were drawn to purchase these for a reason … .

Having chosen the colour palette you want to work with, how do you get the right version of it on the walls? The same shade of paint on four walls of your living room will all look slightly different, depending on lighting (both daylight and artificial). Is this a room slated for an evening look, or do you want it to be something to inspire you throughout the day?

How many of you have multiple cans of paint stored in your basements, with multiple versions of the “desired” colour that are all just not quite right? The finishes you choose also impact the final result. This is where a colour consult can save you both time, money and frustration.

Clients I am currently working with have a pair of spectacular neutral chairs that were lost on a rug of the same colour. They have a stunning painting in the room with an array of rich colours to draw from. We selected a beautiful rug with a much darker base colour to ground the room. The sofa is now the “wow” colour of the artwork, which is red. A custom ottoman is being made using a different fabric and colour to carry the theme. Lastly, a new chair is an additional opportunity to introduce another texture and colour to the room. Accent cushions in multiple pattern/colours from the painting complete the look.

You have probably read or heard a designer say that there should be a little black in every room. Just like the little black dress, less is more, but black can serve to enhance just about any environment. Something as simple as black picture frames can create a stunning feature wall. A black ceiling? Why not? How about black dining chairs or a cocktail table, or maybe the drapery hardware? The most sophisticated way to light an evening room is to have all of your lamp shades in black. If you want to really dazzle the senses, paint all of the walls in one room black. That idea is not for the faint of heart!

You don’t want your home to look like everything was purchased in a day; it should be curated so that it’s a reflection of you. Colour, be it large swaths or that fabulous piece that you brought back from your travels, is a place to begin … .

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