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Brighten Up Your Rooms

Get into colour with Vinny Lee’s book The Colourful Home. crack

Put on your sunglasses because today’s rooms should be splashed with vibrant colour, otherwise they’ll be sad and dated. Get clued up on colour with our guide.

Colour’s back in fashion but even if you’re immune to its décor potential you might be won over by its power to change your mood.

Just as the sight of sunny blue skies or vistas of green fields outdoors may cheer and soothe us, that same effect can be echoed inside our homes by using similar shades for walls or furnishings.

“Choosing the right colour palette for your rooms is a vital part of creating a home,” says author, Vinny Lee, who reveals the psychology of colour and gives practical guidance on choosing shades in her new book, The Colourful Home.

The power of colour

Red: “This hot, emotional colour is associated with energy, passion and desire,” says Vinny. Exposure to it is thought to induce physical changes, such as speeding up the metabolism, which may help improve poor circulation and raise energy levels.

Yellow: Is associated with joy, happiness, intellect and energy.

Blue: Traditionally associated with masculinity, this colour is believed to have the effect of slowing the metabolism and blood pressure and producing a feeling of calm.

Green: Green links to nature and symbolises freshness, abundance, harmony and growth, and it’s reputed to have healing powers.

Purple: Light purple is associated with romance and nostalgia, while dark purple has royal connotations of wealth and solidarity, but may also be connected with feelings of sadness.

Orange: Orange is a vigorous and vital colour, which represents readiness, enthusiasm and happiness and is a stimulating colour.

Vibrantly red
Red never fails to have an impact but it’s a powerful colour and care should be taken that it doesn’t overwhelm especially in a small space.

“Although red brings drama and excitement to a room, too much pure or undiluted red can promote feelings of overheating and anxiety,” says Vinny.

“It makes a good highlight colour though and can be effective for a focal point such as a chimney breast, in alcoves, or for a statement piece of furniture.”Tip: If you paint a wall in red and it is opposite a window, the natural light will help to tone the shade down, whereas less light will make the chosen shade appear deeper.

Mellow yellow
Zesty yellow is predicted to be one of the most popular colours for interiors in 2010 - perhaps appropriately in our unsettled times, as it’s credited with promoting cheerfulness and positivity.
“Yellow and white makes a fresh, bright combination especially when a room gets lots of natural light,” says Vinny.

“Because it’s a cheerful and spontaneous colour, it isn’t generally suitable as a main colour for a business environment. For example, yellow’s avoided when advertising expensive products, especially to men, because they tend to regard it as a childish tone.”

Cool blues
Blues evoke images of bright skies or seaside landscapes. They can give a fresh feel for a bathroom and light blues particularly may suit bedrooms especially those for children.

“Blues have a calming effect and are refreshing, but they can create a feeling of coldness, especially in our northern hemisphere where the light is less warm, which may make a room feel depressing,” says Vinny.
“So choose your shade carefully, and test it out in different lights. Pin up a blue rug or throw on a wall and gauge your reaction to it over a week or so.”

Tip: Blue suppresses bright and warm colours such as yellow and red, so be careful about using it in kitchens without a good supply of light, as it can affect the way raw ingredients and cooked dishes appear.

Go for green
Green has many hues and this year zingy lime greens are on trend.
“Lime green is a bright, zesty colour that provides an eye-catching background to black and chrome and colourful accessories,” says Vinny.

“Olive green, traditionally the colour of peace, blends well with a natural palette using woods and brown, ochre and yellow shades. But check out a colour swatch in natural and artificial light as it can look predominantly green by day but muddy in electric light.”

Tip: Dark green can be used to dramatic effect in a candlelit dining room or other areas used mostly in the evening. In a bathroom, it can give a feeling of enthusiasm and brightness to preparations at the start of a new day.

Passion for purples
Plums and purples can give an injection of richness and warmth to rooms.
“Purple is said to be a good colour with which to decorate a space where contemplation or meditation is to take place.”
Purple and black is a strong and striking combination and when combined with chrome, these shades can be used to create Art Deco period style. Light purple partners well with dark woods such as mahogany and cherry wood.”