I always see September with that Back to School feeling that makes you want to start home projects afresh. This year I feel that more than anything after a long time spending so much time at home. The seasonal shift also starts to make you feel slightly different about your home. What you might love in summer can feel a little cold perhaps as you start to yearn for more welcoming tones. So, as you move through each season how can you create colour schemes that work for all of them? And also reflect your personality too?
In this article, I will outline some simple tips and share experience of failsafe colour schemes that work across the seasons.
START WITH THE FEEL YOU WISH TO CREATE
For your home to work for you across all seasons it needs to reflect you. You need to connect back into how you wish your home to FEEL before you even consider how it might look or what colours you will use. Colour is so closely tied to emotion and can be incredibly nurturing. The best way to connect with colour is to work with your instincts. And if you connect with colours they will work for you all year round.
Before planning the look, start with the words that encapsulate the feel you’d like to create. Examples of words might be Calm, Relaxed, Nurturing, Welcoming, Joyful and Fun. Pick three words for your room and write them down. Then look for inspiration whilst considering those words. You’ll start to see themes in terms of colours, patterns and textures you are drawn to. You can do this whilst you are out and about and snap pictures on your phone. If you are looking for a more calming feel inspiration from nature will always make you feel grounded. Also, look back to a favourite special holiday or a restaurant. Be wary though of literally translating a hotel feel into your home. It doesn’t work! Instead, consider what the feel was that you loved.
The other way is to flick through magazines and simply tear out images that make you stop. Don’t analyse it too much. Go with what you are drawn to and your instincts will do the work. Then keep these images in a scrapbook or a box file. You’ll be much more drawn to images doing this than you will by scrolling through Pinterest or Instagram. Pinterest and Instagram will keep showing you similar images because its algorithm is designed to show you what they think you’ll like. The longer you spend on these platforms the more confused you can get. Of course, they do offer inspiration but set yourself a time limit!
CONSIDER NEUTRALS WITH EARTHIER UNDERTONES OR A “NEW’ NEUTRAL
Interestingly many people are returning to trusted colours that were popular when Farrow and Ball were relaunched in the 1990s. These earthier palettes work well in period homes, particularly those with beams. I just don’t find the grey palettes tone with oak beams, plus light is often such an issue in old homes. I would normally choose from Farrow and Ball’s Traditional or Red Based neutral groups. Their website outlines which colours make up each palette.
When we think of neutrals we tend to think of whites, taupes and greys for instance. But there is now a trend towards using dusky pinks and sage greens for instance. These are wonderful backdrops to warm inviting interior schemes.
The new neutrals are not the stars of the room but add much more warmth than an off white. My favourite example is Setting Plaster by Farrow and Ball. You can pair this with most colours and it goes! But has more warmth than a classic white and works throughout the seasons.
IF A ROOM HAS A LOT OF LIGHT THEN EMBRACE THE LIGHTNESS
If a room is light an assumption many people make is that you should choose deep
colours. With the idea being that the room can take strong colours. However, the opposite can be true. If the room is light and large then make the most of this light and keep it airy. Then introduce colour through fabrics and rugs instead. This is particularly true for rooms where you spend the majority of your time in the day. For instance, your kitchen. Keep bolder colours for rooms where you retreat at night and light colours for rooms where you spend your days.
If you go for a neutral or “new neutral” then build colour in other areas of the room. I normally build up my colour palette by layering different fabrics and introducing pattern. In this room, I wanted to highlight the wonderful tall ceilings and oak beams. For me, if I’d painted in a bold colour it would have distracted from those lovely features. The colour palette in this room is Stone by Paint and Paper Library.
THE LIGHT IN A COUNTRY SETTING AFFECTS YOUR CHOICE OF PAINT
Since I set up my business three years ago one of the major differences I noticed from the London homes is how different country light is. The paints I use for country homes tend to have a different undertone than the selections I would choose for a city home. Now I choose neutrals with warm tones that work with the greener light that is thrown into the room from trees and fields. My favourite paint palettes include the Stone by Paint and Paper Library, Slaked Lime palette by Little Greene, and classic sophisticated whites by Farrow and Ball such as Slipper Satin and Schoolhouse White. I avoid cool blue undertones in my neutral paints as the crisp contemporary feel they bring just doesn’t seem to work in a country home.
I love blue and use it a lot in my schemes because it has a calm undertone. But I often choose tones that have a little green in them such as Livid by Little Greene, shown in this WC. They can be more forgiving with country light and feel warmer than a cool classic blue. That’s not to say you can’t use blue. When I do use a classic blue paint, it would tend to be in a room that has less natural light. This example of Hick’s Blue by Little Greene looks fantastic in the modern country boot room to the right. Great colours that sits in between a green and a blue are Denimes by Farrow and Ball or Oval Room Blue by Farrow and Ball.
If I use blue in a scheme I almost always combine it with a warmer colour too. I tend to choose a neutral for the walls, use a combination of blue fabrics for my basic colours then add accents. Otherwise, it can feel very cold. My favourite accent colours for blues are yellow, raspberry, aqua, duck egg and eau de nils. All of which work wonderfully in a country setting.
I also find these accents work really well with richer toned colour palettes too, such as this mix of teal and raspberry. I kept the walls in this room in a warm neutral tone and introduced the warmth through the fabric and rug. One colour dominates and the raspberry is just an accent. I’ve also included an image of the living room in the same house as it shows you can successfully combine calmer colour palettes with richer colour in another room. What ties both these rooms together is the use of the accents. And accents don’t feel scary when you are introducing new colours!
I hope you’ve found this article useful. Do get in touch if you’d like help creating colour schemes for your modern country home.