I recently had the pleasure in taking part in a Camberyard panel with Joa Studholme, Colour Curator at Farrow and Ball. Joa is their colour consultant and responsible for creating all colours for Farrow and Ball as well as the wonderful names!
I found this session so inspiring and picked up some wonderful new tips. Joa has just written a fantastic new book Recipes for Decorating, which I would highly recommend. The tips I’ve outlined below are just a few interesting thoughts I picked up from the session, whereas the book is brimming with other ideas.
THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG
I think this is such an important point and the first point Joa highlighted. There are no rules when it comes to colour and decorating. We are constantly being barraged with trends and campaigns about what we should like and should do. I genuinely think there is no “should’ and you should always follow your instinct and go with what you love. Tips are great but not if they make you feel uncomfortable in your home! However, there are certainly some basic ideas that can help you consider how to decorate your home. I only touch on a few ideas here.
THERE IS A SHIFT IN THE WAY WE ARE USING COLOUR IN OUR HOME
The huge popularity of the purely neutral home is starting to wane. With the world being a confusing place right now, we are comforting ourselves in our home. So colours that create nostalgia are becoming popular again. Colour is so closely tied to emotion and can be incredibly nurturing. The best way to connect with colour is work with your instincts. For instance when I chose Inchyra Blue for my home it worked perfectly with wallpaper I had fallen in love with. And it was as simple as that! I wouldn’t choose this colour for one of the larger rooms in my home but for a guest toilet this was a great choice – an opportunity to be bolder without taking myself out of my own comfort zone. Guest bathrooms and toilets are the perfect place to experiment with colour. Once you start to experiment chances are you will then feel more confident to move onto larger rooms.
NEUTRALS ARE MOVING BACK TO EARTHIER PALETTES
The architectural cooler greys are less popular than they were. However, I don’t think greys will go away as they elicit a sense of calm and co-ordinate well with blue colour schemes and brighter accents. But grey can be difficult to work with, often taking on steely icy tones, which can look very cold in certain lights. So choosing grey paint can take longer than selecting other neutrals and you really have to look at large samples at different times of day.
Interestingly many people are returning to trusted colours that were popular when Farrow and Ball was 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.
Take this example of Joa’s White in a historic room. Its earthy red-based tones compliment the historic features of the room. I painted the ceiling in the same colour as the walls, as painting it in a brighter white would have highlighted its low height.
“NEW” NEUTRALS ARE EMERGING
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.
I particularly love Setting Plaster in this kitchen, which was designed by Nicola Harding. The new neutrals are not the stars of the room but add much more warmth than an off white. To avoid it feeling too pink the island was been painted in Railings, which really grounds the space.
My favourites new neutrals by Farrow and Ball are Setting Plaster, Dead Salmon, Jitney and French Gray. They seem to work in every room and have a lovely chalky depth to them.
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. In Joa’s own home she painted the large room Schoolhouse White and introduced brighter tones in clever ways, such as this painted window recess. Then she used stronger colours in rooms leading off this space. With a door slightly ajar this can create a lovely inviting feeling through to the next room.
PAINTING ALL WALLS AND CEILINGS WILL MAKE A ROOM FEEL BIGGER
Once you paint the ceiling white it will automatically cut the room down, as your eyes will be drawn to the boundary between the two colours.
The same rule applies to painting walls and cabinets in the same colour. This lovely example of a kitchen in Oval Room Blue demonstrates this point perfectly. The reason it works is that this room is flooded with natural light. This scheme in a badly lit room would feel overwhelming.