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  • Alexandra Hegard

Using colour to brighten up your life or your home

Many people are afraid of using colour while others use too much, sometimes...

Professionally I am not really a fan of living by rules, as both design and taste is fluid and something that works for you may not work for someone else. This was probably one of the first lessons I learned when I started In the business many years ago. Helping clients whether commercial or private to envision their dream architecture or design concept, is one of the best and most rewarding aspects of being an interior architect. Enabling someone to think beyond the constraints of everyday conceptualizing and reach for something higher. That is I believe, where the magic happens and a designer and client reaches his or her full creative potential.

This brings me back to colour and how your everyday thinking may inhibit your choice of colours around you. Whether it is the clothes you wear or the walls that surround us, colour is truly all around us. Even white is a colour. There are also an enormous array of tones to each colour, that changes the way we visually perceive them and the feelings they transmit to the surrounding environment.

Imagine walking through a building with room after room in different colours. First white, then blue, pink, orange, red, green, brown, purple. Most people will think about an empty room filled with one strong version of the colour painted on the walls. The trained individual should see the whole colour concept of the room or think what tone it is on instinct. There are so many aspects to understanding how a colour will affect the way your room or building will feel. Is it best used on the walls or on a dominant sofa or piece of art?

This is where people often get scared or go for the safe, tried and trusted. As the untrained design mind often thinks of this new colour as overpowering or difficult to place, and cannot conceptualize how this colour can be discreet or a statement, depending on how it is used. A person who dislikes purple could end up loving an aubergine rug with surrounding muted colurs. As this purple colors has more of an earthy under stated tone than the bright and bold colour we usually perceive as purple.

If a clients is afraid of colour I usually try to find out whether this is just a case of not having been around enough, or a genuine wish to live in the monochrome or one colour palate world.

More often then not clients who say they don't like colour, will find something they do like in almost every aspect of colour but the tone and use must be right for them. Same thing with the colorful maximalist, they can absolutely love a toned down look, but the concept must have textures, design and daring for them to get the same warm and inspiring feeling from the room.

One of our jobs as designers is to help you find the ideal use and concept of colours for you. One you may never have thought you loved. So don't categorize yourself until you have reached your full design potential, or you may be selling yourself short. Try surrounding yourself with different shades from a colour map that has many tones of each colour or hanging beautiful clothes on your wall and see if you bond with some surprising tones.

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