UncategorizedColour – Who has the final say in your house?

March 28, 2024by cheree

Do you ever feel like the enemy behind the firing line when deciding on a colour with your partner?  At the beginning of our six-year renovation with my partner Paul, it felt like we were in opposite trenches.

Fast forward a few years, and after learning a ton more about colour plus working with couples making big colour decisions this year, I can now simplify a colour process. So, here is the colour framework I use on my consults (and Paul ūüėČ). Please enjoy and share if you find it useful.

Step 1: Assess

First off the bat, when I walk into the room with a couple, I’ll take stock of the room. I’ll ask what they love about the room and what they dislike about it. At this step, it’s always good to rule out any colours that bother them. I also ask them what colours would they like to see in this room. Sometimes, I do get I dunno (don’t fret if you are also at this stage); step 3 will guide you.

Step 2: Eliminate

Next, I’ll take inventory of all the items that are staying or going, such as carpet and furniture. It’s also vital to see if there is any colour conflict, especially with neutrals that have undertones.¬†

A neutral is a colour without much intensity or saturation.

Most people think a neutral goes with everything, but this is not always the case due to the undertones. 

A neutral colour or undertone can be warm or cool.  

A customer asked me the other day what is an undertone. I took it for granted that everyone would know this. 

An undertone is any¬†secondary colour you see from the main colour.¬†¬†Usually, if you can’t decide what the muted colour is, then it’s probably a neutral. Is it blue, or is it grey? Oh, wait, it’s a Blue-Grey neutral.

* Colour conflict usually arises when you combine clean and dirty colours or when you combine two or more neutrals with competing undertones.

Here’s my client inventory sheet you can use for your own room.

Step 3: Be inspired to create your colour palette

From step two, identify any bossy fixed-element colours or neutrals in the room that are staying, such as a wall-to-wall carpet. Use this colour as your springboard when finding your inspiration piece. The inspirational item could be a rug, artwork, or even a grannies hand-me-down vase. 

The inspiration piece needs to cover three criteria: (adapted from the Big Design, Small Budget Book) 

1. Do you love it

2. Can you see it from every corner of the room

3. Does it contain three or more colours 

( + one colour from your fixed elements that are staying).

This is how you will create your colour palette.

I have created a 15-second video that will explain this point.

Step 4: Pick three colours you love (together)

For example, from this picture I choose the off-white clouds, green from the landscape, and the rust/caramel colour from the blob on the right-hand side. I related these warm and earthy colours to the brown carpet that was staying in the room.

Step 5: The 60/30/10 Rule

With your three colours, proportion these hues around the room. I did this living room design below for Mum as one of her options using the picture above.

60% РI chose the off-white from the clouds and used it on the walls, armchairs, ivory marble table, and rug. 

30% went to the cognac sofa and rust cushions.

10% green went to the sofa cushion and a portion of the rug.

You don’t have to be a precise mathematician to work out this formula; it’s a general guideline to help newbie designers get started.

So, these are the five steps I use when negotiating color with Paul and my in-house clients.
I hope you find some nuggets in this post. If all else fails and you are still in the river of misery with your partner over your colour selection, hire a professional. It’s what we think about all day and love to do.
Have a colourful and sunny day. Until next time!