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How to use colour to make an impact

Hi there! I’m really excited to be writing my very first blog post for you, so I’m going to hit the ground running with a topic that I am particularly passionate about: Making an impact with colour.

Now, we all know that colour plays a major part in interior design; in fact it’s often the first thing we feel we must decide on when beginning the process of redecorating. But colour is a tricky customer. It behaves differently depending on how it is applied, the amount and type of light in the room, and its appearance is even affected by the colours that surround it. All these factors mean that a gorgeous shade of green emulsion which really ‘popped’ in that Google pic of a Californian home, can end up looking a little sickly when applied to the shady walls of your downstairs loo! Knowing how and where to apply high impact colours is the key to achieving that dream look.

So if you’re struggling to pick the right colour scheme for your living room, or you can’t decide whether to go for that bold feature wall or keep it neutral, then look no further. I’ve compiled a list of helpful tips to get you on track with your new room…



When you’re choosing your feature colour it’s important to also think about the neutral you’ll be using to balance it out. For example, will you be opting for the crisp contrast of brilliant white, or creating a relaxed look by choosing an off-white in the same colour? A personal favourite of mine is cornflower white which is an excellent neutral for pairing up with stronger shades of blue. 

Next, you’ll need to think about the ratios. In the picture above the designer has created a minimalist look using just two main colours, then adding a few splashes of light turquoise to inject some fun to what could otherwise be quite a serious scheme. The end result is striking and very visually pleasing.


The element of surprise!

Adding pops of bright colour in unexpected places, such as the inside of a lightshade, is a great way to add excitement and interest to an otherwise simple scheme. The contrast of the orange against the dark grey in this picture brilliantly shows how a bright and playful colour can be set against a dark, sensible grey to create a really dramatic look.


Your point of view

Before you commit to painting that lounge wall yellow, it’s worth considering how much time you’re likely to spend facing it! If you’ve chosen the wall behind the TV to be your target feature, then bear in mind (depending on your viewing habits!) that you may be spending quite a lot of time in there looking at it. Are you still going to love that sunshine yellow just as much in three months time? If the answer to that question is maybe not, then it’s worth considering a different wall for your feature colour. Perhaps the one behind your sofa…



So where are you planning on applying those gorgeous bold hues? On the walls? On the floor? This 3D Visualisation of a nursery by Envy Interior Design shows how colour can be applied using temporary features such as rugs, clocks, lights and removable wall decals. Taking this approach means the look can be easily changed up; ideal for little ones whose interests can quickly change as they grow. Also, by using a neutral shade of emulsion, and selecting just one area to be the ‘feature wall’, updating the wallpaper won’t be quite such a major task!


Know your audience

Decorating your home is an exciting time. Getting to inject your own style and personality into every room. There are however some sensible points (yawn) that you might want to think about. Like, how long are you planning on living there? If this is your ‘forever home’, then hey, don’t hold back. But if you’re looking to move on in the next year or two, then will your bold colour choices help to sell the house, or will they put off any would-be buyers? Yes, I know, the colour of the walls shouldn’t be enough to put someone off buying a house, but the fact is that unfortunately it is! So, crack on anyway – paint the kitchen pink, just be prepared for the fact that you may need to start the process again with a more neutral shade before you put the For Sale sign outside.



Choosing paint whilst standing in the shop can be a risky business! Remember, the high ceilings and bright lights in the DIY store may not accurately reflect the lighting in your hallway. There will be areas of the wall that are better lit than others and, as the picture above demonstrates, the same paint colour can look very different depending on the amount of light in the room. You can see that the wall directly behind the lamp is a bright and bold shade of blue, but further along just behind the plant the same paint appears to be a darker and more muted tone. For this reason, I always recommend to my clients that they purchase tester pots of their chosen paint and apply them to lots of different areas of the room, then view them at various times of the day to make sure they are happy before committing. It seems like a long process when you’re excited to get started with a project, but I promise you it’s worth it!


Your mood

Many people believe that the colours around us have an impact on our mood. For example, yellow can make us feel more optimistic, red can give us more energy, and blue can make us feel more calm. Whatever you believe, it is true that our environment can affect our frame of mind, so make sure you surround yourself with the colours you love.

Hiring an interior designer is a great way to ensure that you avoid making any costly colour mistakes. I realise my opinion here may be biased, but it really is true! Aside from having a great eye for colour and space, interior designers have the skills and resources to create bespoke 3D visualisations of your newly designed room. This is fantastic because it means you get to see how the whole scheme will look and change anything you’re not sure about before committing to your design.

At the end of the process you’ll be holding that paintbrush with confidence, knowing that the final result is going to be just fabulous. 

Online Interior Design Service

Envy Interior Design offers a full design service for £149 per room.

Click here for more details.