Before You Begin

Designers often find that a single element can really fire the imagination and act as the best starting point. This may be a painting, a much-loved piece of furniture, a richly colored rug or even inspired by a photograph in a magazine. The colors and tones in these objects will give valuable insight into one’s personal preferences, as a color is strongly linked to memory and imagination. Once these colors have been identified, color swatches can be matched and explored, using the principles of color theory. This effectively supports color preferences with the security of knowing what will really work,ensuring you create a scheme that is both personal and theoretically harmonious. It is also worth considering current trends; while you may not be conscious of all the trends in media, fashion, films, and culture they inevitably feed into our preferences for certain shades. This effect is subliminal but is strong never the less. Keeping abreast of current trend directions through design publications and digital media is a good idea. While interiors move at a slower pace than fashion, colors do need to be viewed in a trends context to ensure your choices remain fresh and exciting.

The blank canvas of any unpainted room can be exciting and challenging. Yet, with so many colors to choose from, selection can at times seem overwhelming, even for the most experienced professional. And, while there are guidelines, there are also no real hard and fast rules of color. Some designers may enjoy breaking with tradition and embracing a bold and daring color scheme, while others may be looking for a more classic, subtle approach. Both are equally valid responses, and it is this sheer diversity that makes color so exciting to work with. Perhaps the most important thing to decide before you begin to work on any project is a clear vision of what you hope to achieve. You can then use this information to build a picture in the form of mood boards, material samples and color swatches. Deciding the atmosphere of the scheme is essential in directing the choice of color palette; if you are looking for a harmonious feel, opt for analogous or monochromatic schemes; if you are looking to be experimental and brave, consider complementary or split complementary groupings.