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Colour blocking

Sarah Warwick 23/09/2015 09:22:13 Inspiration

Hot on the catwalks last year, colour blocking has hit homes big time this year. Here’s how to use it (the right way) in your rooms to get maximum impact

Colour-blocking? What? Where? Why?

What is colour-blocking? On the catwalk, it might be an orange dress with blue opaque tights and blue shoes. In other words, blocks of often shocking colours juxtaposed. Indoors, you might like to go for a subtle approach, with one bold or strong colour amongst whites or neutrals. Or, you can really embrace the look and use blocks of bright colour to enliven an otherwise plain or boxy space, one that has few architectural features, little natural light or a truly terrible view outdoors (more on that later).


How to make it work

Going the whole hog like in this room? Here’s how to get it right with our three golden rules:

1 Use one dominant shade over the greatest surface area (such as the focal wall) and no more than three accent colours (excluding white – you can use bucket loads of that) over smaller areas (such as slivers of wall or on furniture or accessories).

2 Choose colours with the same tones – all bolds, all pastels or all brights – to get this look right. Colours SHOULD be competing with each other (which is the opposite of what we might usually advise).

3 Don’t overdo it. It’s better to gradually assemble the scheme adding one colour at a time, check the effect and move on, rather than plan it all rigidly on paper and end up with a scheme that doesn’t work in the space or is simply overpowering.


How to add pattern

Want to add pattern to your scheme? More golden rules, people:

1 Choose one main colour against a background of white – here it works brilliantly on our Colour Matched shutters and orange armchair. If you do add colour at a window (a good way to detract from a dreary view), remember that it will throw a subtle glow into the room, too).

2 Add two accent colours maximum (it helps if one is a neutral, like the deep greys in this room).

3 Then, you can add pattern in spades in your neutral shade, and in handfuls in your bold and accent colours.

Drink this room in with your eyes everyone, it’s a colour-blocking masterclass.


How to do it subtly

Got an all-white space you want to liven up, but not too much? There are lots of ways you can colour-block in such a room, but the most effective is to use a dramatic colour on just one or two areas of wall. It might be on a feature wall, in a pair of alcoves, on a wall next to a window where the light will hit it, or at the window itself – in the form of our Colour Matched shutters. Want to keep the walls and windows white? Go for it, and choose a brightly coloured floorcovering, floor paint or rug.


How to colour-block with furniture

A very effective (and effort-free) way to colour-block is to add a boldly-coloured piece of furniture to an otherwise neutral space. Big orange sofa in a white living room? Love it. Yellow chair in a bedroom? Job done. Brightly painted dining table in a plain dining space? Sorted.


How to colour-block on a budget

Whether you’ve got no funds to spend, no time to decorate (or your landlord won’t let you) or no desire to make too much effort, you can still create the effect with accessories, which, with luck, you may already own. Here’s a good example – a group of vases and flowers with one main colour theme and a couple of competing accent shades. You can apply the same rules to just about any other accessory to create the same end result, whether a load of sofa cushions, a wall of pictures, even a pile of plates on a kitchen shelf.


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Want to find out more about our Colour Match Service or need advice on shutters? Contact us or call us on 0800 195 0 196