How to Apply a Colour Scheme – a designer’s tips

How to Apply a Colour Scheme – a designer’s tips

In my last post I offered three key tips on how to choose a colour scheme.  These included; basing a colour scheme around your favourite colour.  Alternatively, you could choose a colour scheme based on colours that lend themselves well to your preferred interior style.  The last tip was choosing a colour scheme based on your existing pieces.  Then using Google to find suitable colour palettes. 

This week I want to share my experience on how to apply the colours from your colour palette. Using a real example from a residential project I completed I will explain how to apply colour.   The design strategy for this project was an interior style goal of Minimal Scandinavian with a colour scheme of grey, black, white, mustard.

Basic Colour Rule

There is a basic colour rule which goes like this – a colour scheme starts with three colours.  In the example above the three colours would be black, white and grey.  You can build on that with an accent. In the case of my client, the mustard colour was the accent.  You can further build on this by adding a metallic accent such as gold, copper, chrome.

With your basic three colours they are applied in a space with the following ratio.  Sixty per cent of the volume of the space are the walls, so that would be white (or possibly grey). Thirty per cent of the volume might be the sofa.  Whatever the focal piece of the space is, will take up thirty per cent of  a colour from your colour scheme, in this instance you might have a grey sofa.  Finally, ten per cent of the volume of the space would be décor such as cushion and throws, which take up the accent colour.

Key to remember is to start with three colours and apply them in a 60-30-10 ratio.

How I Applied My Client’s Colour Scheme

For my client’s living room, the white from his colour scheme had to be the walls (60%).  As he was renting, and he couldn’t change that surface.  So, I specified a grey sofa (30%), a grey and white cushion and added mustard through the throw and print 10%.

Black was also part of the colour scheme, so I introduced this colour through a black bench seat / TV unit, the print had a black frame and the console table had a black steel base.

Once you decide on how to apply the three base colours of your colour scheme you can slowly build on this, remembering that balance and repetition are key.


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