This week I had a meeting with a client in Glen Iris. We were talking about the colour scheme for the project. The project is a full house renovation. As usual I asked for a base colour scheme of three colours. But my client said she wants lots of colour. Blue, white, yellow, pink, orange, green. She said ‘I know you’re going to restrict me to just three colours but I want lots of interior colours’. My response was ‘of course, but let’s get the basics right first to ensure we can balance the full range of colours’.
Why start with three colours first
I think people understand the idea of a basic three colour colour scheme. We see this all the time in everyday life. From Neapolitan ice cream. With the classic chocolate, strawberry and vanilla colours or flavours. To some nation’s flags that have three colours such as red, white and blue.
We also know that there are colours that simply work well together like black, white and grey or taupe, black and white. There’s something about three colours that just works. The rule of three is a well known technique that works across industries such as writing and interiors.
So working out your three base colours is a crucial first step when developing a design strategy for your interior design or renovation project.
Adding four or more colours
Once you have your base colour scheme, of course you can add four or more colours. For my Glen Iris client what this means is that her kitchen has a base colour scheme of blue, yellow and white but other colours are added.
For example, an orange ceramic vase, a pink trivet or green tea towel. This can work and we talked about Memphis interior style. This style is not so well known in Australia but it’s a post modern style that is all about colour and bold shapes that was popularised in the 1980s.
The key to working with lots of interior colours is balance. Another important factor is repetition. With a basic three colour colour scheme you can easily apply the 60-30-10 rule but with four or more colours you need to think of repetition.
For example, with the client in Glen Iris I would repeat the additional colours of pink, orange and green in the adjacent dining and living zones. Through dining chairs, cushions, rugs, art, feature wall, window treatments, other décor.
There are a myriad of ways to add more than three colours to a space but repetition is key when working with lots of interior colours.
Having said that I do think if you love to DIY it might be easier to stick to the three colour rule and add an accent colour or metallic material. For example you might go with a classic black, white, grey colour scheme with a gold accent.
I can’t wait to create the ‘bright and happy’ space my client wants which we’ll achieve by working with lots of interior colours.