Life After Grey: adding colour back into your interiors

The minimalistic aesthetic of black, white and blonde timber has swept through the international interior design world at an incredible pace. This look finds its roots in modern Scandinavian design, as well as Japanese and mid-century design theories. In my previous blog, Honest Interiors, I discuss the benefits of this aesthetic, yet how fast interior fashion has made a cheap version of it acceptable to the mass markets. Now that many of us have laid grey carpets, installed black window joinery, purchased blonde timber furniture and invested in black and white prints for our gallery walls, colour is coming back on the interior fashion scene and reminding many of us that we actually love colour and want it in our homes.

Where do you begin? There are some gorgeous black and white things in your home that you paid decent money for, so how can you keep some of what you love but add colour without making your home interior scheme seem like it is fighting against itself. The following steps will help you moving forward with adding colour in a harmonious and cost-effective way back in your interior scheme.

  1. To thine own self be true. Polonius, or rather Shakespeare, hit the bulls-eye with this statement.  First things first when making interior decisions: don’t run to grab the latest trend in decor, but rather, reflect on what you personally love. If you’re finding this hard, read my blog that takes you through step by step how to help uncover what you love. A good way is to review your Pinterest boards, Houzz likes or other social media images and find a trend in what you have liked or pinned.
  2. Colours Achieve Moods.
    NCAA FOOTBALL: JAN 10 BCS Championship Game - Auburn v Oregon
    Oregon Ducks Uniform in the 2011 BSC National Championship for NCAA football. Image credit of Uniform Critics.

    Whatever your aesthetic, consider the mood of the look, and this will determine a direction for your colour scheme. If you want an exciting, bold, energizing mood, keep all the grey in your home, and simply add one or two bright colours as accents. A standout example is the Oregon Ducks uniform for the NCAA National Championship against the Auburn Tigers in 2011. While it’s not an interior scheme, the colours work the same. The Ducks uniforms were ground-breaking for design moving forward. They looked like modern athletes, and their uniforms said “We’re here to win”.

    Colour Palette
    Inspirational Image & Colours from Palette Generator. Inspirational Image credit to Once Wed & Laura Gordon

    If you’re wanting a more subdued, relaxing mood, try finding colours that seem a bit muted, such as a duck-egg blue or eucalyptus green. These colours have a grey base, and make them suit grey interiors well, while giving a calming effect. If you’re unsure of what colours to use, find an image with colours you love and upload it to Resene’s Colour Generator. It will pull out specific colours and even give you options to order paint swatches.

  3. Cash Flow. Be honest with your finances, and realistically decide what you can afford to spend on your interiors, even if it’s on a per monthly basis. If you find something that you adore but it’s more than your monthly budget, hold off and then purchase it the next month, guilt free.
  4. Shopoholic. With your home, achieving your ideal look on a limited budget is absolutely achievable, you just need to give yourself time. Shop around for competitive pricing, and don’t rule out second-hand options, as they often get you better quality and originality at drastically reduced prices.

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