Colour is hugely important when it comes to designing a space. Each colour has it’s own properties that affect the atmosphere of a space without us really realising. As with anything, too much of one colour without it being broken up with other colour or texture, will undoubtedly have negative effects. That can be explored another time. Along with choosing the correct colours for your space to convey a particular atmosphere, the balance of those colours is the next crucial step to make those colours work to your advantage.
Examples of colour balance
When I say balance, I’m referring to the percentages of the amount of colour in a space. For example in the image below, white is the main colour making up 60% of the colour palette. The black is the next, making up 25% of the colour palette. The red makes up let’s say 10% and the green of the flowers make up 5%. Of course these are average figures but it gives an idea of what colour balance is. One colour should be the dominating colour such as a neutral colour in the lighter ranges like whites, off-whites, creams, and beiges; these provide a nice backdrop for other bolder colours and textures to sit upon. The colour with the least percentage, i.e. the red here, is the accent. Everything in between is secondary and tertiary.
In the image below, black is the dominating colour, white is next and the taupe shade of the rug is the final accent to break up the stark contrast of the black and white.
In the image below, we see the same balance with yellow being the accent.
There is nothing stopping you using more than three colours in the palette but be sure to keep in mind the balance, to have dominating and accent colours.
This interior above still has a light base, the green is the next colour, then the pink, then the orange and then the leopard print pattern. Having coloured furniture and window treatments is a good way to make up percentages of colour, as is large rugs or large coloured art if you are slightly nervous of painting or wallpapering a wall a bright colour.
Break the rules
As with any rules, they are made to be broken. This interior below is rather eclectic and the colour balance here isn’t as important as the mix of styles and finishes. There are pops of colour but the main focus is the mix itself and not the balance of colour.
Ways to pop in an accent colour
One of the easiest ways of adding pops of accent colours is cushions. It is a relatively inexpensive way of lifting a space and can easily be changed or added to when the mood strikes.
Other ways of adding pops of colour onto a neutral base is window treatments. Curtains can get more expensive so this decision should be taken with care.
Other ways are rugs and art as previously mentioned. To create further depth, when adding in pops of colour like cushions or curtains, that there are one or two accessories in the same colour range to tie them together such as glassware, throws, small pieces of art etc.
Enjoy colour balancing!