There’s a science behind a room scheme. We wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) just go hitting up the likes of Rockett St George and ramming a random mix of items into our virtual basket without first thinking hard about our end game. A considered scheme is one which takes into account many factors, such as how the room will be used and in particular when it will be used. Perhaps more important even than the latter, is how the room should make its visitors feel, and yet surprisingly, we’re so taken with how the finished product will look that this intrinsic aspect is often overlooked.
Once upon a time, I decided I was taking back some girly space in our home (as a mum to three boys, things are decidedly ‘ungirly’ round our way) and so I set about designing a precious, pretty, sparkly space, thereafter affectionately known as the ‘snug’. For months I pored painstakingly over magazines to help me choose the most delightful chairs, I became an expert on light fittings and all of their associated data (watts, lumens, dissemination of light etc) and across one whole wall I tested every shade of purply-anthracite paint the market had to offer, to such an extent that the painter asked me if it was a paint collage effect I was aiming for rather than a bog standard paint job. I couldn’t wait for it all to come together in my delicious, dark and cosy retreat. And when night time falls, it is exactly that. But truth be told, in the cold light of day it’s not a room I migrate towards – rather it’s a room for a winter’s night. And whilst that’s a wonderful treat to have, it’s not a practical home addition for daily usage. No love have I lost for the room itself – it’s still a total beauty. But it’s the palette; the colour palette, that is. The dark, dramatic decor is unquestionably capable of guaranteeing a haven, a cocooning sanctuary, yet it’s hard to deny that in the harsh light of midday this type of scheme has a tendency to feel oppressive, and oppressive is just not what we’re after. In fact, whether it’s room to cook in, sleep in, or just laze on the sofa in, a colour palette fit to nurture our notions is invariably what is needed.
So how do you go about choosing a paint palette which will create the right ambience for a room’s regular audience? Having recently released a series of nine new colours to add to their already astounding collection, Farrow and Ball’s range of paint is hard to beat. Here are some of my favourites along with a few whimsical hints on how I’d use them to maximise my joy – if I get really lucky I might even get the painter back for a quick room refresh after this…
Earth to You
In a world gone grey, it may seem a backwards step to veer towards the brown based neutral that is Jitney. But truth be told, grey has been done to death. And Jitney, in particular, is a neutral with much more warmth than any grey can muster. Neither cold, nor clinical I shan’t be recommending anyone running to match it with some floral curtains à la 1991, but this muted, sandy shade has a truly sophisticated side. Bring it bang up to date by playing around with fresh and unusual colour contrasts, the likes of its washed-up counterpart, grey, to keep things interesting.
Give it an edge with… a pop of neon, preferably in yellow. And if you just can’t envisage this one working, then trust me; try it on for size. Because with interiors, once you neon pop… well, you’re an addict for life.
A Warm Hug
Perhaps the most vivacious tone from this latest collection, Rangwali certainly doesn’t pull any punches. Described as an exotic, adventurous pink, it’s a wall colour that brings its personality with it, in other words, this colour will do the talking and the rest of the scheme will need to content itself with doing a bit more listening. It’s certainly not one for the faint-hearted, but with its depth and warmth, it has the ability to create a truly luscious lair. An undeniably happy colour, it takes its name from the vibrant powder thrown during Indian festivals and its eastern inspiration is clear to see.
Give it an edge with… massive, oomphy floor cushions, all in jewel tones, from emerald green to regal purple.
Pare it Back
White is white, right? Wrong. You only have to try a few of Farrow & Ball’s oh so popular off-whites such as Dropcloth or Wimborne White to see that each of these whiter shades of pale carries its own strong, unique character, precisely the reason why getting the right one can prove so tricky. School House White, the newest addition to the off-white family, is no exception in the character stakes. Fresh and classic, it also has a soft edge and is said to be reminiscent of the colour of old school houses, hence its name.
Give it an edge with… an artful Ligne Roset style sofa in a punchy orange – can you actually picture the scene? Heart eye emojis galore.
Once again, the grey walls of yesteryear are being moved out to make way for varieties of soft pink and shades of blush, in turn ratifying their ability to function as new neutrals in their own right. And whilst the title of this particular tone infers pink, the colour itself definitely resides in the rose category. A muted, moody shade, Sulking Room Pink is unquestionably rooted in romance. Said to be evocative of the colours used in traditional French boudoirs, so its name came to be, since ‘bouder’ is the verb to sulk. For me, from this new collection, Sulking Room Pink is without doubt the pièce de résistance.
Give it an edge with… a slice of Yves Klein blue; the type of colour juxtaposition that dreams are made of. Feature it in a cushion casually strewn on a chaise, or on a pot sat amidst a mantle vignette. Ooh. Là. Là.
Bring the Outside in
Many would be immediately put off by the idea of going green, but pause and take a second glance at the versatile shade that is Treron, before dissing the possibility entirely. Described as a dark grey green, it also has an earthy quality and a warmth which makes it the perfect partner for lighter grey tones. And as the perfect backdrop to a room which features a lot of natural materials, Treron has the ability to be the anchor in an all-out calm, balancing room scheme.
Give it an edge with… a lick of fresh minty blue painted on an accent dining chair; a zingy, upbeat tone such as Blue Ground should fit the bill pretty perfectly.
Dark with a Difference
With its roots fixed in red, Paean Black can handle a strong partner so feel free to dream in shades of rich ruby and burgundy. Lending itself evenly to both contemporary and bohemian schemes, it’s no surprise that this colour can guarantee an intimate environment with a distinctive, distinguished feel. And whilst it can certainly provide all the drama you desire, do be aware of my aforementioned issue – in a cosy, night time room, it’s a yes, yes, yes. But in a sunlight drenched day room, maybe not so much.
Give it an edge with… old, beaten up leather seating – I assure you, they’ll be BFFs.
Photos via www.farrow-ball.com