Chapter Five: Colour

Be inspired to enrich your home's interior with colour in Chapter FIve of the Houseology Design School, filled with all the inspiration you need.


Design School

Colours and textures are fundamental to good interior design – when done right; these elements have a transformative effect on the mood and atmosphere in your space.

Colour isn’t as complicated as you might think; once you know the basics it’s easy to create a palette that works well for every room in your home. This chapter is all about the practical things you need to know to make your colour scheme a success. We’re sharing the methods the professionals use to transform your rooms into exciting spaces that reflect your personality and suit your style.

01.Colour and hue

Start with the basics; understanding how colours work will give you the tools you need to pair them and create a fabulous colour scheme for your home. There are three main categories of colours:

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01. Primary
These are the three key colours that cannot be made from mixing any other colours and are red, yellow and blue. These punchy hues are often used as accent hues or their more muted version may be used over larger areas, for example paler blues, deeper reds or pastel yellows.

02. Secondary colours
You make secondary colours by mixing equal parts of primary colours. Red and yellow make orange, red and blue make purple, and blue and yellow make green.

03. Tertiary colours
Tertiary colours are a combination of primary and secondary colours. You get them by mixing a ratio of 2:1. This includes colours like red-orange and blue-green.

The easiest way to understand colours is with a colour wheel – it arranges each of the primary, secondary and tertiary colours to help you understand the relationship between each of the three types of colour and create a balanced aesthetic when putting colours together.

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02.Cool versus warm colours

Colours are often described as cool or warm when talking about interior design. Simply put, warm colours tend to make you think of sunlight and heat while cool colours remind us of water and sky.

Warm colours
Warm shades are made with combinations of orange, red and yellow. They are often used to make large rooms feel cosy and intimate and can have an energising effect in your space.

Cool colours
These are made with combinations of blue, purple and green. They tend to have a calming and soothing effect and will help to enlarge your space.

Playing with warm and cool colours can change the atmosphere in your space depending on which you choose as your dominant colours. Rooms should have a combination of both warm and cool colours to create balance and contrast.


Another important aspect of colour is neutrals – these non-colours don’t appear on the colour wheel and include black, white, grey, brown and beige. Neutrals are unbiased and won’t dominate over one another, making them easy to layer, mix and match.

Neutral colours are particularly popular in interior design because they are welcoming and versatile – they provide a great backdrop when you want to introduce bold accent elements and will work well with any style.

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04.Intensity and tone

Every colour on the colour wheel can be altered by adjusting tint, shade or tone.

Made by adding white to a colour, tints can range from a barely tinted pure hue to a soft pastel or an extremely pale version of the colour. They give a soft, soothing effect.

Made by adding black to a colour, shades can make the colour slightly darker or make it almost black. They give a deep, powerful and mysterious effect.

Made by adding grey to a colour, tones adjust the intensity of the pigment. They are complex, subtle and sophisticated and make it easier to create varied colour combinations when you pull together your scheme.

05.Mood and atmosphere

Colour doesn’t exist in isolation – how we perceive it depends on the context of space and light and so your lighting design will have a big impact on the texture and colour in a room. Think about both artificial and natural light as this will appear differently at different times of day – before you settle on your colour palette, make sure you have taken the time to notice the lighting and how it alters the colours throughout the day. When it comes to natural light, the direction of the room will have a major impact:

  • The light in north-facing rooms tends to be cool and blue. In these spaces, bolder colours tend to work better than muted colours and light colours will feel subdued.
  • South-facing rooms receive the best natural light that enters the room from high in the sky. Both warm and cool colours work well here – dark colours will look lighter while light colours will feel bright and glowing.
  • East-facing rooms tend to have warmer, yellow light in the morning and cooler blue light in the evening. You can work with the natural light in an east-facing room by making use of reds, oranges and yellows.
  • West-facing rooms don’t benefit from good morning light – the light tends to produce shadows and can make colours feel dull. In the evening light on the other hand, west-facing rooms feel lovely and warm – tailor your colour choices in west-facing spaces according to the time of day you most often use the rooms.

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If the colour doesn’t feel quite right in the evenings or at times of day when you mostly rely on artificial lighting, check the bulb you are using. Bulbs with a warm, yellow light will mute blues and greens and make red, orange and yellows appear more vivid. A flat, cool light on the other hand will enrich blues and greens.

06.The perfect colour scheme for your home

If you’ve ever walked into a space and felt something just didn’t quite work, the chances are this had something to do with colour. Colour choice and placement can impact everything from our mood to our perception of space – where and how we use colour will either makes us feel contented and comfortable or restrained and disconnected.

Creating a colour flow
Using a palette of colours that flow together will help your home work as a whole. Start with the biggest, most centrally located room – for most people this is the living room or kitchen – and work your way out. If the centre of your home has several connecting spaces, use a neutral colour as your base colour to give you the most options. Alternatively, if you know you want a particular room to feature a striking, bold colour, start there and work your way back room by room. Another simple way to build a colour palette for the whole home is to use shades with the same hue for adjacent rooms and walls – this makes it easy to add interest and depth while still making certain the colours balance as a whole.

Layering colour
There are plenty of opportunities to mix and layer colours throughout your space. Walls, soft furnishings, artwork and accessories all offer a chance to use your colour scheme and layer colours. Consider how you can use each element to bring forward your colour palette and create harmony in your space. It’s all about balance – without layering, your space will fall flat and feel uninspiring. Too much colour, and it will feel hectic and uncomfortable.

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07.Effortless colour schemes

Our three signature styles have been developed to take the stress out of choosing a colour palette for your room design.

01. Chic
Our chic colour scheme makes the most of neutral, earthy shades and soft greys as the basis of this look, creating an oasis in which to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Accent colours like cobalt blue and smoky shades look perfect against the Chic backdrop.

02. Urban
A simple palette of soft grey and white form the backdrop for the Urban look. Pale pistachios, light salmon pink and duck egg blue all work beautifully as accent colours for this look.

03. Luxe
Our Luxe look embraces a classic black and white palette to create an elegant feel. Shiny metallics like silver and platinum, plus vibrant saffron and soft purple toned accent colours will complement this look and add dimension to your space. Next we’ll move onto furniture and fittings and share all the information you need to pick pieces you love that suit your style and enhance your space.

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Coming Soon

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In this chapter we talk you through the benefits of custom designed furniture, show you how to plan your furniture layout using pieces of furniture that work with the scale of your room. We'll talk you through the materials and finishes that you can choose from to complete your scheme and the best way to arrange them in your space.