Measure Twice, Cut Once: Monthly Musings of a Home Renovator

When it comes to choosing colours, some people have it and some people donʼt. When I look at a palette of colours, I am confronted with an impossible decision. I see thirty shades of I have no clue. Pablo Picasso asked the question, “Why do two colours, put one next to the other, sing?” I am not really concerned about why two colours “sing”. I just want to know that Iʼm choosing colours that match in the first place.

My mother has a knack for putting together the right shades of colour. She can make a
room look beguiling simply by choosing the right combinations. Her spare room is
decorated in creams and greyish blues. The colours blend together to create an inviting
and soporific space. I tried to recreate the same “feel” in my own bedroom. I was only off
by a few shades, but instead of the tranquil sanctuary that I was aiming for, I ended up
with a bedroom that looks more like a clinic. Choosing the right colour is important.
For anyone who, like me, is not a master of colour, here are some tips from the not so
colour blind:

Remember your colour wheel from art class? The primary colours are red, yellow and
blue. Secondary colours are orange, green and purple. When the colours are arranged in
a wheel, the opposite colours are considered to be complimentary. Pairing complementary
colours can be helpful in planning decorative schemes.
Complementary colours:

  • red and green
  • yellow and purple
  • blue and orange

You donʼt have to paint your walls in complementary colours, but accessorising with the
right colour can help transform a space. For instance, if your walls are yellow, decorate
with a violet vase or other violet trimmings.
Not sure which colours you fancy? Colours can have great emotional power, so pay
attention to how different colours make you feel. Look at the world around you for
inspiration. Gardens, public spaces, magazines, billboards… Colour schemes abound.
Find which ones appeal to you most.
For more inspiration, revisit the artworks of true masters of colour such as Vincent van
Gogh or Henri Matisse.
And if youʼve chosen the wrong colour scheme, donʼt worry! The best thing about
renovating with colour is that paints and fabrics are among the easiest and least expensive
ways to change a room.

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