Local Colour

A well chosen colour palette can enhance the architecture of any building and improve your quality of life.

For many, though, choosing colours seems like an exercise in randomness, never sure why one colour is better than another.

Finding a colour palette that works for you and for your home or office can be time consuming, but once you have it, save it. You will be going back to it every time you paint, buy furniture, fabrics, accessories, and even interior and exterior plants. Also when you re-roof your house, buy new windows,  or build an addition.

Consider the colours you like to wear, the colours that make you and your family look good; the colours of the natural materials of your house such as brick, stone or wood; the colours of your neighbourhood, your region, its countryside, its landscape and the seasons.

When we travel to other latitudes, we immediately notice new colour palettes. We see that these are a product of the local culture, the resources, the quality of the light, the climate and the landscape. It is tougher to see it the same way right at home, and yet, we are no different. Make an effort to discover your local colour. It’s varied and playful and includes something for everyone. It’s quite satisfying to live among colours that celebrate and blend with the local environment.

Keep a camera close to you, and photograph details and views that have great colours. Remember, this is all subjective. Take a few moments to extract your favourite colours from the photographs, and play with their arrangement. You will be well on your way to creating your own original colour palette. The image that inspires you might attract others less, but expressing your individual taste in colour adds to the richness of all our lives.

A basic palette has at least three colours: field, complimentary and accent.

The field colour is the one you will use the most. Make it very light. It will expand the space and extend the  daylight hours. You will need to turn on the light less often, and that reduction in electrical consumption is good for the planet and saves you money.

The complimentary colour helps delineate the space, and can be significantly more intense than the field colour. You might want to choose more that one complimentary colour, as it will likely be what  you use for flooring, architectural trim, furniture, and major accessories.

The accent brings it all to life, with colour energy. The accent contrasts the field and complimentary colours. Use accents sparingly and always, because they are fun and lively. As with complimentary colours, choose several accents. The accents can be totally different from each other.

The image on this blog includes four examples of pictures that my daughter and I took, with a corresponding palette. As you can see, there are no right or wrong answers. Once you have found the range of colours that you want to work with, it isn’t hard to spend some time tweaking the individual colours to arrive at a palette that is right for you and for your house.

Best of luck

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