Interior Colour scheme, LRV, Paint swatch, Interior Decorating

How to Find Appropriate Colours for Your Interior

Interior Colour Scheme, Colour Consulting, Colour Design, Interior Decorating

Interior Colour Scheme by Bettina Deda colour design

Hello again! After sharing 3 Proven Steps to Start a Room Makeover and The Secret of Starting a Decorating Theme, today we are going to talk about colour – one of my favourite topics. I am a colour lover! Colour seems to be a major challenge for a lot of DIY home decorators. I got so many questions regarding colour during the Northern Beaches Expo. Most visitors wanted to know how to find the appropriate colours for their space and how to match colours.

Choosing colours can be daunting, especially if you are looking for neutrals. I remember when I looked in the Dulux Colour Atlas for the first time at the design school – I was pretty overwhelmed by the one page with more than 60 whites and neutrals. A lot of them I could hardly distinguish from each other. If you feel the same, don’t worry, you are not alone.

Why is it important to seek advice from a designer when choosing colours?

Colour is the most powerful tool when it comes to non-verbal communication and the design element that makes a space come alive. Colour brings individuality in a space and it is one of the most useful tools to master when finding your own style.

Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, says in her book Pantone Guide to Communicating with Color:  „Among other uses, color stimulates and works synergetically with all of the senses, symbolizes abstract concepts and thoughts, expresses fantasy or wish fulfillment, recalls another time or place and produces an aesthetic or emotional response.“

When choosing a colour for a room or house it is important to think about the mood and atmosphere you would like to achieve.

Answer the following questions:

  • What do you use the room for?
  • Who uses the room?
  • Is it a dark room or flooded with natural light?
  • In which direction is the room facing?
  • How are the proportions?
  • Do you live in a small apartment or a large house with open plan living areas?
  • What furniture do you have?
  • What is the focal point of your room?

How a colour consultant can assist you

The colour consultation focuses on creating a colour scheme for a specific room or space according to your briefing. And a colour scheme does not only have to include paint colours. Colour schemes may include the following finishes:

  • flooring (carpet, floor boards, tiles)
  • kitchen benches
  • splashbacks
  • cupboard finishes
  • wallpaper
  • ….

Prior to designing a colour scheme the colour consultant should always talk to you about the mood and atmosphere you would like to achieve in your space. He will explain to you the differences between the paint companies and their products and choose the right product for your needs. After designing the colour scheme you will receive a written recommendation including a specification sheet and brushouts for your painter.

Stylist’s tip: Before you start painting always buy a test pot and paint a large sheet of paper or cardboard (one square metre) with your colour. Tape it to the walls in your room and study it for a couple of days. Look at it in daylight and artificial light. This is very important as colours change depending on the light, the orientation of the room, other colours in the room and spatial elements like furniture and artwork for example.

Apply colour theory like a designer

Interior Colour scheme, LRV, Paint swatch, Interior Decorating When looking for paint colours you will sooner or later stumble upon the acronym LRV. What does this mean? Do I need to know this for choosing my paint colour? You may have asked yourself this question already.

LRV stands for Light Reflectance Value and expresses the percentage of light that is reflected from a surface. This measurement is most commonly used by design professionals like colour consultants, architects, graphic designers and interior designers when choosing colours.

You will find the LRV on paint chips, in the fandecks of all major paint brands and in the Dulux Colour Atlas in the index next to the colour name and code.

To better understand LRV we need to look more deeply into colour theory. The value of a colour is often confused with the term intensity or chroma. The intensity or chroma of a colour explains the brightness or dullness of this colour. The tonal value however, shows how light or dark a colour is when compared to its equal grey on scale from black to white.

The Light Reflectance Value tells you how much light a colour reflects. Or conversely, how much light it absorbs. LRV is measured on a scale from 0 to 100 per cent. Zero means absolutely black and 100 means a perfect white.

The LRV gives you an indication how light or dark a colour will look and feel once it is painted onto your wall. Considering that the scale runs from 0 to 100 per cent, a 50 per cent LRV would correspond to a mid-tone on the grey scale which means you if your colour’s LRV is around 50 per cent you can’t go wrong.

Darker tones with a LRV of 40 and under will absorb more light and make the room appear smaller. If you want to create a cosy atmosphere in a small space, go for darker colours. Colours with a LRV higher than 50 per cent will be lighter once on the wall and therefore reflect more light back into the room. Depending on what you choose think about the appropriate lighting fixtures for your space.

I hope I could shed some light on the topic of colour theory and how to find an appropriate colour scheme for your home. Check out my FREE Colour Guide and if you would like to have your personal stylist come to your home to assist you in finding the right colours, click here.


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