04 Mar 2015

Let your true colours shine through


Interior designer and founder of design studio Violet & George, Nicky Mudie presents guidance on how to decorate your home in shades that suit your style.


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You spend a great deal of time in your own home so think carefully about what colours you love; would you want to be surrounded by these hues and what is it that you like about them? Have a look in your wardrobe – do you have a specific colour that you often wear? I continue to remain amazed at how often my clients have a favourite colour and always encourage them to use colour to express their personality.

Your home presents an opportunity to express your personality. For example, we were briefed to create a family home in Lancaster that was a suitable environment for the family’s four young children. We were asked to not make the home too grown up and achieved this by using a playful and colourful palette. We decorated each child’s bedroom in their favourite colours, leaving the master bedroom as the only room in the house to remain solely for grown ups. Because the parents own plenty of urban art, we used this theme repeatedly. We worked closely with celebrated urban artist Xenz and employed his skills to paint butterflies and birds in the corridor to the children’s bedrooms in his distinctive urban Chinoiserie style. We also commissioned another artist, Ben Allen, to paint a dazzle effect on the guest WC walls and bespoke rhino and elephant panels in the dining room.

It’s worth considering the longevity of your project. For example, natural tones don’t go out of fashion. Colours often remain in fashion for longer than forecasters expect. Unlike the fashion industry, colours remain on-trend in the interiors market for years, but although the shift in fashion isn’t as quick as on the catwalk, colour trends do gradually change. For example, while grey is everywhere at the moment, it has been a key trend for a while now and will begin dating, so avoid using it liberally or on items that you can’t change easily.

At one end of the colour spectrum is the pared back, pale, sparse Scandinavian or architectural look compared with a bold, dark, moody palette at the opposite end. The use of dark tones, such as Farrow & Ball’s Railings, has seen an unprecedented rise, proving that consumers are becoming increasingly more confident with using colour. The rise in popularity of social media sites such as Houzz and Pinterest means consumers can visualise more daring colours in their own homes. I have noticed that homeowners are keen to engage in stronger palettes and are more willing to experiment with colours. Dark tones act as a great backdrop to the peach, gold and champagne palette popular at the moment. Matt black is a stunning neutral against the metallic finishes that continue to be a home trend.

The subtly seductive shade, marsala is another colour of the moment.

It is an incredibly versatile hue appealing to both men and women – a red with heavy brown tones, it is unusual in its ability to work both as a statement and a neutral. Unlike primary or secondary colours that can clash, in my opinion, marsala works with anything. Pair with flesh tones and grey as an accent colour or let it melt into the background, becoming moody and sensuous with black and dark greens.

Think about the functionality of a space as well as style. For example, a bathroom is a great place to inject colour because it is a room associated with relaxation, reflection and indulgence. Metallics are great in a bathroom because they bring opulence and luxury to one of the smallest rooms in the home – they bounce light around in a flattering way and are extremely functional. Accents of colour can be brought into a calm, relaxing environment in many ways, from bath mats and towels to storage and hooks, use of colour is a great way to add some punch to a neutral and natural palette.

Light tones, especially white, bounce light around and make a room feel bright and spacious. However, darker tones with more black in them hold on to the light more, creating a softer and more forgiving space. As always, think about the function of the room, is it a space to relax and luxuriate in a bath or is it more a space to quickly get on with your day? The first would benefit from being dark and soft, the latter from being light, bright and colourful.

You need to consider the style and period of the building you’re working with. Highlight the features, have fun with them and accentuate them. For example, if you live in a Georgian house then play with the bold Georgian colour palette. Apply this playful homage theme with other period properties such as Edwardian, Victorian and Regency.

I am a big fan of using wallpaper to reflect a client’s personality and am especially keen on textured, patterned and illustrated styles. One of our studio’s key concerns is to create homes that reflect a homeowners personality. With this in mind, wallpaper is a great starting point as there are so many amazing designs to choose from. Fabrics, wallpapers and bespoke finishes play an important role in helping to create a playful, youthful and animated interior. One place to experiment with bright and bold wallpaper is in the smallest room of the house – the guest bathroom. From graffiti and wallpaper to mirrored tiles, create a space that will spark conversation and interest when guests come to visit. Because this room is so self-contained, it can take the boldest of prints.

Violet & George is an interior design service that predominantly focuses on perfecting the finishing touches of a client’s home. Their work ranges from traditional, made-to-measure curtains and blinds, bed throws, headboards, cushions, rugs and lampshades to lighting, furniture, wallpaper and paint to add zest to client’s home. Nicky Mudie founded the company, having previously founded Godrich Interior. A gap was spotted in the market for an interior service to offer something slightly different to a full re-fit interior design service. The business’ core concentrates on material, colour and pattern.

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