Colour Science

Colour Principles

By 26 November 2018 No Comments
Bedroom design colourways

Colour Principles

Colour choices for interiors are so important. They can create the mood and atmosphere of a room, whether it is a sense of calm or excitement.

By Emma Sims-Hilditch, Interior Designer and Founder of Sims Hilditch

Colour allows for cohesion and flow whilst ensuring separate rooms complement each other. Contrast is also a beautiful way to translate personality in the home by not using only contrasting colours but textures and styles.

My inspiration for colour is drawn from two sources – art and nature. Growing up, I loved to visit galleries with my mother – one particularly fond memory was visiting the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris where I fell in love with the rich colour combinations in Monet’s Waterlillies. My second source of inspiration, nature, comes from my love of our beautiful countryside. We are lucky enough to work on some of the most idyllic country homes set in woodlands and rolling hills of green countryside.

When it comes to colour combinations and knowing how certain colours will look together, an idea is to look at a colour wheel. This is a great tool to clearly see the primary, secondary and tertiary colours. It also allows you to see the cool versus the warm colours to understand which colour is best for the mood you are trying to create.

It is also very useful to see contrasting colours that can look so well together. These colours can add such vibrancy to a scheme.

Threading colour throughout the home can be a difficult task. Here I am going to use one of our past projects as an example of using three analogous colours (analogous colours are groups of three colours that are next to each other on the colour wheel, sharing a common colour with one being the dominant colour for example: Cerulaen Blue, Magenta and Ultramarine). As you can see below the colours sit next to each other in the colour wheel therefore mixing them together builds intensity whilst maintaining a lovely flow of colour. The darker tones have been used within this ground floor entrance hallway which accentuates the detailed panelling of the room. These colours became the inspiration for the whole home, with the lighter shades being used to compliment the patterned floral wallpaper in the master bedroom.

I often get asked about a cost-effective way of updating an existing scheme. It is always wonderful to update a scheme along with the seasons. The best way to do this is to use a neutral palette as a base then you can introduce varying fabrics through the soft furnishings. It’s a much easier and cheaper way of giving your scheme a refresh.

Colour Profiles

When choosing the right colour to suit kitchens, I love a bold vibrant green due to its association with fresh vegetables and the health element of greenery outside.

Much darker deeper colours such as a red work best in basements that are being used as a snug or a cinema room. These tones help build a wonderfully relaxing and cosy scheme. I find that a blue toned red is more contemporary whereas a warmer tone of red is more classic.

We love to use soft pinks in our projects and we find them very popular. They create a calming and feminine scheme which can be best for a guest bedroom or a children’s bedroom. I particularly love Paper White and Portland paint from M&L that work beautifully with soft pinks.

A dark neutral such as brown is a very versatile colour to use since it works so well with most colours. We love to use this shade for boot rooms as it is a great way to hide the mud. A lighter dark neutral such as grey is a very popular choice, it works well on woodwork and walls for indoors and outdoors. I love that it can look wonderful for very contemporary city projects as well as classic country projects.

For more interior inspiration check out

The Natural System of Colour by Moses Harris

The Natural System of Colour by Moses Harris

Analogous colour scheme of magenta, blue and white/grey

Analogous Colour Scheme

Bedroom designed by Sims Hilditch, floral wallpaper and neutral tones

Floral wallpaper in a spacious bedroom, designed by Sims Hilditch

Paper White and Portland conservatory room with vase full of roses

Paper White doorframe, Portland walls