The first thing to consider when choosing a colour scheme is the size of the room. The bigger the room, the greater your choice of colours as you can afford to do darker tones without getting that boxy feeling. However, if you do have a decently sized room, why not make it seem bigger with soft, subtle tones that will open it up even more? This year, interior designers are keen to let the light in with soft yellows, light greens, light blues, pinks and lilacs.
According to the Color Marketing Group, people are opting for softer colour combinations such as gray, blue, green, purple and golden shades, as well as whites, beiges, soft oranges and turquoise tones.
Of course, with all that serenity and space, you want to create a feeling of calm without actually inducing sleepiness. For a bold, invigorating contrast wall think about a different texture, pattern or an eye-catching print and not only about a strong, complemetary colour. This won't work if your room does not have a focal point. We recently saw an off-white room with a contrast wall emblazoned with a giant fingerprint. A blackboard accent wall works great in kitchens/living space combinations to let your family and guests express themselves. Another great option is an opulent wallpaper pattern, something that would be hideously expensive on all walls, but affordable on one.
Think about texture. If you are working with an old house, it might have elegant molding and trim, and a big, central lighting fixture that if you were to dismantle, would take away the room's personality and history. Think of it, as designers do, as a fifth wall, and think about space. Dark colours, which are OK (finally), bring the ceiling lower, which is great if you have very high ceilings that give off a chilly feel. Light colours (but not white as it's just too safe), such as light sky blues and yellows will open up the room. It's essential to try sample pots to see what works with your lighting, and to see how the light and shadows play on the ceiling colour. It will always look different in the shop.
Matte or gloss?
Glossy hues used to be reserved for kitchens and bathrooms, but increasingly we are seeing more sparkle in hallways and even living rooms. Gloss captures and reflects light and works really well with modern fixtures. If you feel adventurous, combine metal hues of silver or gold with high sheen finishes. It's spectacular and breathes new life into an old house.
Wainscoting: Which type?
Wainscoting — that textured, often wooden base of lower wall panelling — adds great texture to a room, provided you can see it. So many people make the mistake of investing in these intricate and rich-looking designs, only to cover them up with a big sofa, entertainment unit, or coat rack. We like the return of beadboard, a Victorian design that has a cottage feel. Light pastel colours work for a beachhouse mood, but varnished light wood works equally well. The darker the wood, the more Victorian it will feel. It's a spectacular effect in a Victorian tiled hallway, but otherwise rather imposing.