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Colour colour… which colour?

When you are building your dream house, one of the biggest questions is, how do I paint the different spaces in my home? The basic notion is that colour and light can manipulate how we perceive the size of an object and space. This if applied in architectural interiors, the size of a living room for example can appear larger or smaller by changing the colour or depth and intensity.

The tonality of a colour can make something look like its receding or advanced. Cool colours recede and warm colours advance. Other spatial effects of colour are that bright colours advance in comparison to muted colours. When light coloured objects are placed next to an identical dark coloured object, the lighter object looks larger. This is because darker objects absorb colour making a space appear closed and light object reflect colour making a space look open and spacious.

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Colours are a powerful tool to transform a space and can change the way a space is percieved. This is why any space should be carefully colour allocated to enjoy all that a space has to offer. Along with colour, what I am attempting to illustrate here with examples are, the different ways colours can be used and situated to create different effects.

1. Treatment: Light shades on all the surfaces of a room.

Effect: Spaces appears bigger and more spacious.

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Here in this room, there is no use of any texture of colour other than white, this makes the visual outcome of the space look large when in reality the space dimentionally is not. All white or off-white should be used in scenerios where the false ceiling is low intentionally or otherwise, so as to make a space appear larger.

2. Treatment: Dark ceiling

Effect: Space appears more closed in, smaller and darker.

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Here, the room is dimensionally larger than the last, but the owners choice of painting the ceiling a darker colour has reduced the amount of light that is reflecting off the ceiling, in turn making the space look small. Another effect of a dark ceiling is the fact that the height of the room over all, looks shortened and that is an effect that can diminish the space completely. In rare occations, when the ceiling is of a double story storey height and there is a high level of natural light, a slightly darker colour coloured celing is acceptable.

3.Treatment: Deep tone accent wall.

Effect: Creates an ambience, space that looks and feels cosy.

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Here, a cosy look is the combination of wise design choices but alsoas well as a deep tonal accent wall. So opting for a jewel tone accent wall is a perfect wall way to create a warm welcoming space. When all the right elements work in rhythm, it creates the beautiful harmony of intimacy and cosiness.

4.Treatment: Lighter toned accent wall

Effect: Heightens the sense of dimension, creates the apperance of depth.

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The idea is to have soothing neutral colours which calm down the mind. But lighter tone walls along the lines of pastel colours create a depth to the space. Pastels can be used when the space is not as large as it seems, adding a light accent wall can really open up a space and create a faux appearance of depth.

5.Treatment: Flat bright coloured accent wall

Effect: Spaces appears smaller

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A flat out single toned solid bright wall colour usually is not as attractive. The colour colour with no texture of dimension will allude an appearnce of an enclosed space. But if you do want to go that route, its it would be better to choose the colour in a deeper or lighter tone as per your requirement. Deep, low-contrast color colour combinations not only add drama and character to a space, but also make it feel more enclosed.

6.Treatment: Texture of varying shades of colour.

Effect: Adds contrast and depth to a space

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For some reason, texture seems to always to be an afterthought when it comes to interiors. Putting a smooth texture directly next to a rough one, makes the rough surface stand out and adds an inevitable depth to the space. Texture is particularly important if you’re working within a particular color colour palette where the shades are very similar. When texture and colour come together, they will bring a sense of harmony to the space.

7.Treatment: Stripes

Effect: Creates illusion of height or length

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Depending on the direction you choose for painting stripes on walls, you can visually manipulate a room's perceived dimensions. Vertical wall stripes can raise your ceiling. Horizontal wall stripes create a appearance of widening and enlarges the room.

The walls of your home add colour to your space and set the mood for everyday life. A colour scheme, however, should never be carried out so similarly that it becomes monotonous; neither should it be so haphazard that it is confusing. With a judicious use of color colour, you can make your home and space do what you want it to do.

Image Sources

Ar. Mrudula Reddy

Master of Landscape Architecture