Ask the designer: the colour cohesive home

Last week I went to the House fair in London and as I was passing the seminar theatre I overheard someone saying to the audience: “Each room should have it’s own colour. Build the whole house scheme with 5 colours because there doesn’t need to be a connection between the rooms”. While talking, the presenter showed such scheme with the hallway in ochre, living room in dark navy blue, dining room in blush pink, the bedroom in blue-grey and kitchen in dark green grey.

Firstly, I totally agree that when it comes to decorating a whole house, looking at it and building the colour scheme as a whole is a good approach. Planning the colour scheme while decorating individual rooms is definitely how I approach my designs.

But, to have each room painted in different colour with no connection to the adjacent space? That’s the bit that I have a different opinion on. I think that if you use this approach to designing your home, you might be complicating things for yourself and making your life more difficult. There is however, one exception which I think is what the presenter didn’t mention.  If the colours are in similar tones and shades i.e. primary colours or pastels then it’s fine. I believe that all colours go together but the key is that they should be in similar tones, tints and shades.

My approach to whole house colour scheme building

However, I don’t like overcomplicating things too much unless it’s really necessary. I think design is absolutely limitless and very subjective discipline. There is no right or wrong if it feels right to you. It’s very personal.

1. Neutral backdrop with colour accents
For me, I like keeping the large areas in neutral colours (from soft off-whites, creams to cappuccino and greys) and introduce colour through furniture, art, textiles and decorative objects.

2. Making a link between the interior spaces

Borrowing colours from room to room in different proportions is how I make the design cohesive yet unique. It’s like in cooking. You might be using the same ingredients but in different amounts and voila, you create two or three completely different dishes.

Here’s an example of our upstairs bedrooms and hallway. I tried to link the wallpaper colour in the hallway with some elements in the other rooms. In kid’s room 1. it’s the rug as the linking connection even though the large wallpaper mural is the main feature. In kid’s room 2. the colour can be picked up on the floor lamp shade and bookcase (see my portfolio). However, the overall colour scheme of this room takes more minty/grey /teal direction. In the master bedroom, it’s only the cushion which is picking the colour up. The overall colour scheme is leaning towards pale blue and grey with a hint of lime.



If you are struggling with putting a scheme together for your home or you don’t know when to start with making your home more colour cohesive,  let me know. I’m happy to help!Karolina Barnes Studio

P.S. For limited time only, I have a FREE GUIDE on how to make your family home looking like new! Download it now before it’s gone!