I think most of us are aware that the colours we use in our homes has a major impact about how we feel and therefore the importance of colour when decorating our homes. Yesterday I had a great time attending a talk entitled Masterclass in How to Choose Colour with the top interior designer and architectural historian Edward Bulmer who has created a range of natural paints. The event was held at the stunning Knutsford store of renowned interiors brand Oka where we were welcomed with tea or coffee and delicious Florentines.
The talk began with an explanation of the history of paint, its formulation and how various colours represented a certain status owing the cost of creating them which was fascinating and continued with an explanation of choosing colour by reference to the various paint colours in the range. Here are a few things I learned and wanted to share.
The starting point of a paint is pigment. Originally these came from the natural sources – the earth, minerals or plants and then chemicals. As some pigments were expensive to create they became associated with status, for examples, cardinals wear red. Pigments are combined with a binder and a dilutant. Binders were originally plant oils or resin and subsequently crude oil.
You may already be familiar with the colour wheel, if not it’s it is a very useful tool and I would recommend obtaining a copy. The version shown is the Prismatic Colour Wheel, from Moses Harris’ ‘The natural system of colours’, London [c.1785]. Mr Bulmer explained that you use the colour wheel to guide the selection of colours in combination. Opposite colours on the wheel can be used in a balanced relation to each other. The colour wheel is a guide but colour is a personal preference underpinned by the right tonality. Colours are divided into the primary colours – red, blue and yellow and secondary colours formed by combinations of primary colours – green, orange and purple.
As mentioned above the key determinant is the tonality which comes from the use of the earth pigments which help the colour settle down. Reds can vary from dusky pinks which are a current fashion and interiors trend. According to Mr Bulmer one of the most popular in the range at present is Jonquil a yellow pink that I think would make a great neutral
At the other end of the spectrum dark reds can be used in small rooms, or where the is no natural light, to add drama. If using reds use those on the brown spectrum rather than a “pillar box” red which lacks tonality. Blues can range from the blue grey of Cerullian through to greeny blues such as Aquatic. With yellow Mr Bulmer advised that we should consider what we are putting with it and that paler shades combine with more colours. Ochre pairs well with grey.
Currently, it has become popular to make a feature of our entrance halls, after all it is the first space in our home that people enter so it is perhaps not surprising that we want to show it off. I was therefore interested to hear Mr Bulmer’s view that such spaces should not be challenging. The hall is a transitional space that we pass through on to the other rooms in the house and he made the distinction between these areas that we pass through and the dwelling rooms.
Finally, a few words on the paint range. We are all conscious of the environment and the damage that plastics are doing. The paints are all plastic free including microplastics. Increasingly, people are suffering reactions to chemicals including those used in the manufacture of modern paint and the range is chemical free and made from ingredients of plant or mineral origin. I am certainly keen to try them out..
I had a very enjoyable time and hope you have enjoyed this blog, a slight diversion from my usual format. Cal me on 07745 876182 or e mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I cover the Wirral, Cheshire and the North West.