Art House

Photography Richard Powers

Colour Guide

Colour Scheme
Refined, Sophisticated, mature, cultured, suave, urban

Key Textures
Matt paint finishes, velvet, wool, light and dark woods


Not sure if it’s jet lag or the mesmerising colour of the sofa but instead of concentrating on writing this weeks post I’ve gone all High Fidelity on the situation and started to create my top 5 play list for this room! Actually top10, I got carried away. In case you’re wondering, the list is on facebook.

NOTE: I do try to keep the posts as short as possible but this is a long one, so grab your preferred hot, or cold, beverage take a comfy seat as there is a lot I want to explain.

I find this room completely seductive and alluring – the deep red sofa has a lot to do with it. I love the sense of the space being greater than myself (not that I’m the size of the average living room but you know what I mean). The scale of the room along with the huge rectangular painting dwarfs the seating. The sophisticated and moody colour palette with the punch of red immediately entices, whilst the warm grey tones relax, envelope and cocoon you.

This is an incredibly well crafted and considered colour palette that has pushed the concept of layering colours. The walls change hue, which is not a result of the light alone, three different tones of grey have been used with the built-in storage being yet another colour.  Obviously a grand home, which can tend to be unwelcoming, but with its combination of colour and understated furnishings it feels homey. The red used is rich and deep in tone whilst the green painting glows and shocks the eye out from the cloudy palette.

As usual I will start with the most prominent colour. Worked out which one it is? It’s not clear at first, but it’s lighter brown/grey that appears on the top half of the wall. On closer inspection you’ll see it continues on the wall to the left and I suspect the ceiling. To have any other colour on the ceiling, i.e. white, would be a harsh contrast and cause light to bounce all over the place, then in turn mess with the true colours on the walls. Yes, there is a ceiling light but this light is directed down not up. It counterbalances the light coming from the ground up. With the ceiling being double height then continuing the wall colour, it keeps the room feeling cosy. This greyish tone occupies 30% of the space.

The next largest area of colour is the mauve/brown rug at 14%. It takes up the majority of the floor area, and with its slight texture it helps add depth.

Jumping back up to the wall, we then have the darkest colour on the lower half of the wall totalling 10%. A smart decision really, with the light bouncing in through doors from both sides, keeping the middle of the house, or the far corner, a darker colour it retains its strength. By doing this it grounds the room. If it was the littler colour, the light from the doors would knock it back 2-3 shades lighter and you would loose the grounding dark base colour.

Also at 10% is the walnut finish that has been used in the frame of seating, coffee tables and floor. If you’re after a sofa such as this, look for a bespoke furniture maker. Safe to say you won’t find it in Ikea.

To achieve a harmonised colour palette you need to keep colours tonally similar and this means not mixing shades and tints, this room, however, does just the opposite. The fresh green in the painting – a shade – radiates out from the muddy colours- tints – used on the walls. In theory it shouldn’t work but as you can see it completely does and that’s because it’s not a solid block of colour, it fades in and out in strength. Should you be thinking of using this colour palette look for cushions or art that does the same. The green also pops up in the small piece of art on the shelf and the object on the table, both help to tie in the massive artwork. The 8% green is unexpected and this, along with the red sofa, creates a dynamic scheme.

There is another reason why the green can sit in this space and that’s due to the red upholstery. The intense colour is a counterpart to the green both in physical and visual terms. Also at 8%, the orangey red can also be seen on the plant pot on the left and you can just see a sliver of it in the artwork next to it. The leather seating on the table is close in colour to the sofa but not quite, it leans more towards the orange spectrum adding a further 1%.

At first I thought the shelf and storage unit in the background was the same colour as the pelmet that runs around the perimeter of the room, but no, it’s yet another subtle change in colour. It’s slanted more towards the brown tones where as the wall colours are closer to the grey hues. The taupe is 6% of the room.

Again, like all the colours in this room, you really have to study the pelmet colour in relation to the surfaces above and below it to realise it’s lighter. As this runs, from what I can see, only along two walls it doesn’t visually slice the room in two, it merely adds another layer of colour and interest. It accounts for 5% overall.

The mushroom coloured armchair accounts for 3%. Upholstered in crushed velvet or chenille it uses the light to show its texture.

At 2% is the blue that crops up from the shelf but is clearly more predominant on the room next door. Like the green, the blue is also a tint or white based colour.

Mauve and a Wedgwood blue also turn up in the painting and sum up a further 1% each.

The surface of the coffee table is made from a light maple and adds 1%.

I have to say this colour palette is incredible, I can’t remember seeing any other home using so many variations in one scheme.


TIPS: Use the interior architecture of a room to introduce layers of colours. The natural divisions enable you to placed easily and logically.


*The colour on screen is not a true representation of actual colour. 


  1. Holly wrote:

    Brilliant palette and brilliant breakdown! I can’t tell you how happy I am to find your site. The colour nerd in me is beaming with joy. I love your analysis of the room, I agree with everything you said.


    • Melinda_1788 wrote:

      Thank you Holly. Sounds like you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it for you. Keep in touch. M

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