Italian fusion

Colour Guide

Colour Scheme
Sophisicated, eclectic, chic, grand, spacious, natural

Key Textures
Brushed and polished brass, coloured glass, limed and natural wood, gold gilt, leather, glass, wool


Like a lot of couples, my husband and I don’t always see eye to eye when it comes to interiors. It took us 3 months to agree on what type of window treatment to have in the living room and look what I do for a day job. He’s a purest and I’m more for mixing it up. He wants to live by the Phillip Starke quote of, ‘One key used to open everything’. In relation to this room however, we agree, we both could live here quite easily. It’s a room of eclectic and seemingly random items which have been placed to use the entire space.

It’s all about yin and yang – the busy verses the calm. The scale of the ornate and intricate ceiling counter balances the simple classic shape of the sofa and tables. The gold gilt mantle mirror rests behind the collection of modern white vessels. These are opposites which add interest.

The overwhelmingly dominant colour at 45% is white as it appears on the walls, skirting and objects. Architectural details such as the mantle and heater have been painted white so they visually blend into the walls and allow the focus to be on the ceiling overhead.

Next in percentage is the 20% lime washed floor. The beautiful herringbone patterned adds a subtle texture to the room on a surface which otherwise could look uninteresting if painted a flat colour.

This shape of sofa is designed to be used in a room exactly like this so you can appreciate it from all angles. The low curved back ensures a clear view around the room along with being placed away from the walls, it permits the kids to run rings around it. The 10% wheat colour of the sofa is a solid block of colour which anchors the floor from the busy ceiling.

All colour palettes benefit from a touch of black and this room is no different but black can also over power. It may appear to be more than 10% of the room with a majority of it appearing in the ceiling but taking the scale of the room into account it starts to be diluted. Black is peppered elsewhere in the space in the glass tables, picture frames and window shelf. Although we can see the black upholstered dining chairs in the connecting room I haven’t included them in this breakdown.

Gold. Nothing better than gold in a colour scheme to add a touch of bling. The gold gilt bead detail in the ceiling along with the mantle mirror total 7% of the colour palette.

The ceiling light and candlesticks are polished brass where as the table frames are brushed and amount to 3%.

An interesting element of this interior is the natural wood ornate cornicing. Not uncommon in Italian interior architecture and this has been highlighted by the natural wood deck chair frame and light frame.

The 1% tone of the reddish brown leather adds texture by its change in material in the scheme as does the striped throw with its red wine accents using the opposite material.

Little side note about the logs in the fireplace (not sure where the open fire is located here!). What the logs do is knock the style of the room down a notch. Their rawness next to the tables and sofa stops the interior feeling overly polished and pretentious.

Now if you, like me, don’t live in a house like this how can you translate the scheme. You can play around with emphasis of detail – the ceiling – by wallpapering a wall using an ornate and delicate paper. Place on a wall that is void of any interference like doors etc. In regards to window treatments, I would only use a sheer voile, caveat being to leave the window if they are architecturally interesting.

The only element I would add to this interior is a rug for warmth and texture. Make it a large one with a simple self-pattern (i.e.: one continuous colour but a pattern is made by a change in the pile) the same colour as the floor so it can contain the sofa and tables entirely. As for the floor, to carry off this look a wooden floor is the only answer I’m afraid.


TIP: There are various treatments you can apply to metals that allow it to take on different characteristics. Polish it and it becomes mirror like, or brushed it and it will take on a much softer appearance. One highlights the item whilst the other subdues the items effect.


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