Modern History

Photographer Dana Gallagher

Colour Guide

Colour Scheme
Vintage, homely, relaxed, textural

Key Textures
Linen, copper, lime washed wood and aged hardwood, panelling, earthernware


There’s something about this room that has caught my eye. It could be the contrasting two – tone paneling or the relaxed placement of the side table. I have a thing about coffee tables. I can appreciate their design but it’s how they sit in the middle of a room and cover a large portion of what is normally a gorgeous rug. There is also the matter of anywhere you sit you find yourself having to get up and down to place your coffee on it but the most annoying thing would be when you knock your shins on them. I’m more in favour of the moveable side table or stool cum table. I like dragging them to where ever I’m seated. By using, what I call floating side tables, the approach to the sofa is more open hence you create a much more relaxed and inviting space. If you’re looking for a side or occasional table I’m your women as I’m slightly obsessed about finding the best one. I’ll even break it down into wood, coloured, height, style…in case you’re wondering I love the Ida table in peacock blue by Mule.

This image teases you. You’re left wondering what the rest of the room looks like. It could be a seating nook in the kitchen or the transient area between rooms.

Part guess, part educated hunch, but I would say the ceiling is white in this room and would count for 20% of the space. White would be the natural choice but if I was living here I would be tempted to paint the ceiling the same as the wall – the pink – no matter the height.

In equal proportion to the ceiling is the floor which has been treated with a lime or whitewash. The 20% milkish tone of the floor smoothes the path from the wall to the floor and from the sofa to the floor.

The 20% chalky matt pink of the wall is rich and saturated. It contains a touch of black which stops it from feeling bright and pretty. The colours used together with the paneled door is in keeping with eighteen century architecture. Back in the day this tone of pink was made from vermilion and was one of the most expensive colours you could buy. Enough of the history lesson!

15% of the colour scheme is the lead coloured paneling and architrave – this is in stark contrast to the wall but at the same time it harmonises with the floor.

A variety of wood types appear from the sofa frame to storage cabinet and lamp base to picture frames. Continuing with a sense of history is the turned lamp base and the Jacobean settee and cabinet. Collectively the timber equals 12%.

The colour of the natural linen on the sofa has been repeated on the lamp shade and the plant pots. The 10% warm and natural tones of the plain linen fabric helps the room feel informal and by being an uncomplicated design it keeps the space feeling contemporary.

The cute grey pedestal table takes up 2% of the scheme. Like the floor, the grey wash subtly reveals the wood grain. If the table was a solid continuous colour it would compete with the boldness of the wall colour.

The 1% yellow freshens the rooms and helps make it feel homey. Adding potted plants gives a sense of life.

The copper tray shimmers and being a different material it helps achieve a balanced scheme. It’s also a similar tone to the wall and the cushions.


TIP: Hanging a collection of vintage frames in various sizes and designs can be a cheap way of adding interest. The more random the topic the better.

TIP: If you find a colour too strong consider using a lime or white wash finish.

TIP: Think Rock, Paper, Scissors. A balanced room, display or bookshelf, in simplistic terms, should contain each of these – earthenware, books, metal – to create harmony.


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