About The Colour Field



Whilst I was Style Director of Inside Out UK working on decoration features, I realised that presenting an image of a room alongside a selection of paint swatches created more questions than answers. The greatest cause of confusion is displaying all the paint or colour swatches in equal quantities when in reality a room is decorated using varying proportions.

The concept of The Colour Field is to deconstruct a room’s colour palette by using percentages. The choice of colour is infinite but the space in which you have to place it is not. By placing colours within perimeters you’re able to control the visual balance.

There is one question you need to ask yourself before you start the journey up what feels like a decorating mountain, you need to be clear on which path you’re going take. Are you following a colour palette? Or is it a particular style such as French or Cath Kidston style that you aim to accomplish? You’ll find yourself constantly referring back to your answer throughout the project. One has to take precedence from the get-go to avoid any problems occurring further down the line. By nature choosing a specific style you’ll dictate the colour palette to a degree. Whereas starting with a colour palette is an individual approach.

Interior design is not about colour alone, is a multi-layered process that covers how it is introduced across all interior aspects and surfaces like walls, flooring, soft furnishings, furniture and accessories. Each interior deconstruction starts with how the overall affect is achieved be it by colour, style or elements. Once the context has been set this is followed by each colour being breakdown down by percentage it consumes together with where it’s placed in the broader context of the palette.

The amount of light in a room also needs to be considered, whether it’s natural or artificially lit by table lamps. A harmonious colour scheme is achieved when the proportion and visual balance of all have been taken into consideration. Sounds complicated but it’s not. Take baby steps and methodically work through each step and you’ll get there before you know it.

Redecorating is a stressful process, the ‘designer panic’ can wash over and keep you awake at night.  Rest assured there are many ways to arrive at a destination. You don’t have to spend the national debt to achieve transformative results. It’s simply a matter of being very clear on the outcomes you are aiming to achieve. There are no wrong answers it’s just a matter of choosing the right intensity or depth of colour.

Happy decorating and don’t be scared of colour!


How to achieve this balance:

• Break colour into percentages. For example, take an unpainted room as 100%.

• The walls and floors are generally the largest areas taking up around 50-60%.  (The colour on the floor is often overlooked when divvying up the colour palette).

• Allocate the remaining 50-40% to smaller items like sofa, rugs, cushions, etc.

• Save 5-10% of the room for the accent colour.

• Also add a touch of black or white within the space to ground the room as a whole.  These are neutrals or non-colours and don’t appear on the colour wheel and to be (should be) included in the overall percentage breakdown.