Rat Pack 2011


Colour Guide

Colour Scheme
Monochromatic, chic, angular, masculine

Key Textures
Leather, velvet, slate, uneven wood, brass, timber walls


Anyone familiar with Frank Sinatra’s Palm Springs estate will get my reference to the Rat Pack (can’t you just see the Chairman of the Board, Sammy and Dean partying the night away?) The iconic 50s slate fireplace is the focal point of this room and contributes more to the space than heat. Like anyone, I too keep tear sheets and references for the home I WILL have one day and this period of interior architecture features heavily. The material, the scale and the dual room function are all high on my bucket list for an interior.

This scheme consists of only four colours – black, white and brown – all considered to be neutral colours, with literally a hint of green. Sounds really basic but within each of these colours there are various textures, finishes and materials which add depth and interest, giving you the feeling there is more colour than there actually is. The type of slate used in the fireplace has touches of brown throughout which stops it from being a black box in the middle of the room. You already have the black stained wood walls, the room doesn’t need another large spance of black surfaces.  If you like this scheme and are thinking of substituting brown for any other colour, Stop! This scheme is based on a neutral colour palette and to add a ‘colour’ would be like wearing a white wedding dress with a bike helmet; it would totally throw off the balance desired effect and distract from the beauty.

What is the first colour you see when you look at this image? Black! The reason why black dominates this room is probably because the walls are at eye level and because black is physiologically arresting. The other trick here is that you would also assume, percentage wise, that black consumes the space…but it doesn’t. The subtle slightly off-white used on the floor, sofa and ceiling actually takes 50% of the space. The white appears in the wool carpet, goat skin rug, leather sofa (forgive the creative license as I can’t see exactly what fabric it is) and the flat, white painted ceiling. You also have the texture of the coral. So together you can see how white is the majority colour within the space.

43% of the scheme is allocated to various textures of black. Black is in the wood panelled walls, cushions on the sofa, the armchair, lamp bases, plant pots and even the round bowl on the tables. And then of course there is the fireplace that is predominantly black in colour.

Then we have the 5% brown of the wooden table, the brown deep-buttoned upholstered side chair, cushions on the back sofa and a hint of brown coming from the slate. All of these items together with the bronze arms of the sofa and the antique brass side table add texture and with the changes in material adds depth.

Lastly, and almost more importantly, notice the 2% of green in the cactus. Physiologically, having a living plant – potted or cut – in your home adds a sense of calm and peace. By  modern Feng Shui practices, placing these in your east or southeast corner, you will generate good luck and fortune. And who doesn’t want these on a Saturday when reading your lotto numbers or on a night out hoping to meet Mr/ Mrs right!

You can see that no material or treatment has been repeated in this interior. Case in point; see the contrast of the hard, square angles of the sofa and fireplace opposite the decorative chair. It’s an extremely tactile interior with minimal colour and quite different from my posts to date.

It’s the eye for detail that holds a scheme together.


TIP: When you are working with a minimal colour palette, add as many textures as possible to create diversity within the interior and to avoid it looking dull.


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


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