Smart Casual


Cool Guide

Colour Scheme
Refined, masculine, modern, eclectic

Key Textures
Matt paint finishes, leather, suede, silver gilt, chrome, patent leather, panelling


What caught my eye about this room is that the two-toned paneled walls have been left clear of any furniture. You’ll often notice furniture is placed parallel to the walls at 90° angles but this doesn’t always have to be the case. If you have a large room or minimal furniture in a small space, you’re able to play around with the layout which adds interest. By placing furniture away from the walls on a 45° angle, for example, what you create is an open path to approaching any of the seats from a variety of angles. It’s less formal and makes the guest interact with space more freely and appreciate the furniture. If you placed this mulberry coloured Utrecht armchair against a wall it would be criminal. Like most furniture, it has been designed to be appreciated from all angles not just the seated perspective.

This image also shows that interconnecting rooms don’t have to use the same period of furniture or colours but they do need a common thread. In this case, they are all modern furnishings.

The walls in the majority of homes – unless you live on the coast or country in which case your walls are probably mostly glass – are generally the base of a rooms colour scheme. Here the walls have been divided into two colours or hues. The dark inserts in the panelling visually take up to 25% of the scheme, while the beading, which is lighter, adds a further 10%. If you are going to do this make sure you use a contrasting colour.

The white ceiling and the light Ash parquet floor equal the same volume, 15% each.

The cream colour of the sofa takes up 10% of the scheme. Their simple and slight convex shape is juxtaposed to the background. Natural light does funny things – look closely at how it bounces off the cream leather seating and casts a hue directly above on the ceiling and on the wall beside it. If the light was shining directly on the wall the opposite would happen, it would cast a dark hue over the sofa.

The 8% anthracite upholstered sofa with its clean modern lines and button detailing gives a nod to the period of the room. 6% of silver appears in various guises, from the gilt mirror and chair frame. Along with the floor standing candelebra and the chrome ceiling light, they add a touch of sparkle.

I find the 4% black really interesting. Not so much for the colour itself but in the various ways it appears. You have the contemporary wave patterned ceiling shades, the black Utrecht armchair (love the blanket stitch detail on the arms) and the round side table but it’s the black patent leather Louis Bergere style chair that is the surprise. By using this glossy material on a traditional shape it gives your conscience an unexpected poke that will remind you of that point in time or location.

With the rug being a slightly lighter colour of the sofa it doesn’t fight with the paneling. The 4% off – white rug creates an island or unit of seating which stops the furniture floating within the space.

The 2% deep red has been used as the accent and has been kept in the same tone as the dark section of the panelling. If you choose to go brighter with the accent it would be like a thunder cloud with a flash of lighting, nothing wrong with that but in this context the contrast would be too sharp. If you don’t like mulberry you could choose dark olive or khaki, just keep the choice along the same tone as the red.

And finally, the 1% hint of brown has been drawn out of the artwork and used in cushions. Adding a further texture to the room is the brownish tones in the etching and wood grain tables.


TIP: By keeping furniture away from the wall you achieve full visual impact of the wall treatment.

TIP: Light can bounce colour from one item to another, affecting you perception of the actual colour.

NOTE: If your windows face either directly North or South the sun will be more intense and will travel further into the room. West and East windows will create a softer more even light through the room during the day. 


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