The Situation Room

Colour Guide

Rich, warm

Colour Scheme
Textural, minimal, eclectic, tactile, vintage, mature

Key textures
Concrete, various aged woods, fabric, handmade wool rugs, brass, paper, stone


My collection of paint fan decks has multiplied this week with the addition of the US colour breakdown. Some are as thick as a phone book (a redundant expression now I suppose!). To ensure I’m giving you the best possible match along with colour palette being harmonious, I cover my desk, which sits next to the window, with all the decks so I can view them in natural light, it even amazes me at times how much the colours can alter. As with all colour palettes, each colour is there for a reason and changing one because the hardware store doesn’t have the right tint base is where it can all go a bit Pete Tong (Cockney rhyming slang for wrong).

The collection of furniture in this room is varied in style, period and genre, the perfect example of eclectic. The most welcoming and interesting homes are the ones that integrate hand-me-downs with modern purchases together with the odd vintage and antique pieces as they all tell a story about the owner. Like most images of interiors you wonder who lives there, my guess this is the home of a Professor of Russian literature (sorry my imagination running wild).

Please don’t be put off by 65% of the space being consumed by grey and the use of concrete. This can easily translate to the more traditional finishes of grey textured wallpaper, paint or limestone tiles. The mix of the grey concrete and stone would generally feel quite cold, uninviting and noisy but the use of a natural material like wood answers the feeling of cold and the textural rugs along with the upholstery jointly absorb the noise.

Another element that makes the space feel relaxed and inviting is the visual messiness of the wall of books. The ash bookcase together with the elm wood console and sofa frame collectively add 19%.

The 8% deep rich plum colour of the seating gives a sense of maturity and warmth to the interior. It’s the same strength of colour as the rug and the Chinese antique console.

The 2% white adds a crispness and defines the furnishings around it. With the frame mounts, coffee table, vase, lamp shade and cute little egg all being solid blocks of colour they divert your attention from the books.

The similarity in design of the concrete and rug – both uneven in tone –  add texture and depth to the interior. The handmade rugs with their warm reds, mauves and burnt senna tones remind me of wine (that could be due to the fact I wouldn’t mind a glass). The deep red along with the senna shades count for 2% each in the colour palette. While the 1% mauve from the rug has been highlighted by the hydrangeas. As I’ve mentioned previously, with the armchairs being grouped on the rug you create an island and focal point that is subconsciously welcoming.

Where the rest of the materials predominately absorb the light, the 1% brass of the standard lamp and sculpture on the console are reflective adding a twinkle to the room.

The unexpected sliver of melon colour in the artwork is only noticed on closer inspection of the room as a whole.


TIP: A loose arrangement of books makes a space feel relaxed and invites the guests to inspect. Books also add texture and absorb sound.

TIP: Paint techniques such as lime and french washes not only add depth to a scheme but they can also tone down the impact of a solid colour.


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