Decorate your home in living colour

As a designer, I love to infuse a healthy amount of colour in the spaces I design. And, when it came to decorating my own family home, I made no exceptions. With two young kids and a small furry dog, I wanted a space that felt friendly, yet looked polished — a place for neighbours to gather and kids to play.

Before designing any space, think about the mood you want to convey. Is it a calm, relaxed space or a warm, inviting space where dinner parties evolve? You don’t need a degree in psychology to figure out which colours are right for you. Trust your gut, and you will never go wrong, but it’s important to be mindful of the mood and energy you are trying to evoke. There’s no surprise that yellow is a cheerful colour that promotes optimism. While blue is associated with tranquility, it also happens to be the preferred colour by men. I incorporated a little bit of navy for the men in my own home!

For the living room, I wanted it to be bright and energizing as this is the main sitting and socializing area of the home. The drapery fabric was my inspiration and starting point. I knew we wanted to energize the space with yellow. We already had the retro navy chairs to work with, so I chose to balance the navy of the chairs with bright yellow custom drapery.


Colour is an integral element to creating the right mood. When decorating with colour, it’s important to balance any bold colours with lots of neutrals. A little trick that I like to use is the 60-30-10 rule. When decorating a particular room, divide the colours into percentages: 60 per cent of a dominant colour, 30 per cent of a secondary colour, 10 per cent of an accent colour and you will never go wrong.

The dominant colours in our living/dining space are beige, yellow and navy. I also chose to complement the blues with hints of orange in the living room. Adding a few “bonus” colours adds further interest. I found an old traditional wingback armchair on the curb once. It was in desperate need of TLC, and so I had it stripped down and recovered with a piece of bold contemporary orange fabric. It’s cosy, warm and inviting while adding some traditional sophistication to the space.

Repetition is key to any successfully designed home. By repeating a colour multiple times in a space, it feels purposeful and comforting. We repeated the orange in the custom toss cushions and with smaller accessories. By having the same colour layered throughout the space, it creates a unified design.

It’s a family space that is now an inviting and fun place for social gatherings or curling up by the fire. It’s proof that by taking the plunge and designing with colour, you can create a space that is visually beautiful, intriguing, and sometimes surprising.

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