In her latest column for London Property Magazines, Vanessa Brady tells us all about colour and design trends, plus how the colours will make you feel.
Like new clothes, we all have different tastes, budgets and needs for each function. The difference is that if you change your mind with clothes although expensive, it’s not as critical as making interior design errors.
One of the most important decisions to make before you look at colours and trends in stores and magazines is how your choice will impact on the way you feel when you use the room. The time of day (daylight, evening etc) the term you think you might live in it (budget and investment) and what you intend to use the space for? (children, conversation, watching TV?) these become your governing spikes.
Then you determine external influences, dirt, mud, shoes directly walked in from the street impact on the material, children crawling on the floor, animal hairs etc, add such points for consideration to your spike list. Now you have the restraints, you can begin to draft a brief.
The first item to address is flooring; texture and medium. Vinyl, wood, tile, stone or carpet, the floor absorbs the most eye space so the colour and medium are highly important. Then you must consider thicknesses of the product you are selecting and the existing product it butts onto, to ensure surfaces are always level. Selecting products by budget or function will also be influenced by trends.
Only then do you begin to look at colour. Firstly choose colours to provide warmth, coolness or ambience. Take into account how long your choice must last, how it will wear and how important showing or hiding marks and dirt will be. Colour is more than just personal taste, it also has functions that designers factor into a scheme. Colour sets the mood, it makes us happy, it warns us of danger, it calms or directs us (signage is often linked by colour) and certain colours make us feel safe. Therefore as colour can affect how we feel, it can also affect our mental health. Hospitals and depression are hugely affected by the impact and recovery of colour on the wellbeing of occupants. Colour therefore also impacts on the cost of recovery in hospitals, it is a fact that colour changes the way we feel.
Wellbeing is also a main trend driver for neutral tones on interiors for the Spring/Summer 2013 season. I have worked with the trend information that the colour forecasting agency Global Color Research™ produced. Tinted greys and dusted mid-tones imbue an elegant and calming aesthetic, mixing industrial and organic elements for a modest luxury. A pared back green encourages inner balance with its connection to nature whilst paler tones, key for treatment spaces, evoke a healing atmosphere.
In the elderly, large pattern and bright colours can cause increased confusion in conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, matt finishes rather than reflective are best, along with paler shades rather than primary colours. Dark colours used in restaurants and bars create ambiance but need to be incorporated with careful lighting choices. Babies develop with colour and their ability to develop through visual stimulation of colour is evidenced throughout their development. So the first thing to select is a colour, finish and pattern suitable for the predicated occupants. If in doubt, play safe, you can easily be adventurous with low cost purchases, but selecting big changes with rare colours and patterns without advice will affect how you feel. Designers and manufacturers generally introduce accent colour in bold contrast, you can interchange these according to the season as sunshine and daylight impacts further on how we feel.
Colour, finish and texture go hand in hand for a diverse mix; application of colour is a significant factor to create mood. A palette of rainbow of colours in matt finishes brings a sophisticated look, with eclectic brights complementing softer pastel shades. A base of lilac for a feature wall with highlights of orange and dark blue in woven textiles creates a balanced effect where punchier tones are controlled and easily changeable.