How to use colour in your home renovation

We work with a builder who laments that it is always paint colours that are the sticking point in a project's progress, and often a cause of delays. It’s easy to see why, having the confidence to chose a palette and stick to it can be overwhelming! Plus there is an enormous range of ways to inject colour, from the full on “gung-ho” style to the subtle introduction of simple hues and tones to gently lift a space.

So how do you choose?

By 2LG Studio

We were keen to embark on an investigative journey of colour to help YOU make your choice with confidence. As architects (who sadly can fall into the white house cliche rather often), we are in need of learning these lessons! 

Read on to find out how you can be bold and use colour in your renovation! 

By Office S&M
By nimtim architects

1. Be bold and colour the outside

We start by plunging in at the deep end and looking at using colour in the built elements of your home: the windows and doors. Why is this the deep end? Because these elements are not easily changed and are usually with you for life! Saying that, we think these two examples by Office of S&M and nimtim architects  show how just a little pop of colour can immediately add a modern twist to your new house extension.

*Top tip

Yellow is an extremely versatile colour, and is especially effective when used for frames or in small touches. When choosing colours for doors or windows, try to stay away from colours that are “on trend”. These will date quickly and have a very short shelf life.

2. Don't be afraid to colour the heart of the home

A good way to introduce colour in your home can be in the very place everyone ends up congregating, the kitchen!

By Reform
By Dries Otten

We love these two examples shown here: the first is by the furniture designer, interior architect and scenographer, Dries Otten who is known for his commitment to colour. We love how he layers up different materials, textures and colours so they work together, almost as a collage. What works extremely well in this example is the way he uses bright primary colours alongside a paler palette of light green, white tiles and the exposed birch ply cabinet doors. The overall effect is one of playfulness and balance.

The second example is by Reform, a company set up by Danish architects as an IKEA hack, and who are determined to provide extraordinary design at reasonable prices. But what we like about this example is how it proves you don’t have to use bold primary colours to create a bold colourful interior! It’s a kitchen that packs a punch but won’t hurt your eyes the morning after a night out.


*Top tip

If going for a block colour in the kitchen seems too scary, or you’re worried about being overpowered, a good solution is to go for one piece that is a big POP of colour like this incredible bright orange Lacanche Wide Range Cooker. It works well alongside the more traditional styled kitchen seen here.

3. Go for bold walls of colour

Now it’s time to get a bit radical! Often darker colours are seen as a big no-no when it comes to painting your walls, with Tom, Dick and Harry claiming it will make the space feel smaller, darker and claustrophobic. But in actual fact, it it can create incredibly beautiful and interesting spaces, and at no extra drain on the budget!

As seen in these two examples below, darker hues of blues and greens work really well with existing vintage or antique furniture and lighting pieces, using the upholstery colours in their furniture to enforce the overall aesthetic.

Homes & Garden via Pinterest
From CN Traveller

Just remember, you don't need to just opt for plain block colours. Right now there are amazing examples of popping bold prints, hand printed murals and geometric wallpapers on the market. Take a look at some examples below and get inspired!

*Top tip

If you want to go for a bold palette, a good place to start experimenting is in the transitional spaces such as the stairwell or hallways that allows you to experience colour as you pass through, like in these examples below by Office S&M and Suzy Hoodless.

By Office S&M
By Suzy Hoodless

4. Make a splash in the bathroom

If you are treading the line between trepidatious and longing to go a little bit wild, then the bathroom is a good place to start! It’s a space that you use a lot (but usually not for lengthy periods of time) and it’s a space that your guests may also use, so it’s an area that can cope with a bit of the shock factor!

We thought these two bathrooms were great examples as the one by 2LG Studio uses a subtle light pink tile, but packs a punch by using it floor to ceiling. The other example (by us in our architecture hat), uses colour on the ceiling of the bathroom and in it’s jazzy patterned tiles. The rest of the bathroom is clean, minimal - and white!


5. Inject colour into your joinery

If by this point, you are quietly muttering under your breath “But I quite like white walls”, that’s ok! There are still plenty of ways to incorporate colour into your home, and it can still be bold and beautiful!

The use of colourful cupboard doors in integrated joinery has been gaining popularity. And we love it! It tends to pop up in the kitchen or in bedrooms and brings a sense of the “bespoke” and thoughtfulness to the overall space.


Psst... You can add a little colour with your furniture

Lastly, if you are just feeling a weeny bit timid, never fear! You can use colour in your furniture. We love these two examples that show how colourful furniture can transform a room and can work with any style or period. Plus, it can always be changed. So, it may just be time to start up-cycling some of your old chairs!


As you can see, there is a myriad of ways to bring colour into your home and it can make your space feel unique and bespoke to you and your family. But, it takes A LOT of time and consideration to come to a final decision. Which is why we have also included a little four point guide to help you select your colours with confidence and minimise delays at the final stages of your project..


1. Choose er, white

Or at least a single colour throughout! This may sounds counter-intuitive, but this way you’re in no danger of slowing your contractors down and it will give you time to experience the spaces and contemplate the colours before making a commitment at a later date. Be careful though, it’s likely that after finishing your works you’ll be reluctant to do anything to your home for some time. You might end up with a minimalist white house by default for some years!

2. Choose your mood

Make a mood board, or several. It may seem a little over the top to start collaging your ‘look’ when you have a million and one other things to do, but just trying to imagine various colours or placing tiny swatches together isn’t going to help you to make a definitive decision. And this is where the potential for delay creeps in! Take images of spaces that you’ve seen on Pinterest, on paint companies websites or instagram that you like and print them out. If there are any other defining objects, paintings, furniture, flooring or even views through windows take pictures and make sure you add them to board. Playing around with different options and seeing the overall look will allow you to appreciate how your colour scheme is working together holistically and will help you lock down your decisions!


3. Choose a little help

If you’re not feeling inspired to create your own colour scheme but would like to use colour in your home then think about having a colour consultation. Both paint companies Little Green and Farrow and Ball offer a 1 hour service at your home to create colour schemes for 4 rooms in your home. The service costs £195 from either company and they will help you select colour schemes for your particular taste and home and lifestyle. They’ll then send you a written specification listing your chosen colours, designs and finishes and quantities. Farrow and Ball offer you a £50 discount if you purchase your paint with them.


4. Choose Sophie's colour workshop

If you want to take it to the next level then think about taking Sophie Robinson’s Colour Workshop. The workshop is aimed at homeowners and professionals alike and helps you to create a colour scheme that’s unique to you. Learn about the power of colour psychology and the technique of creating a mood board like a professional. If you’re a colour enthusiast, and like to use colour in other aspects of your life or work then this course might be just the thing to set you on a new path of discovery.

We really enjoyed our travels in technicolour, and hope you are also inspired! Where do you stand on the colour spectrum? Have you used colour in your home? 


Our HomeNotes Journal is here to bring you clear and up-to-date information for homeowners renovating their homes. For more in-depth help we provide online courses to help you get started the right way!

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