Five colour themes

Five colour themes
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First Published: Sun, May 04 2008. 11 39 PM IST

Updated: Sun, May 04 2008. 11 39 PM IST
The classic scheme is characterized by harmony and balance. It is a gentle layering of shade variations and complementary accent colours that allow the eye to travel over the space without too many distinctive visual breaks. Pastels such as peach, pale blue, butter yellow, beige, caramel and ashes of roses find favour here. These shades are cool and easy on the eye. This isn’t to say that a classical scheme in a deeper colour scheme such as crimson or forest green would not be equally effective.
The trick to achieving the scheme is to make sure that while layering the base colour, the variations should not be more than two to three shades apart. The gradation should be subtle. The percentage of accent colour added to the mix is so little that it plays out as an offset to the basic colour and not as an element in itself.
All in all, this is a fairly easy theme to achieve and live with. Perhaps, the only thing to be watchful of is that it doesn’t end up as too bland. Choose your colours well and be careful to add just enough highlight.
This one’s for those who like to live life king-size, with an accent on glamour. If the other style choices were about restraint, this one is about pulling out all the stops. In fact, when it comes to the dramatic look, the bolder your choice, the better it is.
The use of rich colours and accents, and strong shade contrasts work well for this theme. Deep burgundy, royal purple, teal, chocolate, olive and midnight blue are signature hues, often laced with gold or other metallic accents.
You can afford to use more than three colour and tone combinations here, provided you achieve an attractive balance of elements. Your main shade needs to be the strongest, and would represent 65-70% of the room. The primary accent is next, at about 20%. Your secondary and tertiary accents, if any, can be distributed in varying degrees in the remaining space.
Just be careful not to go from glamorous to gaudy. So, try and maintain the colour balance.
Organic themes have always been popular and are characterized by hues representing nature and the elements. These colour schemes could bring alive the lushness of a tropical rainforest or the balmy breeze on a beachfront. The basic idea can be expanded or played on by using natural materials such as organic fibres, untreated wood and so on.
The colours that could be used would depend on the particular theme chosen—sand, eggshell, wheat, sea green, ultramarine blue, ochre, olive green and rust are a few. The only watchword for a theme like this would be moderation. Also, remember, this is supposed to be a sensory representation, not a literal one.
As the name suggests, the minimalist theme subscribes somewhat to a spartan philosophy. Less is obviously more. While classicism requires the colours to blend agreeably for the overall effect, the minimalist approach is all about clever juxtaposition.
Generally, this is a one-two combination scheme in which no more than two colours are used in one space. Typically, the base colour—often a neutral shade such as white, beige, pewter or charcoal—dominates most of the space. This base colour may run through the flooring as well as furniture, thereby minimizing any visual breaks or colour separation. To finish, robust doses of the second colour—usually a brighter, stronger and contrasting shade—are distributed around the room in smaller doses, providing counterpoints for the base colour. The trick to achieving the effect is to have a sense of balance when deciding on the colours and their placement. The accent is key—overdo it and the effect could be jarring. Underdone, the room could end up featureless, lacking in points of interest.
This theme is possibly the loosest one in the design canon and, therefore, the riskiest. The flipside, of course, is that it is also the most fun and the most forgiving. Individualism is key and it’s all about personal voice and vision. So, obviously there are no set rules and the possibilities are many.
As a rule of thumb, you could choose not to designate a particular colour set. Keep the space fairly basic and then let the colour flow through via various accessories. But that’s just one way of achieving the eclectic look.
It must be said, though, that this is one look that is best attempted if you are somewhat conversant with colour and are confident of your choices. Though the beauty of the eclectic theme is that you might actually have wanted it to look “undefined” in the first place! If it pleases you, it ought to be enough to silence all naysayers…just don’t expect them to agree.
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First Published: Sun, May 04 2008. 11 39 PM IST
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