The emotional reaction we each have to a rainbow of colours, to pattern and texture is obvious. Some of us have a passion for green but can’t abide blue, others loathe florals but love simple geometric patterns, and many favour natural textures over shiny, man-made fabrics and finishes that are cold to the touch. But the use of colour, pattern and texture within a room has a more technical component which, in part, explains our emotional response in the first place.
For many it might be enough to declare “I love yellow” and paint everything in sight in varying shades of sunny buttercup. But for the serious decorator who wants to explore the full potential of a space, to exploit its architectural assets and provide a background foil for furnishings and textiles, colour choice is more than a matter of ‘going with your feelings’.
However, personal preference should always be your starting point. Listen to your instincts. There’s no point using a soft pastel pink to give a room a sense of freshness if you can’t stand the colour. You’re better off selecting something neutral and adding accents of pattern and colour to achieve your personal decorating goal.
It’s important to examine your emotional response to the elements used in the room. It’s a well-known fact that they can have a powerful effect on our energy levels and the way we react to, and within, the decorated environment, so start out by questioning your emotional reaction to colours, to textures and patterns before doing anything else. What colours encourage you to relax? What combination of colours makes you feel happy, energetic, focussed? What patterns bring back fond childhood associations or evoke memories of great times spent experiencing far-flung cultures? Which textures do you find yourself wanting to reach out and touch and which do you find jarring, causing a sense of friction?
All these aspects need to be taken into consideration long before the first can of paint is purchased or the first bolt of fabric is cut. The psychology of colour in particular should be explored, even if only briefly, before you go to all the time and expense of decorating or renovaing your home. You won’t want to find, after all your trouble, that you can’t bear sitting in your new green and yellow lounge room or you loathe being in your blue bedroom in the bright morning sunlight.