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Interior inspiration: Playing with colour

The artist Kandinsky said: “colour is a power which directly influences the soul” – and who could argue with that?

The colours you surround yourself with are, indeed, one of the most personal and transformative decisions you can make in your home.

Colour has the potential to influence the mood of a space – which is why it’s always a central part of our designs. That’s not to say that our designs are always bright or vibrantly hued, just that we embrace colour in all its forms.

Playing with a palette

Our most recent collection – The Islands – was inspired by exotic, far-flung destinations. The forms we used included whales, lobsters, seashells, coral and tropical birds and we created a series of textures and geometrics to accompany our more illustrative designs.

The colour palette for this collection began with fresh, cool and typically beachy hues of sea green, blue and golden yellow. We then started to experiment with adding…

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Rich tones of wine and deep petrol blue...
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Pops of pastel and bright neon...
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Dazzling accents of coral and jade...
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and we expanded into more muted tones.
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Exploring the way colour changes our designs is always fascinating. Take Martinique, a design based on outsized anatomically-drawn seashells. When the design is rendered in charcoal tones it reads as formal, elegant and sophisticated, and would suit a minimally styled interior, whereas the classic blue and stone combination lends itself to a more airy, playfully nautical theme.

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We also created several colour variations – ranging from light and bright to rich and dark – which completely alter the mood and effect created by our Kitts and Bahama designs.

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If you’re drawn to a distinctive and colourful wallcovering, for example Bahama in stone/green (below), then you might opt to base your colour scheme around that. Here, the russet, silver, and emerald have pulled through into the furnishings: 

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Don't fear colour: seek out inspiration...

Many of the most exciting, stylish, and aspirational interiors incorporate colour in a brave and creative way – but where to begin? We recommend composing an overarching colour scheme that pleases your eye and sparks the mood and feeling you’re looking to create – whether that’s cosy, airy, dramatic, lively, or relaxed.

One tip is to look for inspiration from those who have accomplished colour in a way that you enjoy and admire. The American modern painter Milton Avery is one of Elizabeth’s favourite artists. Avery used colour in a really exciting way – the paint has a luminosity and dynamism, where the dark offsets the light or clean and pure hues meet subdued or moody tones. These paintings are saturated with a depth of pigment and have an almost electric quality to them that is very pleasing. Avery’s colour combination in the painting below, for example – inky blue, dusky pink and mauve, crisp white and earthier sand and brown tones – could be reworked into the scheme for a room:

Milton Avery, Along the Coast

Pinterest is also a helpful resource for exploring colour inspiration – simply search for terms, such as ‘emerald green room’ for successful design ideas: 

Image credit: deardesigner
Pink and emerald interior shot
Image credit: Maggie Overby Studios
Emerald lounge
Image credit: Nicola Broughton
Emerald and pink interior room
Image credit: Living After Midnight

The website and Instagram account of Michelle Ogundehin – writer, TV presenter and former Editor-in-Chief at Elle Decoration UK – are also great references for finding colour inspiration – see how she has pulled together a tonal palette, inspired by this image:

Inspired colour palette
Image credit: Michelle Ogundehin

Look at colour trends...

We can’t help but be drawn into the buzz that surrounds both Dulux and Pantone’s colours of the year when they’re unveiled – it’s interesting to see the accompanying palettes and observe how these are received by the industry and public.

Pantone’s 2020 Color of the Year is 19-4052 Classic Blue – a richly bold and velvety hue that reminds us of deep oceans and the sky at dusk. Classic Blue is restful and reflective. It is timeless and reassuringly solid: a colour that’s altogether ‘bigger than us’.

On revealing Classic Blue in December 2019, Pantone describe the colour as “instilling calm, confidence, and connection, this enduring blue hue highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.”

Pantone Colour Palette Desert Twilight
Image credit: Pantone
Pantone Colour Palette Untraditional
Image credit: Pantone

Likewise, a fresh start and the colour of the sky also informed Dulux’s Colour of the Year for 2020. Sitting in the space between grey and celadon-green, Tranquil Dawn was inspired by the serenity of the morning sky. It’s a soft and ethereal hue – a versatile almost-neutral that adapts and shifts with the light and whatever other colours are used alongside it.

In fact, Dulux’s colour experts have explained that Tranquil Dawn “can be used to create spaces for care or for play, to find meaning or for creativity”

Dulux Colour Inspiration Tranquil Dawn
Image credit: Dulux
Dulux Colour inspiration tranquil dawn
Image credit: Dulux

Both institutions selected their shade for this year – the start of a new decade – with an optimism and an emphasis on a fresh start but who could have predicted what lay ahead for our planet?

And finally: ignore the colour 'rules'

Shouldn’t pair pink with red? Nonsense! We love this combination – in all its iterations – from pastel pink with crimson to dusky pink with deep ruby, and clashing hot fuchsia with raspberry red.

Blue and green should never be seen? This is a combination found in nature – how could it be wrong? With so many shades to choose from – from palest apple, vibrant verdigris or deep forest green; and ice through to ink –  the possible pairings are endless.

We believe it’s fine to break these outdated and general rules – you should enjoy the freedom to combine colours that spark delight.

We hope our article has inspired you to take the plunge with colour! For help and advice about any of our collections, please email us on enquiries@elizabethockford.com.

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Community post: Free digital paper bundle

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Digital Paper Bundle Title Image

We have been rummaging through our design archives to get together a free digital paper bundle for you to use with your arts and crafts at home.

Simply use the link below, download as many digital papers as you want and print them at home to use with your creative ideas.

How to use the digital papers?

Click on this link to access all 100 digital papers. 

Once they are downloaded you can either print them straight away on your printer at home or you can use an image editing software to take full advantage of the seamless designs by placing them next to one another creating a bigger pattern to use. 

How are they offered?

All of the 100 digital papers are offered as high resolution 30cm x 30cm JPGs. 

These are seamless designs so you can place as many as you’d like next to each other, both horizontally and vertically, to create a bigger pattern repeat.

There are five different colourings over twenty different designs meaning you can mix and match the different papers in hundreds of different ways.

What to create using the digital papers?

The papers can work in an abundance of ways: from collaging your favourite drawing; adding to your scrapbook; or even creating greeting cards to send to your loved ones.

There are so many ways to utilise these digital papers and we would love to see what you do with them.

Either tag us on Instagram (@Elizabethockford) or email your photos to info@elizabethockford.com

These designs are 100% free to use, we wanted to offer something to our customers during these uncertain times and what better way than to utilise our strength in pattern.

We wish you all good health in the weeks and months to come.

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Interior inspiration: 5 ways to use THAT colour blue that will be in interiors everywhere in 2020

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Back in December 2019, Pantone announced that its colour of the year for 2020 would be 19-4052 Classic Blue. But what does that mean for the average person, who wants to decorate their home in the latest trend?
I have always loved having a blue bedroom- and have painted at least three bedrooms in different houses in a Sanderson Boy Blue – to me it is the perfect shade of English Sky blue. Each of those bedrooms always felt full of celestial light; calm and relaxing.

But this shade as advocated by Pantone is much stronger and bolder- so how can it be used?

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1 Don’t be afraid of the Dark

Strong colour does not necessarily mean a dark and unwelcoming interior. Using rich jewel tones adds depth to a room, and saturated colour tones change with the time of day and the daylight - making a room feel mysterious and entrancing. It gives an Interior Designer an opportunity to add depth of character to a space.

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2 You don’t have to use only one colour in an Interior scheme.

So, yes, this strong blue is the ‘fashion’. But what if you just can’t face having an entire room or even a whole wall, in it? Then choose a wallpaper design where the strong blue is well balanced with a neutral ground. You are then free to add perhaps a gorgeous dark blue velvet sofa, to bring out the colour, but your room still can breathe.

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3 Re-interpret the classic Blue and White colour scheme

Use a design that is effectively navy and white- always a smart colour combo. This nautical design, Martinique, has over-sized shells in clear blue on an off-white ground- and will reflect light around a room, whatever the weather.

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4 Go for glamour and interest

Choose a design that has the strong blue as its main colour but also contains many other jewel tones. Also, a pearlescent ground on a wallpaper will help darker colours to reflect light and will lift the wallcovering’s appearance.
You could pick out many different colours from this design, for instance, to accessorise your room.

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5 A smile goes a long way

I love designs that make me smile, and also seem to have a story to them. Just because dark blue has a serious mood to it, you can still find characterful designs that use it. I bet you will find this design is a talking point in any interior.

I am hopeful that at the start of the new 20’s, we will see a much greater use of characterful design and rich, jewel like colours. Embrace them- as a healthy, happy antidote to the grey years of the noughties.
The trend for sophisticated neutrals has gone on too long- Long Live Colour!!!

Visit my Instagram @elizabethockford to follow my designs and colour inspiration.

 

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