August 30, 2012
The colours you choose can dictate the feel of your home – and your mood
by Yanic Simard, photography by Brandon Barre
Colour is a multi-billion-dollar industry. It is also the most powerful aspect in the design world. It can change the way you’re feeling, stimulate thought, increase your appetite – it’s really quite phenomenal.
You’re drawn to colours that you like when you’re shopping for clothing because you know you’ll feel good when you’re wearing them, and the same thing goes for interiors. Statistics show that most people spend about 90 per cent of their time inside, a large portion of which is in their own home. If you live with colours that make you feel good, it will make for a better quality of life.
Deciding which direction to take in terms of colour is where many people tend to panic. My advice is to look through several magazines, tear out the pages that have elements you like, put them all in a folder and, once you have at least 20 different style images, analyze the colours that appear most often. This is a great way to get inspired and decide on colours for your own space.
I am very particular about colour selection and when I design a space, I like to keep the walls through any open areas in a consistent hue. My entire place is painted in Benjamin Moore’s OC-23, Classic Grey. It’s a very soothing colour that really adapts to the other colours around it – like a chameleon. It’s a nice hue to wake up to in the morning and to fall asleep to at night. The tone of it varies throughout the day with the amount of light; it’s brighter in the day and much richer in the evening.
When you’re choosing your paint colour, remember: it’s just paint. It’s not permanent and can be easily changed if you’re not happy with it.
People always forget that you can get sample cans from the paint store. Pick up a maximum of three different testers that you like, paint sections of each on different walls (or paint large sheets of white Bristol board and stick them up), and live with them for a few days. (If you give yourself more than three options, trust me, you’ll never decide). Then narrow it down to your favourite two, and then finally pick the one.
Get Used to It
Choosing a colour palette should never be an impulsive decision; you should take time deciding so you know you’ll be comfortable with it. Once you finally do paint the walls, you might still wonder if you selected the right colour. However, keep in mind that you have to give yourself the chance to live with it.
Big changes take time to adapt to. For instance, if you’re going from burgundy to off-white you can’t expect to get used to it within the first few hours.
Pillows, accessories and other accent pieces give you the chance to have fun with colour, since they’re ‘non-committal.’ I’ve used hints of blue and green throughout my interior. It’s nice to have your entire residence consistent in terms of colour because then you can move pieces from one room to the next and you’ll never have to worry about making sure it coordinates.
Just remember that choosing colours for your home won’t happen overnight. It’s a process that starts with getting inspired; the rest will fall into place. It should be fun, not painful. And if you find that you really can’t do it on your own, it’s probably time to hire a good designer to do it for you.
YANIC SIMARD Guide and principal designer of Toronto Interior Design Group. Specializing in residential and commercial projects, Yanic often applies his signature high/low and old/new combination techniques in developing his unique designs. He has created designs for clients in Toronto, Montreal and Miami, and appears as a regular guest expert on Citytv’s CityLine. tidg.ca • facebook.com/yanic.simard • twitter.com/yanicsimard