CHUCK OUT THAT PAPER LAMPSHADE!
We've been looking at lighting - a lot of lighting. Not being the easiest part of the room to get right, as it should never be just the big light on (as Peter Kaye would say). Lighting should be layered, there can be more than one light source in a room and know that dim-able and even subtle coloured light can transform the ambience without it being seedy and it needn't be extortionate.
Use groups of lights together, light through coloured glass, show off your vintage bulb, chic up your desktop. Stick them on the floor in the corner of your living room for a classy uplight, add lamps to tables, fireplaces and walls and play with the combinations of light (including the big light but on a dimmer please). Treat yourself; buy an investment and conversation piece or buy two or three budget pieces which together will give a more considered and expensive look to your scheme.
Movable, delicate, glowing, sit down on-able, childlike and classic, here are our top shops which you might not have heard of before, for relevant and stylish pieces many of which you can plug in today.
And if you now need an extension lead this company will build one for you. Here's one I made earlier
*Just like the city itself, London's Interiors blogs offer something for everyone.
Whether it’s a calming space to relax, a family-friendly environment or unexpected snippets of inspiration at every turn, these London-based bloggers have captured the hearts – and design sensibilities – of thousands in the capital and beyond. Step inside and see for yourself…
The Open Plan
Whereas most interiors bloggers start their sites as enthusiasts with a great eye but little design experience, Lisa Roberts-Goldner of The Open Plan studied at the Chelsea College of Arts and has her own interior design business. Despite her impressive professional credentials (including working for the uber cool kitchen company Plain English and with a host of notable designers) her blog is full of fun and quirky observations that make up her trademark style. Expect cool interiors spotted around London, places to visit for design nerds and advice on everything from paint selection to choosing a new kettle.
*All text is from Ideal Home Website
So now you're colour scheming like a pro? (You will be if you've read Parts 1-3) You've shortlisted a bunch of colours. Next stage is to test them out. Let's buy some sample pots.
Save yourself time not money
Too many times I've skimped by only buying 2-3 sample pots only to find that they're not quite right. Then it's back to the shop/website to buy another followed by yet another visit to buy one more - Argh! If you've got 5+ colours on your shortlist buy them all now. For the sake of another £4 per pot it'll save you so much time. Whilst you're at it buy a good quality roll of wallpaper lining paper too.
NB Dulux will send you mini testers in the post for £1.49 - bargain!
Paint 'em up
Here's where you need your lining paper. Take a good meter of paper per colour and paint the whole piece. Leave to dry. Now you have portable large-scale colour samples. Take each colour and stick them on the wall that receives the most light, then the darkest wall. If the paint will be on any horizontals such as shelves lay the samples down too. This will give you the best idea of how the colours look in the actual room and at different times of the day and under artificial light be it vibrant or dull, yellow or pink tinge, cold or warm. It's possible that you'll also spot colours which work better together immediately.
You should by now know which colours to use so here's a paint calculator to help you get your paint quantities right but if you still haven't decided by now call us at The Open Plan as we'll be happy to help.
Should you have sample pots or paint left over please don't throw them out. Instead take a look at our post on decorating ideas with un-used paint. Alternatively, you can donate your paint to re-cycling schemes such as Community Repaint based at local refuse sites across London and the UK who will redistribute paint to worthy causes and even re-process old paint into brand new paint as well as recycle the plastic pots and tins.
Do you find yourself staring blankly at paint charts, loving the bright yellow or charcoal grey but returning to beige and white in fear of having a custard coloured kitchen or dingy master bedroom? Part 3 of this guide walks you through how to work a paint chart and get experimental.
Paint Charts - Let's turn these little booklets of confusion into pro-decorating tools.
Easy as I, II, III
First, there are the easy to use tonal charts some of the best being Dulux, Little Greene, Paint and Paper Library and Bert and May. All of these group shades together making it easy to confidently choose several shades in seconds. From this you can allocate a different shade to different areas and items in the room - easy! If you then want a stronger shade just dip into the darker colours on the chart. For example, Paint and Paper's Plaster I-V would go brilliantly with a shock of Rhubarb and Little Greene's French Grey shades would sit perfectly with anything from Green Verditer to Atomic Red.
Cut it Up
Now cut up your paint chart making sure to keep the colour name with the paint chip. This is preferable to wrestling with a paint chart trying to get two colours to meet up. Then have fun placing the colour chips in pleasing groups on a white piece of card or paper which'll help you see their true colours. You'd be surprised how dark an off-white can look against pure white. To make life even easier take the chips that match your inspiration image (see blog Parts 1 & 2) and assemble them. Now you're getting somewhere. Don't be afraid to use several paint charts to find the colours you need, just make sure that you keep tabs on which charts the chips came from.
If you can get the paint stores in question, then you'll be able to play with their larger showroom samples. Upsizing your paint chips and seeing the colour as a larger expanse really helps you to decide on your colours. Most of the boutique paint shops offer this option and have well trained staff to help you in the decision making process. I do this all the time, so you should too.
I wasn't planning on it but think I'll do a Part 4 - Sample Pots watch out for it.....
Do you find it difficult to pick colours for your interiors? Wonder how on earth you combine more than two colours in one space? What if I told you about some quick and easy ways to do this?
Colour Picker Apps and Websites
As a trained designer with an eye for detail and a love of colours I'll often refer back to useful references to double-check myself. Then at times I'll find the perfect colour but need to turn it into an actual paint. So, here I'll tell you about some of my favourite Apps and websites that help me on a daily basis.
NB With all the combinations you may come up with, a simple rule of thumb is if you want a bold room use the boldest colour in the colour scheme on large expanses such as walls, floors, doors and sofas and the subtler colours as accents on the ceiling, architectural features and soft furnishings. For a calmer room just reverse this formula.
1. Design Seeds - Following on from Part 1 of this colour scheme guide, this is an even easier way to take inspiration from images, landscapes and nature with pre-picked images already colour picked to give you instant colour scheme. Look up a colour and see a whole range of palettes to use on your home.
2. Dulux Colour Visualiser - This easy to use app lets you pick a colour from anywhere, and, with augmented reality technology, allows you to see the colours live in your living space. And that’s not all. They'll also offer you suggested colour schemes to help complete your look.
3. Valspar Virtual Painter - This American paint range is now stocked in B&Q and comes in a massive range of sophisticated colours. Similar to the Dulux app you can paint any room in a try before you buy fashion and you've just extended your options by 1764 colours.
4. Color Picker - This app helps you to find the RGB (useful for printing projects such as custom walls) and RAL colour (the universal colour list) from an image in seconds. Having this information means that you can get the perfect shade to match anything!
Watch out for Part 3 and if you missed Part 1 of our guide go back and read it here now!
One of London's Best Interiors Bloggers (Ideal Home magazine), The Open Plan Interior Design, London produces contemporary interiors for homes and business' and this very useful home interiors blog