Colour: Calamity or conquest?

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Colour: Calamity or conquest?

Ever walked into a room and just felt sick? It could be the paint, and I don't mean the base. "Colour affects us unconsciously and can profoundly alter mood, appetite and energy levels," says Tammy Schnurr, of W Network's hit show Arresting Design. "Really, all facets of health -- physical, mental, and emotional -- are affected." There are no hard and fast rules to staying healthy colour-wise. "Some people find orange happy and energetic, while others associate it with dated and drab spaces," says Colour Confidential host Jane Lockhart. "Red is often associated with high energy or romantic moods, while green is said to make people calm and relaxed."

Bottom line: we can't tell you what colour will be best for your surroundings (you need to log some serious time with the paint chip aisle at your favourite retailer), but we can give you some pointers on how to make colour work in your home. Herewith, cast members and hosts from some of your favorite decor shows share their tips.

Take a trial run
Paint test patches of colour on your walls, or pin fabric samples onto your furniture. Spending some time with these "tests" will help you decide if you're on the right decorating track. Maybe you'll discover a certain colour looks fabulous by lamplight but is overbearing in full afternoon sun…the only way to find out is by experimenting. Candice Olson, Divine Design

Mock it up
Create a sample board with all proposed fabric swatches, paint chips and wallpaper samples. You can really visualize the big picture this way! Candice Olson, Divine Design

Small spaces
Light colours on the walls, floors and ceilings create the illusion of space. It's best to keep all four walls the same colour and inject warmth and interest with brightly coloured accessories. Tammy Schnurr, Arresting Design

Big spaces
Big spaces need darker, richer toned paint and furniture to create intimacy. Another simple way to make a large room cozy is to use rough or thick-textured carpets and upholstery. Jeffrey Fisher, Arresting Design

Remember that opposites attract
Generally colours that lie opposite each other on the colour wheel enliven a room by making a bold statement. Yellow and blue remains a popular combination. Tammy Schnurr, Arresting Design

Stay neutral
If you buy large items, such as sofas, in neutral colours then you can easily update the room with new accessories and a fresh paint colour, all without breaking the bank." Jeffrey Fisher, Arresting Design

Whiten up
Many people love pure white, but for added sophistication tint it with a hint of yellow or lavender. This will give plain white a tantalizing hidden, and subtle depth. Jeffrey Fisher, Arresting Design

Be gorgeous
Colour has an amazing ability to not only make a room look better, but also to make us look better. For instance, bright yellow walls in a bathroom with only fluorescent lighting can make skin look drab and bring out dark under-eye circles in fair-skinned people. Rose, peach or lavender hues reduce purple redness in skin tone. Jane Lockhart, Colour Confidential

Look up, look way up …
The colour of ceilings is an endless debate: should they always be white, or at least lighter than the walls? White on the ceiling doesn't make a room feel higher unless all the walls are light in tone, so there is little contrast with the ceiling. If walls are dark, however, tinting the ceiling reduces its visibility, and makes it appear higher. Jane Lockhart, Colour Confidential

In the end
"Don't underestimate your gut reaction to a hue -- be sensitive to how it makes you feel." Tammy Schnurr, Arresting Design


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Colour: Calamity or conquest?