Some people will ask - what is the difference between indigo and blue?! Well technically indigo is a pigment extracted from a plant called Indigofera and has been in use since antiquity. The colour has a very saturated hue and is a blue with quite a bit of red purple undertones - if you see where it lies in the colour spectrum this makes a lot of sense.
So now how should one use it in their interiors. In its essence it is a dark saturated colour so I want to show you the best ways I think it can be used ranging from lighter interiors to darker spaces. You can have it faded or bleached or with greyer undertones added to soften the colour.
So first and foremost - using indigo as an accent colour is brilliant. It immediately adds drama and depth to any interior. Its so easy to combine it with neutrals and it fits in easily in classic and modern interiors equally. Using light and airy neutrals with such a deep colour has a nice grounding effect and keeps the space balanced between the light and darker colours. See how it is used above, sparingly on soft furnishings to add interest or as an accent colour piece of furniture. A really smart tool used here is keeping the same colour but implementing it in different patterns and textures such as the block indigo as the throw but different prints in the cushions. Equally on the cupboard, the black pieces above it have blue undertones that really tie in neatly.
For more drama, go crazy with indigo. Paint nearly everything in it to create a moody sophisticated look, or add even more depth with panelling. Always add some neutrals and warm woods to contrast.
Slipping into these deep gorgeous colours now with violets. It can be a bit of a marmite colour but its a strong favourite with some brands and reflects stability and nobility. Think of a chocolate bar with the purple wrapper - you know exactly what I'm talking about. This colour was quite popular to use historically and also in the 80s and has fallen out of favour in mainstream interiors but I know there are a few of you out there who absolutely love this colour, and why not its deep and luscious and feels like a big hug, no wonder it was the Pantone colour of the year 2018. So here are a few examples of some great purple rooms.
If you are braver and want to have a more saturated hue, but dont want the room to be violet dominant - use it as an accent. Such as in a beautiful chair - remember that the different fabric qualities also contribute to how the colour will look. Therefore a velvet is more likely to look very saturated as opposed to a linen. Its a great way to highlight a favourite reading spot. You can also use it in temporary soft furnishings, such as a beautiful throw that injects some colour into an otherwise monochrome room.
Now, if you are thinking "I'm not sure I am brave enough to invest a whole piece to violet", it could be an expensive thing to remedy - how about using violet on the inside of a cupboard like Claudia Pelizzari did in this shot. Its genius as creates a real statement piece without having to be on show the whole time. Definitely a conversation starter!
Now if you are feeling braver yet - why not going bold... and doing a fully purple space. Go super dark for that luxe moody room or zingy for that playful whimsical look.
So! Are you feeling inspired yet? Whats your favourite image? Is purple SOOO the colour for you now? Or will you swear off it for ever!? Let me know in a comment below!
Moving on the colour series to probably the most powerful colours out there. Red. The colour of passion, love, blood, rage and drama.
From the deepest darkest red, through the terracottas to the softest shade of pink it has been used in interiors for years. Red is a royal colour that has such a richness to it. That is why its called the "red carpet". Using it smartly can really make an impact. It is a very strong colour so use it in spaces, that need an injection of drama and spectacle. Pair it with lighter colours for a classic look or with darker colours for a moodier sophisticated look. It immediately injects warmth and that "cosy" feel. With smart advertising it has now become ubiquitous with Christmas. It is also the traditional colour of good luck and happiness in China, and the traditional colour of Indian wedding dresses. Here are some great examples of its use in design.
Going for a more scarlet red but it with darker colours for a ramped up playful luxe look.
For a more saturated colour, get closer to the primary colour itself, do it in gloss to make it shine. You can use it sparingly as an accent colour such as in this bright white twin bedroom, or really go for it and use it all over.
Go for a darker crimson red, closer to raspberry to really up the drama. Again in a single piece such as this stunning red velvet sofa, or as an immersive red to really make a statement of a small space. Bluer reds that verge towards the purple spectrum have a really soft cosy energy, its almost like having a great big cup of coco watching the snow fall on a winters day.
How do you feel about the reds in your home? Its one of the most expensive colours to create (according to the inside scoop from paint companies) but the least purchased! Go on treat yo self to some drama!
Bringing it back to interiors - Similarly to yellow, pairing orange with dark colours grounds its a bit and keeps it as a feature colour. Your eye is drawn to it but not overwhelmed by it. This space below by Pei Lau shows how the dark blue cabinetry calms the bright orange soft furniture in front of it. This colour combination of dark blue and orange work really well. If you wanted to you could go one step further and introduce a fabulous pattern such as this room by Sandra Baker (@the_idle_hands) where she used a burnt orange sofa contrasted with an intricate dark blue wallpaper.
Equally pairing orange with a plain lighter colour can still feel quite calm as long as its a slightly softer orange. Here in a space captured by Nicoe Franzen, you can see how the faded pumpkin colour adds warmth without overpowering the space.
If you are a brave and want to create a high energy space, go for it! Orange panelling can really highlight dark artwork or also be used smartly to highlight a feature such as a door or reading nook. See how by changing the balance and the way it is used can create a different feeling ?
Adding greens to a yellow can turn it muddy or even brown. Finding the correct shade is so important. I learnt this when using it for a clients study space recently where we tried 3 different yellows. Despite a south facing window, the light had a green element due to the large trees outside - this changed how the colour looked in different times of the day. Also I would advise seeing it on a large sample. This is definitely not the colour you want to get wrong. Get a big paper and paint it from edge to edge in your sample, as a solitary brush stroke will only look like a stain.
;The great thing about yellow is that, as it is such a strong colour it can be used as an accent in any space and highlight any feature you wish. Here are a few examples;
Go bold and colour block a reading nook or even simply creating a yellow circle around a simple bulb hanging - genius. It is a great front door colour (I am biased I know) but its like a ray of sunshine when you come home or greet guests. Nothing is better than a bright door and a welcoming smile!!
Here are my top 5 must haves in Yellow!