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When we start a project we always colour block. Colour blocking is a great way to decide the overall scheme for a one-off room or a whole house if required!

By seeing all the colours together you can get a sense of what you are gravitating towards and how the overall scheme of a home could flow.

It’s not about sticking to one scheme – it’s about experimenting with colour and pushing your design boundaries. You will be able to see clearly what palettes complement each other and those that simply don’t work! Check out this post on Instagram where we have set up 4 boards, Neutrals (cool and warm) Cool Greens & Blues and finally palette 4 the warm tones and vibrant colours! These palettes include fabrics, carpets and paints.

Sara Cosgrove Studio


When you are creating an interior design scheme you want to create something that has heart and soul. Colour can take your space to the next level; it is all about how you apply it. You can either drench the walls and ceilings, or you can just add pops of vibrant colour to bring a space to life.

So why use colour?

By adding colour, you create atmosphere and personality. A balanced use of colour creates harmony in a space while introducing accents can create focal points to delight the eye. Colour is a key tool in the designer’s bag as it can either accentuate or disguise a feature within a space.

Sara Cosgrove Studio

Understanding Colour

Colour is created by the way our eyes and brains receive different wavelengths of light when it reflects off objects. When you train as a designer, understanding colour is key and using the colour wheel is a core part of your studies. It helps you to understand what colours work together and why.  To get started, the primary colours are red, yellow and blue and by combining these colours you can get every other colour. The secondary colours are green orange and violet and the tertiary colours are combinations of blue/green, red/orange and yellow/green. The complimentary colours are the colours that are directly opposite each other like yellow and violet and are often used in small quantities as accent colours. Analogous colours are the groups of colours that are right beside each other such as red, orange etc.  Non-colours are the greys, beiges, greiges and of course white and black.

Sara Cosgrove Studio

Colour in Action

When we put a scheme together, we use every colour in the book.  In fact, we use colour to curate and create the type of atmosphere we want to achieve in a space. For example, to create a room that is serene and relaxed we tend to go for more neutral colours – taupe, beiges and greiges. If you are looking to create a bit of drama or WOW factor, we tend to go darker and saturated hues. Some shade suggestions include deep reds, burgundies, navy blues or deep forest greens.

If you are unsure of how to balance it all you can follow the 60/30/10 rule. This allows you to approach the design of a room by breaking the colours down into areas. You start with the 60% which is a single predominant colour used for the room, this would normally be your walls or large areas such as carpets. Then 30% is the secondary colour used for example on the ceiling, curtains or rug/carpet. Then there is the final 10% of colour; you will be using this in small elements that just bring more colour to the space and could be anything from throws and cushions to pieces of art or decorative items. Accent colours can be lighter colours in a dark room or darker colours in a lighter room.

Alternatively, you can go very neutral by taking creams, beiges, and greiges and layering them up. When we design a room, we often have the accent colours in mind which allows us to help the client to see them as interchangeable. Then in coming years if you want to refresh your interior all you need to do is swap out your accent colour and it can completely transform your space.

Using a neutral palette and then bringing in rich colours in smaller elements is a practical way of ensuring time is interior and one that can grow with you overtime.  You can also be bolder in smaller more occasional spaces of the house. I do not think you will ever regret choosing a rich-coloured or deeply patterned wallpaper in the powder room or a darker colour in a study or den room.  They can add interest to the overall vibe of your home, especially if you have gone for more neutral tones in the main living areas.

Sara Cosgrove Studio

Top Tip – Sample!

When choosing paint colours, I always recommend you buy sample pots and test your colour choices, that way you can really stretch your experimentation in a controlled way – it’s amazing what seeing a few large samples painted on the walls will do. But remember you do not need to go as far as painting a wall to bring colour in, a few new cushions, or add a large house plant can have a transformative effect. If you are looking at selling your home getting the colours right is critical.

Bibliophilia is an increasingly popular trend as we spend more time indoors and within our own four walls. It is a great way to bring colour into a space through planting and greenery, it is amazing how a dash of green can really bring a space to life.

A great home interior design hack idea is to use freely available paint swatches to build different colour combinations for your own home! Next week I will be sharing with you some of our Kitchen Design Insights!


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