How many colours would you recommend using in an interior?

In terms of paint, we rarely use more than three colours in a room or it can get a bit chaotic. But if the room has a minimalist style with very little furniture, the number and intensity of the colours can be increased. No matter what palette you're using, you must take into consideration the colours already present in the room, i.e. materials, textiles, furniture, furnishings, etc.

 

What is your approach to giving colour advice?

First and foremost it's a question of finding the right balance between luminosity (up to 60%), a stronger shade to add personality and an accent colour to add originality.

Yes to coloured walls!

Peacock blue (Hick’s blue or Marine Blue at Little Greene) is in fashion at the moment. Would you recommend it?

It's very rare for a trendy colour to be so easily used in décor. Even though our job is to promote certain colours and 'manufacture' new associations, the majority of people choose colours because they like them rather than because they are fashionable. Trendy colours work really well in fashionable places such as restaurants and hotels as they create a certain style and originality, but it's important to remember that we don't we live in these places and are only ever passing through. In our homes, we want something softer and easier to live with.

 

How would you encourage people to be braver with colour? 

Colour represents pleasure, happiness and surprise. It's only paint applied to walls. There’s nothing too dramatic about that! It's important to make our daily lives happier and more amusing, to allow ourselves to change more often. In France, people tend to redecorate every 6 to 10 years compared to every 3 years in England. "I'm afraid I'll get bored of it" is no excuse. We get tired of everything in the end and believe me, it's just as easy to get tired of white as it is of red! Is the latest colour trend something you'd want to use in your home? Colours used in the fashion world and those in interior decoration are not at all the same thing. Q&A with Little Greene's showroom manager, Vincent Vallée.

Is the latest colour trend something you'd want to use in your home? Colours used in the fashion world and those in interior decoration are not at all the same. Vincent Vallée, showroom manager at English paint company Little Greene, explains.

 

How do you achieve a coherent colour theme in a house or an apartment?

If you decide to paint rooms in different colours, my advice is to use the living room (where we tend to spend most of our time) as the starting point for your theme. From here, colours should have continuity so that you pass easily from one room to another. Using colours from the same palette creates a relaxing and harmonious atmosphere. If the colour palette is bolder and incorporates warm or more contrasting colours, the result will be more stylish. For example, pale blue in the living room, medium green in the hall and bordeaux in the kitchen. To liven things up without taking too many risks, apply colours to woodwork (skirting boards, door frames, etc.).

 

Generally speaking, how do trends influence the choice of colours?

While the majority of people take their inspiration from interior decoration magazines and what they see around them, it often takes a very long time before it impacts their colour choices. For example, the press has long talked about painting floors or plain pieces of furniture the same colour as the walls. But in reality, it takes as long as 3 or 4 years before we start trying what we see in magazines in our own homes. People tend to be rather conservative when it comes to colour; they don't want to go 'too far' or have anything too 'weird'. However, people's habits (or responses) are changing, albeit slowly. Our love affair with magnolia finally seems to be over but grey and its variations have taken up the baton. So, we can't claim victory just yet!

In brief!

Use a palette of complementary colours for a harmonious effect. Trendy colours are great in fashionable places such as restaurants and hotels as they create a certain style and originality, but remember you don't spend the majority of your time in these places. An Anne Gelberd design

Solid colour and pattern. Trendy colours are great in fashionable places such as restaurants and hotels as they create a certain style and originality, but remember you don't spend the majority of your time in these places. An Anne Gelberd design

Sobriety enhanced with vibrant splashes of colour. Trendy colours are great in fashionable places such as restaurants and hotels as they create a certain style and originality, but remember you don't spend the majority of your time in these places. This design is by Anne Gelbard (a fashion designer) who has just designed a 1930s inspired look for the new Hôtel Meyerhold in Paris' 9th arrondissement.

Don't forget the colour of your existing furniture, furnishing and floors. When painting a room, limit yourself to 3 colours or risk it becoming chaotic.

Use a range of complementary colours to link one room to another. Sky Blue and Attic II work well in contrast.

The intensity of pink Leather enhances the khaki shade Invisible Green.

The trendy vintage-inspired Yellow Pink perfectly offsets the dark grey of Lamp Black.

A luminous and original effect enhanced with a continuous band of Marigold orange.

A dark/pale colour contrast achieved with Hicks' Blue and Green Verditer.

In terms of paint, we rarely use more than three colours in a room or it can get a bit chaotic. But if the room has a minimalist style with very little furniture, the number and intensity of the colours can be increased. 

Colour represents pleasure, happiness and surprise but it's only paint applied to walls. There’s nothing too dramatic about that!

How does Little Greene manage its new colour palettes?

It's part of our DNA to shake up the brand's traditional colour charts by introducing new colours or contemporary colours, if you like. This year we introduced Leather (an intense pink), Green Verditer (peppermint tones) and Atomic Red (a punchy red). The emergence of these new colours often comes from a desire or a phenomenon observed by our design team. Their aim is to make sure that our colours are modern and to give neutral colours a new twist. Even with chic and stylish neo-classical styles, we see it as our job to bring out a little something unexpected. 

This is a peacock blue, an intense mineral blue.

This is Celestial Blue; it has a soft and sultry quality.

Advice from an expert

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