Getting a new box of crayons in my Christmas stocking was my very favourite present. Carefully I would open the lid, breathe in that new crayon smell and admire those 64 gorgeous colours. It would take me about a week before I was actually ready to use them. First I had to make colour combinations. I would put the purple beside the red (daring), line up all the different shades of green (monochromatic), and decide if I liked pink better with blue or orange. There were so many colour combinations and I loved them all. It’s no surprise that I gravitated toward interior design.
Working with fabrics is probably the favourite part of our job. There is something so satisfying about putting different colours and textures together. When it’s done well, it immediately elevates a room from nice to show-stopping. Many times we’ve made a ho-hum room fabulous by loading up with exquisite cushions.
It’s not just the colour combination that’s important, it’s also the textures. Rooms need differing textures, but they still have to blend. It’s especially important when working with whites and creams. Think smooth, chunky, small pattern, stripe, herringbone and tweed. It’s also important to have different shades of white, ivory and cream for an interesting look.
When putting a room together, we like to add a pop of colour. A look isn’t complete until we throw in that something extra, that bit of colour that doesn’t necessarily match, but really stands out. Sometimes it’s hard for homeowners to be that bold. A few weeks ago, Debbie and I were at Homesense getting some Italian sheets for a client. As I was talking to Debbie, I could see her attention focusing on the basket of a fellow shopper. Trance-like, Debbie whispers, ‘I can’t let her do it, Karen. I can’t let her buy those cushions and lamps because they’re just so blah. They won’t look nice in her home.” So off she went to make a new friend and get a pop of colour in that shopping basket!
Lately we’ve been using different shades of red. Scarlet, raspberry, coral, burgundy and carmine are happy colours and can be added to most colour schemes. A little red goes a long way though, so be cautious. Red feature walls are never a good idea for a family home. They may look okay in a restaurant or office, but are really hard to live with.
Most times a colour should be repeated at least three times in a room. Sometimes though it’s okay to just put one stand out pop of colour. In the photo above on the left, imagine how great a few toss cushions in pumpkin orange would look. It’s just that touch of “I’m not trying too hard!”
As much as we like colour and pattern, I don’t mind using great neutrals for large items. The chair below is done in a beautiful textured work horse fabric. It might seem a boring choice when you consider all the options, but that’s the beauty of it. The choice for cushions, throws, draperies and area rugs is wide open.
Beautiful fabrics can cost a beautiful price, but we think it’s money well spent. The luxurious feel of quality fabrics really is worth it. However, not every fabric in a room has to be best quality. It’s that old trick of mixing low and high. A few high end pieces will make everything look great.
Most of the fall fabric collections have come into the showrooms now. What impresses me the most is that there is so much variety. If there is one look, it seems to be an ‘anything goes’ attitude. Colours are warming up slightly, but there really is something for everyone. I’m hopeful that this trend of not being stuck on one look stays.
I feel colour affects us so much, that we absolutely need to surround ourselves with fabrics that bring out the best in us. Think of beautiful fabrics as a tonic for the soul.
Karen Fron Design is a full-service Interior Design Firm located in Calgary, Alberta. We specialize in bespoke residential & commercial interiors, custom furniture & draperies, and whole home renovations.
“A well functioning and beautiful home makes life better.”