Wellingtonian Gemma Burrows has used a kaleidoscope of colour in small doses throughout her once all-white home.
The previously white-on-white colour scheme of Gemma Burrows’ Wellington home was never going to last long with a self-confessed colour-lover living there. She bought the home in July last year, sold on its modern, open-plan design but the decor was impersonal and bland. “I wanted to add some colour to the space, without having to hire someone or putting up with mess for weeks,” she says. She set about painting the house little by little, adding geometric and colour-blocking detail to all areas of the house. “I wanted to inject areas of colour while complementing the art that I collected overseas for years and my furniture,” she says.
The first room up for a makeover was the living room, where she reinvented the fireplace with a square of Resene Bright Spark and a thin line of Resene Bombshell. Large blue triangles, painted in Resene Such Fun and Resene Kitsch, add pockets of interest to the walls. Art, hanging plates and deer antlers cleverly break up the hard lines of the triangles.
In the kitchen a large blue square of Resene Aqua creates a focal point at the end of the island bench. Wall dots and mini triangles offer fun, colourful counterpoints to the larger painted shapes. Double doors in the entryway were transformed with a triangle pattern of Resene Such Fun and Resene Deep Blush and nearby chevron stripes are Resene Riptide. Wall dots and colourful coat hooks complete the look.
Upstairs the colour party continues with painted doors and various paint effects in the bedrooms. “In the master bedroom I wanted to create a cosy nook to separate the bed from the rest of the room. Resene Half Baked was the seventh shade of blue I tried (thank goodness for testpots and having a Resene ColorShop just down the road). I knew I would know the right shade once I saw it on the wall – I wanted a relaxing colour conducive to sleeping,” says Gemma.
In the guest room Gemma has used paint to create a headboard in what was otherwise a white, nondescript room. “I went a bit more colour crazy, with bright yellow and indigo (Resene Aviator) the star colours.” The Tofutree fantail decal above the bed ties in with the dark blue and yellow, and Gemma repeated the pink and mint from the design elsewhere in the room.
A range of geometric shapes grace the kitchen, living and entry areas including painted triangles and a chevron paint effect. Gemma used low-tack painter’s tape to mark out shapes on the plain white walls after being inspired by images on Pinterest. By keeping the painted areas small and not covering whole walls, the varied colour palette doesn’t overwhelm the space.
Gemma keeps things interesting even on the stairwell, where she has attached neon pink and orange circle decals by Papier D’Amour from Iko Iko. The four doors pictured are painted in Resene Hullabaloo, Resene Bitter Lemon, Resene Scrumptious and Resene Aqua to represent the personality of the room inside. “It also helps with directing visitors to the right rooms,” says Gemma. The bedrooms have been treated to headboard paint effects to create cosy sleeping nooks.
When you’re using many colours, it pays to paint a good-sized sample of each onto cardboard using a Resene testpot. Then lay all your colours together to see if they work well with one another and with your neutral base colour. While they may not be used in the same room, the colours should relate to each other – whether that’s in brightness, the way they complement each other, or the depth of the colour.
Check out your wardrobe for colour ideas. Ignore your white, grey and black clothes and sort the rest by colour. You’ll tend to find there are certain colour groups that you favour and you can use these as inspiration for your walls.
If you have a design idea that needs many of the same shape, consider using a potato print. Simply cut out your desired shape from a potato, dip into your favourite Resene testpot and start decorating.
If you’re new to colour, start in a small inconspicuous room and then, as you gain confidence, move to larger projects and more visible areas.