Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Power to alter a space dramatically

The Business Times  |  MARCH 22, 2013
Popular colours in interior design are extremely fluid and tend to be influenced by trends in other industries.

Creative concepts and designer furniture tend to hog the limelight in interior design, but colour also has the power to alter a space dramatically and invoke a deeper dimension in a home.

Beyond the aesthetics involved in the use of colour, studies have shown that colour can influence people's moods; the term "colour psychology" was coined to describe analyses of the effect of colour on human behaviour and feelings.

Jeremy Rowe, the managing director for AkzoNobel decorative paints in South-east Asia and the Pacific, said: "Colour is a wonderful medium to express oneself and create a personal style. It is also a social barometer of people's moods and sentiments."

AkzoNobel, formally known as ICI Paints, carries the paint brand Dulux.

Popular colours in interior design are extremely fluid and tend to be influenced by colour trends in other industries.

Each year, the AkzoNobel Global Aesthetic Center based in Amsterdam gathers a group of industry authorities in design, architecture and fashion to discuss key colour trends.

This year, the experts came up with the theme of "connections", which encapsulates people's continual need to interconnect and create networks, dialogue and innovation; social media has, for example, created new and spontaneous ways to connect and share ideas, said Mr Rowe.

From the "connections" theme, "Inspired Violet", a rich blue shade with a hint of purple, came to be designated the colour of the year for its link to self-expression, speech and the ability to communicate one's needs.

Bold and bright

Sheryl Tan, the founder of interior design firm Pavillion Creation, confirmed that colour choices in home décor tend to be swayed by trends in fashion.

With clothes recently featuring florals, she has noticed that six to seven in 10 of her clients this year have asked for patent colours - the brights in orange, blue and pink.

Leslie Chan, the founder of Grapes! Studio, a boutique firm named as one of the top interior designers last year by Home+Living magazine, said his clients have asked for pastel neons in fuchsia, tiffany blue, Santorini orange and lilac, paired with white, grey and brown.

However, such bold and bright colours are typically used only to complement the dominant colour in certain spaces in the house.

Mr Chan said these popular colours become the contrast or focal point of the room, in line with the modern aesthetic of keeping the space clean and simple.

Mr Rowe of AkzoNobel said: "Home owners are encouraged to start out by using stronger colours like Inspired Violet only to highlight small features in the home."

Lene Liew, the marketing manager of Nippon Paint, recommends bright colours for activity areas such as the living room and children play rooms; they are engaging and promote interaction.

Muted colours are typically used in the dining area and bathrooms to give one a feeling of escape and calm.

Darwin Interior Design's project consultant Cindy Fong said that bedrooms are where home owners are more adventurous in their choice of colours.

"The colours selected for bedrooms are always their favourite colours or colours they would like to experience, but do not dare to bring out in the open," she said.

Colours now popular for bedrooms span the colour palette, from romantic colours such as orchid and turquoise to sunny colours such as gold and sky blue.

Conservative choice

Silhouette wall decals, where used, are best suited for brightly coloured walls, she said.

Grapes! Studio said that couples have been going for different shades of purple paired with off-whites and greys in their bedrooms; Ms Tan of Pavillion said usually, a strong colour is used on one wall, while the rest are more muted.

The bedroom is one place in the home that is easiest to enhance with a bold splash of colour, she added.

The choice of colour in the kitchen and living room has stayed generally conservative.

Ms Fong said colours such as cream, eggshell and shades of brown are popular in kitchens, while living room walls typically sport beiges, shades of grey and even black in some cases.

The colour in these spaces usually comes from the furnishings.

Mr Chan of Grapes! Studio noted that in kitchens, coloured refrigerators and coffee machines add character to the space.

He has noticed many young home owners indulging in old or "retro" style furniture to invoke nostalgia.

He said he has recommended that his clients use colour to bring life into these old items, for example, by spray-painting these old pieces of furniture to give them a new lease of life in their modern spaces.

Chinese geomancy also has inputs to make on choice of colours, said Nippon Paint.

For this year, Nippon teamed up with a renowned fengshui master to identify "auspicious" colours for the year of the water snake.

A recommendation

It is recommended that those born in the Year of the Snake use pastel greens to ward off difficulties with bosses at work and a weak immune system; Nippon's colour charts offer Fresh Celery 1123 and Peppermint 1121.

With infinite shades of colours to choose from when designing a home, it is easy to be overwhelmed at first, but using one's personal preferences, trend advisories or fengshui influences as a guide can show the way and bring out the personality of a living space.

Martin Koh | 86666 944 | R020968Z
Sherry Tang | 9844 4400 | R020241C

Senior Sales Director
DTZ Property Network Pte Ltd (L3007960A)

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