We see green!

We talk with Rocio Lereah, head of Architectural & Interior Design, about using colour in your home.

So how do you approach the colour palette with your clients?

Colour is a powerful tool. It helps to define the mood in a room, it can affect the way we feel, our emotions and behavior. At the beginning of a project it is very important to discuss the client’s likes and dislikes and how the room will be used. The natural light must also be taken into account. As a general rule we tend to be very conservative when selecting a scheme for our own homes so I always try to encourage clients to be brave in areas where they don’t spend too much time, such as corridors, cloakrooms or guest bedrooms.

Can you tell us about a recent project where colour was at the heart of the brief?

The first time we met, the client mentioned that she loved colour and actually needed it around her. The reception room had a sofa with a beautiful pattern that she wanted to keep so we used this as a starting point, integrating the wonderful greens and turquoise tones into the new scheme. Green is the colour of balance and harmony, it is an emotionally positive colour and a natural peacemaker, so it made sense to use it on the reception room walls – a place to relax and escape to from our busy lives.

What colours would you ‘marry’ with green and how else can you introduce it?

For this project I went for the analog colours: yellow in the gold details, green-blue for upholstery and neutrals for the wooden floor and off white for the ceiling. Tint, shade and tone are very important. Almost every hue we see around us has been ‘toned’ up or down to make more appealing combinations. The key is to match the undertones of the other colours in the room, to keep that sense of harmony.

Another way to introduce green is by using plants, both metaphorically and literally. The fashion at the moment is to have big banana or tropical leaves on wallpapers and botanical prints for upholstery, bedding and accessories.

For patios, gardens, or even interior areas with good natural light, a ‘living wall’ can make a great feature in any home. In addition to the visual benefits, these green walls can improve thermal and acoustic insulation as well as help the environment by purifying the air. [See previous article]

Can you explain to me what an ‘Eco’ paint is and what has driven the change?

In 2004, the EU paint directive reduced the proportion of VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) allowed in paints and varnishes to reduce environmental damage and public health problems. To conform, paint manufacturers cut back on organic solvent content, or turned to water-based products. Although a very positive step forward, paints with minimal levels of VOC aren’t strictly speaking ‘eco’ paints.

‘Eco-paint’ is a generic term used to talk about clay, chalk and milk (casein) paint that uses ‘natural’ pigments and binders. They can be trickier to apply but are breathable i.e. transfer moisture and are better for those with allergies. There are many brands on the market including Farrow & Ball and Little Green paint, which we use regularly. When buying paint read the ‘ingredients’ on the back of the tin to see how eco-friendly the paint really is.