Living In Colour


If we can take any lessons from The Wizard of Oz other than the Judy Garland tragedy and the fact that tin is highly susceptible to rust, it’s that life simply must be lived in colour. There’s no two ways about it: colour makes life worth living. After all, the human eye was made to see things in beautiful, bright, bold, vivacious, stimulating colour.

Living In Colour

No, not the hilarious show that put Jim Carrey on the map. We’re talking about putting some colour where you live! There’s nothing wrong with bold prints on your Hawaiian shirt except you can only enjoy them for a very limited time. But bold prints on your custom couch, cushions, bedding, home accessories? Luxuriate all you want and enjoy for a season or a lifetime if you choose.

Don’t worry, rule-lovers: we’re not suggesting complete colour anarchy. You don’t even have to colour outside the lines. Adding colour can be formulaic if you want (because let’s face it, we aren’t all interior design experts who know how to throw an insanely beautiful look together blindfolded). Here’s a rule for ya: Decorate from dark to light as you go vertically. Dark floors, medium walls, pale ceiling. Isn’t that what Mother Nature does? Are you calling her a liar?

Here’s another rule for you numbers people: 60-30-10. 60 percent of the house is the main or dominant colour (say, blue walls). 30 percent is the secondary colour, which provides contrast and interest (say, purple upholstery) and then you’ve got the 10 percent accent piece, which would be your magenta cushions, throws, vases, and so on.

It’s an easy rule to remember because think of your meals. The way we like ‘em around here is 60 percent potatoes, 30 percent meat, and then 10 percent candy or chocolate.


How to choose a colour scheme and build from there

For many people, if someone said ‘Hey here’s 20 grand, go do your whole house any way you like it!’ they would look at you like you just handed them a live snake and told them to teach it to go potty on a newspaper. That’s because doing your whole house can seem overwhelming, and 20 grand is nothing these days. If on the other hand we said ‘Okay, you’re going to look at the biggest pattern you’ve got in  your living room, and choose 3 colours from it for our 60-30-10 rule, and select accessories accordingly’ now we’re cooking with gas. Anyone can do that. And it just works. Unless of course you loathe the rug, duvet cover, painting, couch etc. that has the largest pattern in the room. Then we need to start over.

Adding colour to your sanctuary: the bedroom

For simplicity’s sake, let’s do a room that’s often-neglected: the bedroom. Parents especially tend to focus so much on their kids’ rooms and trying to design living areas so they naturally hide the fingerprints on the walls and the crumbs on the couch; they often crawl into their messy, bland bedrooms at night just to pass out, never realizing they could create an oasis where they would actually want to spend time, once their kids ever give them any.

Here’s how to choose and use your colours in the bedroom:

  • Opt for analogous colours – those that are beside each other on the colour wheel, like blue and violet, to give the bedroom a casual, restful feel
  • Balance the room. Avoid having pale colours all clustered around each other (like white duvet, white side tables and white lamps) and then a big black armoire at the other end of the room; a mix of light and dark colours throughout will create the flow and harmony you crave.
  • You can still have your white duvet if you must, but contrast whites with gray to avoid a stark, hospital-bed type look, then add pops of your favourite colour in the form of custom pillows and accessories.

If all else fails you can just stick a big bunch of pansies on the night table and be done with it. The takeaway: LIVE LIFE IN COLOUR!!! This isn’t Winterfell*, so stop living in the dark! For help on how not to wind up with a house that looks like it was dipped in Pleasantville-esque technicolour (unless you like that sort of thing; we sure do) give us a shout for some fun and practical advice on how to Spring into colour.

Terry Edward Briceland

The Co-Founder & Creative Dictator of teb Interiors.  Terry is best known from his many appearances on HGTV and W Network television programs.  teb Interiors offers complete Interior Design services plus they specialize in custom sewing and upholstery, servicing throughout the GTA.   The firm is known for its edgy, controversial designs and for creating truly one of a kind show pieces that are guaranteed to get the conversation going.

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teb Interiors

201W-639 Queen Street West

Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2B7


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