Tips for colour schemes

Whether building your dream home from scratch or renovating and styling an existing property, a captivating colour scheme can make or break the finished look.

Yet you may feel a little stumped when trying to pick the right colours and styles for your space. You’re not alone.

Stylist Heather Nette-King in her home

Interior stylist Heather Nette-King fills her own spaces with colour. Picture: Ross Campbell

Interior stylist and writer Heather Nette King says the best place to start is a mood board, filled liberally with styles you love.

“Tear out pages from magazines or screenshot images on your computer or Pinterest. That will help you drill down into the colours you gravitate towards,” Heather says.

“Colour is the first practical decision, and it will inform major aspects of your design that aren’t easily changed, such as your flooring, window treatments and walls.”

If you need some help deciding how to match big design elements with your colour scheme, heed Heather’s advice.

Here are the Heather’s top four tips when choosing a colour palette for your home.

1. The trends

While colour trends shouldn’t dictate your colour scheme – this should be informed by your personal preferences rather than what someone else decides is ‘hot’ – if you don’t have strong emotions with colour, it can help to check which interior looks are trending.

Here’s what we’re seeing dominate right now:

Natural tones

“At the moment we’re seeing a big natural trend,” Heather comments.

“It involves a lot of natural fibres, organic shapes, pale timbers and it draws on that Japanese Wabi Sabi principal, or perfection found in imperfection. This look suits a very natural colour palette, with the colours ochre, fawn, brick, khaki and rust coming to mind.”

Think: light timbers, organic shapes and earthy tones. Picture: Medhat Ayad/Pexels

Post-pastel pink

Stylist Heather-Nette King's bedroom

A tonal pink colour scheme in Heather’s bedroom help period features sing. Picture: Ross Campbell

“People keep thinking pink is going to go away but it’s not. It’s just morphing into different variations,” Heather assures. “It has gone from a very sweet, very feminine pastel to a different kind of pastel movement where there are more ‘muddy’ tones.

“Where we once saw a pale pink, we’re now seeing soft terracotta, and where we once saw a pale green, we’re now seeing a sage. The colours are a lot more grown up, more sophisticated and complex.”

Dusty pink has taken over from pastel pink as a new ‘it’ colour. Picture: Getty

Greenery and botanicals

Stylist Heather Nette-King's living room

Shades of emerald and green feature heavily in Heather’s own home. Picture: Ross Campbell

We can’t get enough of indoor plants, and the good news is that green goes with everything! However, if doing a full green tonal colour scheme, consider this:

“It’s about getting the tone right,” Heather says. “If you have a gentle interior with lots of natural colours, go for a sage green. If you have a very rich and opulent interior, look to the emeralds. If you have a very feminine, pretty interior that’s maybe pastel-inspired, there are some lovely mint greens.”

Love sage, mint or emerald green? This pale sage green pairs perfectly with neutrals. Picture: Getty

2. Find a balance

A big consideration for anyone renovating is whether they are better to play with trends, or to consider more timeless shades and textures. Your best bet is to find a balance between both.

Insert colour via accessories and plants to keep permanent fixtures neutral. Picture: Ross Campbell

“Stick to the more timeless pieces for the items you’re going to change less,” Heather says.

“People don’t change their floors that often, if at all. Similarly, window furnishings aren’t changed very often either. So, I think that’s where you spend your money – on those investment pieces – and stick to a timeless look. Then splash out with more on-trend options for your wall paint, soft furnishings and home decor.”

For example, you could start with a classic timber flooring, and then style it up with a more eye-catching rug in the style of your choosing.

3. Visit showrooms

When choosing flooring or even furniture items, Heather recommends viewing the item up close before committing.

“I really encourage my clients to visit showrooms to take the guesswork out [of choosing flooring]. Often they’ll have much larger samples in store and more in-situ images that often aren’t normally in a basic brochure or on the website,” Heather says.

There is also the option to try out Carpet Court’s virtual reality style visualiser, which lets you explore a room with various types of flooring.

4. Get samples

Testing a colour – a paint colour, a floor colour and so on – needs to happen in the room where it’s going to live permanently. We’re all familiar with paint swatches, but you should consider testing carpet or flooring samples in your space too.

“Bring [flooring] samples home; I do the same as I do with paint samples. I put it in one room, live with it for a few days, move it to the lighter side of the room and then the darker side. Compare it in the darkest and lightest rooms of the house,” Heather says.

Not sure your flooring will match your walls? Get samples for everything. Picture: Ross Campbell

The colour of the floor can actually throw onto the walls, changing the saturation and overall ambience of the entire space.

Flooring samples

Always test flooring samples in your home before you buy. Picture: Ross Campbell

If you want to create a lighter space – as many of of us do – Heather is loving pale timber floorboards, like Carpet Court’s Precinct Oak style.

“At the moment I’m using a lot of really wide, pale floorboards, even in smaller spaces. They create a light, seamless surface, [with] less boards and less joints, so it creates a really unified floor space,” she says.


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