As a designer who is known for fearless use of colour, I get asked all the time how to use it.
People who are unsure about how to use colour sometimes seem genuinely afraid of it. I had often wondered why until it emerged from me in a recent interview as I blurted out, “I think people who are fearful of colour don’t deeply know themselves. I find these people to be fearful of being different or of standing out in a crowd.”
What I said was unplanned and somewhat shocking (even to me), but it made me realize that my work as a designer involves a deep personal understanding of my clients so I can guide them to the colourful road less travelled.
To help determine if you’re fearful of colour and what colours you should embrace, consider the following 10 questions:
1. When you look at a magazine or see something that you like, what colours do you gravitate toward or enjoy looking at?
2. When you were little, did someone once tell you that you didn’t look good in a colour so you stopped wearing it, and then you stopped using it altogether? Or is there another childhood moment that steered you into a colourless direction?
3. When you choose something bold, do you feel like you are making a mistake?
4. When you get dressed, does your wardrobe look similar to your decor?
5. When you see art, do you usually gravitate toward the same colours and styles?
6. When you add decor pieces to your home, do you always reach for the same thing?
7. When you include colour in your life, do you feel happier?
8. What colour was your bedroom when you were little?
9. How do you feel when you see a rainbow?
10. If you were to paint a picture right now, what colours would you use?
How did you do? Did you identify any colour fear? What colours and shades kept coming up? That colour combination needs to find a way into your home and into your life.
An easy and inexpensive way to bring those colours into your home can be through pieces of art, throw pillows, a throw blanket and a selection of colourful everyday objects. Your phone case should be purple instead of black, your handbag pink instead of brown and your coffee mug yellow instead of white.
As with anything in life, it is always best to start slow. Start with little elements and keep building until one day your home and life are sprinkled with the energy of colour. It doesn’t need to be epic. It just needs to make you happy and feel like an expression of who you are and what you love.
Also remember that tastes change as you do, so be prepared to flow through the colour spectrum as you grow and fall in love with new things. Life is a beautiful palette to be added to as we paint the masterpiece of our lives — there are no mistakes, and in every work of art there are layers of colour.
Working with colour comes easily to me because I love it and feel it inside of me. Colours run through my blood like a rainbow, and I love mixing them up and combining them to achieve different looks. Whether through design or in life, I incorporate colour into everything I do.
Tiffany Pratt is an interior designer and television personality who appears on HGTV Canada’s Home to Win, Sunday nights starting April 29.