a colour palette ~ ink, pale aqua, & olive

duck egg and olive colour palette

The transformative effect of colour on a space cannot be underestimated. Why do some spaces lift your spirits while others evoke a feeling of tranquility and calm? Why does a jar of blousey yellow and orange poppies instantly add joy to a room, while shades of blue feel restful and restorative and calming? How is it you can walk in to some spaces and instantly feel happy and uplifted, while others will make you feel on edge or uptight or sad? Such is the power of colour and the effect it can have on our mind and our moods.

Learning to use colour can help you create modern spaces that feel truly your own, and which will invigorate and inspire you on a daily basis. There are no rules when it comes to colour – merely guidelines and personal choice. Look to nature to see that the most stunning colour combinations occur all around us, and are just waiting for us to notice them. And none of them are ‘wrong’!

What are you drawn to, what colours inspire you? Become aware of the colours you naturally gravitate towards, and learn to be a little brave. Gather snippets of fabric, and paint swatches. I sometimes tear images of flowers from a magazine because of the colour combinations they so naturally embrace, and these become my inspiration. Because playing with colour is a fun thing for me to do, sometimes, just for fun, I’ll set myself a little ‘colour challenge’.

vintage portrait painting

For this colour palette, my inspiration was this painting, one of my best second-hand shop finds (in my opinion anyway!) Amongst all the moody, inky hues, it’s amazing how many different colours swim to the surface. There is always a common thread in my colour combinations, and I focus on 3 or 4 accent colours only. Any more and a scheme might rapidly descend into a colour riot, which is certainly not what was intended.

colour palette pale aqua and olive

From the garden, this beautiful dappled hydrangea and an olive branch pull the colour focus away from the moody, inky midnight tones and on to the softer colours in the painting – pale aqua, celadon green and olive.

colour palette pale aqua and olive

And from there I can translate these into beautiful soft paint colours, and fabrics that I could happily use for furniture and soft furnishings. My other gathered props augment the palette, right down to the verdigris on the old ruler. The beautiful floral fabric is Designers Guild Madhuri, while the plain linen is Designers Guild Brera Lino. The paint is Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Duck Egg and Versailles.

Don’t be afraid of colour. Choose instead to make it your friend. It doesn’t necessarily have to be bold, bright or overwhelming. But it can make or break a room. Such is its simple power. And promise.

Amanda x

(photos & styling Amanda Holland for perfectly imperfect living)

duck egg and olive colour palette

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3 Comments
  • Jan Fry

    August 19, 2015 at 8:51 am

    Makes me want to start again.

    • Amanda

      August 19, 2015 at 9:44 pm

      Me too! It’s a perpetual problem. x

  • Catherine Fyfe

    August 27, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    I have the DG Madhuri fabric in my sewing room. I just adore it – the colours and the flowers make me smile every time I come into the room. Interestingly, I’m normally a duck-egg blue kind of girl but I saw this fabric in London the week it came out and fell in love with it.