Colour me bad: 10 most common colour mistakes in interior decorating

Try to imagine a city or even a room without colour and you begin to realise its importance in our lives. In a sense, there is no home planning without colour as it is the cornerstone of decoration. Not only does it influence human emotions, it is also the quickest and most inexpensive way to instantly change a room. A coat of paint can dramatically change interiors, camouflage design problems and other defects.

That being said, here are the most common colour mistakes in interior decorating and how to avoid them.

1. Using too many colours in one room or a small apartment


Before beginning any decorating project, it is important that you settle on a colour scheme from the onset, to avoid making purchases willy-nilly. A successful colour scheme usually consists of two to four colours and one or two unrelated hues that play the role of accent colours. Once you pull this off, the room should feel balanced and peaceful. However, if you enter a space and immediately start feeling restless or claustrophobic, there are probably too many colours in the room.

2. Doing up a house in colours that only you like

When planning a colour scheme, it is important that you consider other people who live in that space. Since colour does affect the human psychology, it would be unfair to make a man suffer in a pink living room or paint a nursery in vivid reds.

3. Letting a decorator talk you off colours you like

A good interior designer/decorator should help you translate your personality into your space and this is also included when it comes to choosing colours for your space. Always ensure that they are guiding you in creating balance and harmony in your space and not making you settle for colours that stifle your personality.

4. Making everything matchy-matchy

Over matching can suck the soul out of a space and though it can initially feel peaceful, it eventually makes the room feel dull and boring. Most rooms found in catalogues are a good example of this decorating no-no. To avoid this look, try adding visual interest by using accent colours that pop, or even using different textures and patterns in the room.

5. Not considering lighting when choosing colours

An assumption is always made that an ideal colour will look just as good on the wall as it did on the chart, without considering the effect of lighting on the colour. Darker colours do make bold statements in a room, but with inadequate natural lighting, they can easily make a room close in and feel depressing.  It’s important that you also consider artificial lighting as well; LED lamps are more flexible than other bulbs and look good with most paint colours.

6. Using coloured lights extensively


Colour can be used to alter mood but I find nothing more annoying than walking into a space that has one of those coloured bulbs! Not only does it make for poor lighting, but I think all it does is make a room look like a dingy bar. If you want to set the mood of a space using lighting, why not invest in dimmers instead?

7. Copying exact colour schemes of showrooms or a friend’s place

This rarely works as there are many factors that determine how the colours will look in your space. To name but a few, dimensions, lighting (natural and artificial), space layout etc. Instead, pick a colour scheme that works for you and be a trendsetter in your own right.

8. Not creating a cohesive home

When choosing a colour scheme, the first decision to make is whether to choose a house-wide colour scheme or approach each room as a different entity, totally unrelated to the others. I strongly advocate for the house-wide scheme, as there’s nothing that stretches walls or makes rooms feel more expansive than colour continuity. A room by room scheme, on the other hand, makes a house seem to be cut up. The large house seems to be smaller than it is and the tiny house… well, infinitesimal.

9. Going wild with the colours of accessories


Many people assume that once the basic scheme is set, you can go wild with the colours of the accents and accessories. This could easily spoil an otherwise good room and make it feel cluttered because there’s no space for the eyes to rest. As a rule of thumb, try and use one or two colours on your accents.

10. Getting wrapped up in trends

Your home should be inviting not only to others but primarily to yourself. Picking a colour or colours just because they’re ‘in’ and not because you love them is a disaster! For a colour scheme to be successful, it must be elicited from those occupying the space: colours they like, are comfortable with and thrive in.



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