My favourite design trend this season is colour blocking. Particularly I’ve noticed it a lot in fashion, especially in shoes – a fantastic way to bring in some colour to a neutral outfit. In the home, designers are colour blocking with bookshelves, picture frames, furniture, carpets and other home accessories. The trend started in the 70s, where you would see lots of designers use bold blocks of colour to make areas pop, but I think that it’s making its way back onto the scene in a much more tasteful and modern way.
Colour blocking works best when you want to draw attention to one area, like a feature wall. I’ve seen spaces behind bookshelves painted, or just blocks on a wall. If you don’t know much about colour theory, getting really experimental with bright colours is probably not a great idea. However, with some basic knowledge of how colours work together, you can make anything from an outfit to a bookshelf pop with the mood you want.
First off, understand that you can’t just throw a bunch of random colours together that are bright and call it “colour blocking.” Essentially you need to start with a palette of neutrals to pull from. Neutral colours are whites, blacks, navies, beiges, ivories, grays and basically any colour that recedes into the background. You can mix any neutral with any neutral, despite the old belief that navy and black don’t go together. I wouldn’t encourage navy and black, but it can be done if the ‘navy’ is more blue than black. What I’ve seen work really well as a background colour, is either a white or a light cool grey (that’s a grey that has a little blue in it). White looks really good if you’re going to colour block with a bunch of colours, grey looks awesome with one really bright colour, like yellow.
The next thing to know about colours is about their relationship on the colour wheel. If you know nothing about the colour wheel, fear not. You can purchase one from your local craft store with all the information on it that you need. Most people know that primary colours are red, blue and yellow, while secondary colours are purple, green and orange. Complimentary colours are opposite each other on the colour wheel. Unlocking the key to complimentary colour-combinations will be your first step to understanding how to make certain colours pop, and it’s how you can really make colour blocking work for you. For instance, previously I had mentioned the yellow and grey combination, which works well together. What might also work is a cool grey with a warm yellow, or, if you wanted to get really adventurous, you could pair a turquoise with a warm yellow. Once you have a colour wheel you will be able to learn better how to break down the relationships colours have with each other, and maybe even start to experiment with some analogous hues.
If you want to start small, a great way to incorporate colour blocking is through jewelry. It’s a small-scale way of experimenting. I just love this trend because of the potential it has to bring different moods into your life, and how versatile it is. You can wear colour blocking or bring it into your home. It’s all about having fun and learning about the effect colour has on you.