Multi-colour Magic

What is it about a grouping of like objects in a variety of colours that delightfully draws our eye? Do you find it almost impossible not to smile when you see something as ordinary as teacups all clad in different colours stacked together? I know it catches my attention and makes me grin.

The attraction is more than just purely chromatic. Repetition creates rhythm in a design in the same way beats repeated in music create a melody; when the shapes are the same or similar its the addition of colour they hit the “high and low notes” in a design.

Seeing repeated shapes in different colours within a home can naturally feels as good as singing along with our favorite song, The like shapes give a design unity and the many hues add variety.

When working with multiple colours the best way to harmonize the scheme is to choose three to five colours that have similar intensity or saturation of colour. For example, the pillows on the sofa are all bright, strong colours. None of the colours jump out. The attention draw by each colour is about equal and this helps to move your eye and add energy to a design.

This does not mean that you must have equal amounts of each colour throughout your interior. When looking at the entire space, it will often be more pleasing to give one or two colours more prominence and use the other colours to accent the main colours.

Multi-colour magic can also be added with paint. You could paint entire rooms in different colours but also think about punctuating an accent wall with squares, lines or circles in a variety of hues.

Shape can be joined by like pattern, such as this kaleidoscope of stripes to add another layer of repetition. Using the same pattern in different colours turns these two throw pillows into home accessories worth a second look. Just that slight difference draws attention and gives the mind a reason to pause as it takes in the design.

Working with multiple colours can be a bit more challenging than working with a limited colour palette, but it can also be great fun. Incorporating multiple hues adds whimsy and joy to even the most serious design.

So go find something you can buy in at least three different colours and get started. The reward will be in seeing a spontaneous smile whenever someone feels the rhythm and delight of your design.

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