Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Subject Of Colour

I had a rather exciting week last week. As well as buying a block of land for my next project, I got flown to Sydney by Taubmans, to take part in the 'Taubmans Great Colour Debate'. 

This was the floor of the venue. 

I learnt lots about paint technology ("paint is not just about colour, but also technology") and that great paint that they use on 'Selling Houses Australia'.

I'd heard of it (Taubmans, 'Endure') but I'd never really investigated what made it different to any other paint. Being a scientist by trade, I was in geek heaven. I like things to be scientifically proven.... with reproducibility and stats thrown in for good measure. Choice loves it... as an 'overall best performer'... and the Asthma Foundation have labelled it a 'sensitive choice'. I'll leave a link HERE for you to read all about it's goodness, as this is not a sponsored post . This is just me telling you about my fabulous day.

So we were in this really groovy place... with fabulous lights, paint splattered floors, vibrant fresh flowers, rustic table settings....

.... and seriously heavenly food.

Shaynna Blaze, the interior designer from 'Selling Houses Australia' and the newest judge on 'The Block' (they DID listen to the viewers and bring in a female judge!), talked about how the general public has lost confidence in colour. We see all these fabulously, colourful makeovers on TV and in beautiful magazines... and blogs! ...but the biggest selling paint colours are still the neutrals.....whites, beiges, off whites. 

Why do we have such a fear of colour? (why do I have such a fear of colour?... I was asking myself quietly, hoping no-one would notice that my favoured aesthetic is a 'white washout'). Is it a hangover from the 70's and 80's...... mission brown, orange, yellow and bold patterns? Is it a fear of being judged? Is it a fear of failure? In the end it's just paint, you can paint over it. Yeah! I can vouch for that, painting over my 'royal blue' kitchen feature wall in the 90's to bring in the 'spiced apple'... oh those were the days! I used to love colour. What happened?

As Shaynna said, "we have been in a beige coma for way too long". The norm now is "layers of beige".

Shaynna made colour sound delicious and enticing, stating that "colour is like a complex woman. It's sassy, and moody, suggestive, manipulating, fun and nurturing". I didn't realise that colour names use such sensory words.....words that evoke such emotion... chocolate, latte, caramel, espresso. We link sentiment to colour. One participant told a story about a bright yellow room in her mother's home. The 'yellow room' was saved for all the special occasions... birthdays, Christmas, celebrations, happy times. You'll never guess what the participant's favourite colour was! She is planning a yellow room in her own home. Sentiment exactly.

So how do we progress on from neutrals? As Shaynna said.... "we experiment". It's ok to make mistakes. It's very low risk, very low cost. It's not failure. 

Nadine, from Taubmans, cited an interesting study that showed people who made a big mistake with colour in their home were more likely to live with it longer and not change it... compared to people who were happy with the colour in their home. The people who had made a good colour choice, and lived happily with it, were more likely to change their colours more often!

How cool is this? 
I digress. 

We discussed colour in small spaces.. as our homes are becoming smaller. It was suggested that you link your wall colour to your floor... and don't create blocks of colour.... block of couch, block of rug. Don't use jarring colours (opposites on colour wheel). Don't create levels of colour in a small space .... keep skirtings, architraves, cornices and walls in a similar colour, no more than 1/2 a shade away from each other.

I could feel a bit of a paradigm shift, sitting amongst all these colour advocates. You will see colour in my next place. Big statement, but true. Colour beyond the accessories. Colour on the walls. I'm going to 'put my brave on' and start with tints. You can hold me to that.

I was most impressed with my goodie bag. As I said my favourite colour was blue, I got the most rocking electric blue nail polish, which is going to go down so well in orchestra!.... and that tin of Endure paint?... full to the brim of M&M's. We've made a start!

Thank you Taubmans. I got to meet some of the other wonderful invitees ...... from Vogue Living, Burke's Backyard magazine, Domain, Indesign, News Limited, Dec PR and Taubmans and Shaynna Blaze of course.

I had a lovely, happy, colourful day!


  1. Wow, what a great day, A-M, and such a heavenly industrial/romantic setting.

    Hehe, I have no fear of colour. You should see MY house - I have a deep, deep teal feature wall in the family room, gorgeous moss green in our bedroom (wish I'd gone darker with that one!) and a bright turquoise one in my studio. The boys got lovely blue feature walls in their rooms. The main wall colour throughout the house is a beige, but it's several shades darker than most people would pick.

    Then there's our render on the facade. The houses in our street go like this:

    Beige, beige, cream, beige, grey, beige, beige, AUBERGINE, beige, grey, beige. Guess which one's mine? ;)

  2. A-M: I can't wait to see what's in store in your new project. I've been following along for a bit now and you are just fantastic on all fronts. So excited for you :)

    @Kek - I'd love to see a picture of your aubergine exterior. Do you have a blog/pictures posted somewhere? I used a lovely aubergine for my wedding and want to incorporate in our home. The exterior does need paint soon...maybe that's an option.

  3. Sounds like you had a fantastic time A-M.

    I don't know if I'm afraid of colour but I do like light and bright so maybe that's why I stick with the neutrals. ... and I think people who make a mistake with a colour probably live with it longer because they're scared of making the same mistake again, while those who are happy with the result are confident in their selections.
    Not sure, just a theory.

  4. Hi A-M

    Congrats on the land! The Universe always provides.

    Re COLOUR you already know My Views- Am Hardcore Committed Fan. It's just so cheering and soothing and comforting.

    White and neautrals have their place, but colour will always win out. Plus it hides stains and marks. What's not to love?


  5. How interesting. Colour is such a fascinating topic. Why we do or don't use colour is avery complicated and always makes for an interesting debate. Thanks for sharing your insights into what looked like a great day. Tx

  6. Things really are looking up aren't they A-M? Here's to your colourful life!

  7. I have been living with beige for nine years and I am so over it, problem is that today's paints are so fabulous that everything is in excellent condition, I've timidly been thinking of doing a very pale blue feature wall to offset some of the beige, half beige walls, skirting, doors and carpet, do you think this will work? My favorite color is blue. I am so looking forward to watching your new project take off.

  8. @ TSnyder: There are pics of my house exterior over here:

    Unfortunately I can't tell you the colour used. The original was Rockport Render and I believe the company was taken over by Dulux shortly after our build was completed. When we had to have a damaged section repaired, the painter had to mix a custom batch to match the existing colour because it was no longer available.

  9. What fun, 'beige coma' tee hee. Wow, a lady judge on The Block, i actually found it odd that simply 2 men had all the control last series, i assure you, i could not please a gay man with my decor choices as a family home for 6. Was it fun getting the tin of lollies through security?? Love Posie

  10. Bring it on, A-M! I'm just bursting to add more blue and green to Planet Baby HQ ☺. J x

  11. I love colour and we have always used lots, combined with the white shades of course. Our hall is a deep, but bright yellow...all 68 feet of it!!!!!!
    It sounds as though it was a fabulous day. xx

  12. Are you painting your nails blue? I wanna see!! X

  13. I am a huge fan of color and love working with my clients when they are picking paint colors. My best advice to my clients is to make up color boards and hang them on the wall. You need to see the color in different light throughout the day. Sherwin Williams sells small sample pots. Enjoy the process of picking color.


Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave me a comment. I love hearing from you. A-M xx