The 3 colour rule....

When it comes to decorating a room the aim of the game is to stick to 3 colours.  This way you can mix in as many clashing prints as you like, in fact by keeping your colour palette to 3 colours you can up the ante with contrasts in pattern and texture. the look will still feel cohesive because you've kept to the 'golden rule'.  Any more and your look won't look as polished and might be an impression overload - not the look you are trying to achieve!

When it comes to decorating a room the aim of the game is to stick to 3 colours.  This way you can mix in as many clashing prints as you like, in fact by keeping your colour palette to 3 colours you can up the ante with contrasts in pattern and texture. the look will still feel cohesive because you've kept to the 'golden rule'.  Any more and your look won't look as polished and might be an impression overload - not the look you are trying to achieve!

Personally I would start with your biggest colour choice, this doesn't have to be neutral in the magnolia sense there are so many fancy neutrals trying to evoke an emotion from you from French Gray and Bone to Setting Plaster and Dead Salmon. The choice is endless but whatever takes your fancy I would always say go with your gut. Even if this means choosing a bold hue or an inky sludgy tone you'll be pleased you did it, as your room will have so much more impact.  Once your room has this colour as it's base (this could include floorboards, ceilings skirtings and architraves, in fact all woodwork if you have it)  you can start to think about your accent colours.  I painted my living room dark because it felt cold and uninviting in an off white. I painted the skirting and door frames too, it makes it look edgier and gives it a 'Gentlemans Lounge' vibe.  I didn't however take the plunge and paint the ceiling in the same deep grey - why? Because I didn't have the courage and i've regretted it ever since!! I thought it would look like a bat cave and people would think I was more crazy than they already thought I was! Had I painted the ceiling the same as my walls my eye wouldn't be drawn to where the wall ends and the ceiling starts, my room would feel taller and grander.

Anyway I digress! Choosing your complimentary accent colours might start with a fabric swatch you've fallen for, an existing picture or object such as a vase that you already love.  Whatever it may be, it's a good starting point.  You can then continue to accessorise with cushions and soft furnishings in varying textures; for instance a chunky knit throw on a leather armchair or a jute rug laid on top of a polished wood floor.  As long as you have reigned in your colour palette you can have beautiful ticking stripe cushions and a bold floral sat side by side, with a clashing geometric on the footstool! I can hear your disbelieving tones already but believe me when I tell you by adding pattern and texture you will be giving your scheme depth and interest.  Without it your room could look flat and one dimensional.

Finally I can't post this without including the importance of lighting in a room.  Lighting plays a huge part in adding not only depth to a room but adds drama and sets the mood as well.  This could be a whole other blog post it adds that much to a room but suffice to say as long as you have incorporated the basics, Ambient lighting, that provides general illumination, mainly found in recessed lighting and ceiling lights.  Task lighting which is focussed light that allows you to read, cook or work and Accent lighting which could include candlelight, and directional lights that illuminate pictures or nooks.  Ambient lighting is the finisher and probably my favourite, I am obsessed with candlelight! Not only for the effect it has on the mood in a room but, for some, their scent and the way it flatters skin tone it has to be a winner!

The image below is the living room of Sophie Robinson of the Great Interior Design Challenge.  She demonstrates the point perfectly with her clashing prints on the cushions and lamp shade with the echoes of colour on the bookshelves. This is colour and pattern combined with gusto and the overall effect is amazing!

Her sons room is equally as fun and colourful.  There are many clashing patterns, stripes, zig zags and geometric, but perfectly pulled together by the chair.  I adore this room! Wouldn't your little one?

Nikki Tibbles, Owner of Wild at Heart also has a passion for colour and pattern and combines them both effortlessly. So many clashing florals sat in front of some edgy art, totally different styles but the colours repeated through the collection of vases and in the textiles keep it looking polished.

How inspiring are these images? It may seem scary to incorporate colour, especially to this level but if you feel inspired, start small, just a few cushions, a lamp or a collection of votives. Let me know how you get on!