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The premier league of interior design: colour harmonies create atmosphere

News   •   Feb 28, 2019 17:43 GMT

Illustration: Björn Steinmetzler; Vereinigung Deutsche Sanitärwirtschaft (VDS)

Anybody who wants a suspenseful colour combination without the loudness of the bright bathroom should consider trying the ultimate discipline of colourful bathroom design: the combination of several colours to create a harmonious overall effect.

A bathroom design based on harmonious colour combinations is nothing less than a little work of art in which colour chords and colour harmonies create the impression of a meticulously composed overall concept that leaves nothing to chance – a picture of perfection that can express warmth, freshness, coolness or elegance depending on the main colour and the key selected. A production in major or minor key in which every splash of colour, every piece of wood and every towel has to be a perfect fit with the composition as a whole.

For aesthetes who see their home as an expression of their individual lifestyle and enjoy using colour to decorate, a bathroom designed in colour harmonies is ideal. Those who also like redecorating or redesigning their bathroom on a regular basis should keep the furnishings as neutral as possible, regardless of whether they opt for dark or light shades. But for a truly perfect result, a keynote colour that fits in with the overall concept should be chosen both for the bathroom furniture and the ceramic, stainless steel or mineral cast sanitaryware, which is available in quite a variety of colours nowadays. The resulting bathroom will be a gem that enhances any home. Examples can be found in professionally designed hotels and restaurants, whose bathrooms are often extremely elegant or based on a certain theme. Anybody who wants to replicate this effect at home is well advised to model their design on existing examples or seek professional advice.

Chords and harmonies should both feature one main colour that sets the tone

Colour chords, i.e. combinations of several colours of the same intensity and quality, are probably the most challenging option – but also the most individual. This could take the form of, say, a mustard yellow sofa with blue and putty-coloured cushions set against a blue wall. Like fashion, such colour chords are a matter of taste, and they tend to meet with a far more enthusiastic reception elsewhere in the interiors segment than they do in the bathroom. But when they’re done right, they create a subtle, tasteful, multicoloured look that turns any bathroom into a highly original gem. Still, when it comes to bathroom design, arrangements that comply with certain types of colour harmony tend to meet with greater consensus. Colour harmonies can be created out of neighbouring hues (e.g. blues and greens), by using only “cool” colours (like blues and violets) or only “warm” shades (orange, yellow, red) or by combining chromatic and achromatic colours (e.g. various shades of blue combined with several shades of taupe and grey). The goal is to achieve an optimally balanced composition that is perceived as pleasant, and the colours are usually selected on the basis of colour wheels or colour cubes.

Colour chords and colour harmonies are possible in all colour ranges. What’s important when it comes to designing a bathroom is that one colour sets the tone while three to four others are used to underpin the harmonious impression. Every single nuance matters, and choosing the right products and materials is extremely challenging for the bathroom planner. Various programs and apps are available for helping with the selection of suitable colours (e.g. Capture CC from Adobe or Colourpin II from NCS).

The collage technique: the secret to perfectly coordinated colour harmonies

The challenge for ambitious bathroom planners lies in putting the right combination together out of the almost endless array of colours and finishes available from sanitaryware manufacturers. The collage technique is a great way to test the combined effect of different materials, fabrics and matt and glossy finishes. It involves arranging all the main components, colours and materials of the new bathroom on a small space (e.g. A3 size) so as to give the future user an impression of what his new room’s colour scheme will look like. Many sanitaryware companies offer a sample service so that the selected colours can be assessed in real surroundings. The lighting situation also has a considerable impact on the overall impression: colours and finishes look different depending on whether they’re seen in natural or artificial light or a mixture of both.

The sanitaryware producers themselves also serve as a source of inspiration. Their numerous sample scenarios provide a good overview of contemporary bathroom design and the layouts can often be transferred to a different architectural setting. The ISH 2019 will also be featuring creative and harmonious scenarios – along with lots of new colours for the private spa.

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