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Exploring the Vibrant World of Colour Blocking, Drenching and Zoning

A few blog posts ago we wrote about the pivotal role of colour in interior design. We shared some tips to help you understand more about the colour wheel and how to carefully select and harmonise colours to bring balance, coherence and visual interest to any room. Full article here.

In this blog post we are going to focus on specific colour techniques such as colour blocking, zoning and colour drenching, that redefine the way we perceive and interact with our living spaces. And, as a cherry on top, we will explore the fascinating concept known as the "lipstick effect”.

pink room

1. Colour Blocking: A Symphony of Hues

Colour blocking is a form of art that involves combining contrasting colours in a visually striking manner. In interior design, this technique can be applied to walls, furniture, accessories, or even entire rooms. The goal is to create a bold, energetic atmosphere that captivates the senses.

Before diving into colour blocking, it is essential to grasp the basics of colour theory. The colour wheel serves as your guide, helping you identify complementary, analogous, or contrasting colour schemes.

  • Complementary: Colours opposite each other on the wheel, like blue and orange, create a high-contrast, energetic look.

  • Analogous: Colours adjacent on the wheel, such as blue, green, and teal, offer a more subtle, harmonious blend.

  • Monochromatic: Exploring variations of a single colour, from light to dark, can provide a sophisticated and cohesive aesthetic.

Tonal wall
Source: Better Homes & Gardens; Photo by MARTY BALDWIN

Opt for a cohesive colour palette that resonates with the overall theme of your space and do not forget to experiment with contrasting shades to create a dynamic visual impact.

Once you have carefully chosen your colours, apply them in large, defined blocks to make a bold statement. You can use furniture or accessories to accentuate specific areas with vibrant hues.

Green living room
Source: Farrow & Ball - De Nimes No.299 & Treron No.292 | Estate Emulsion; Bancha No.298 & De Nimes No.299 | Estate Eggshell

2. Zoning with Colours: Crafting Intimate Spaces

Zoning spaces using paint has become a particularly powerful and versatile method, allowing for the creation of distinct areas within a room while maintaining a cohesive overall design. This technique is particularly effective in open concept living areas, as it helps define different functions within a single space.

The foundation of successful zoning with paint lies in understanding colour psychology and selecting hues that align with the intended purpose of each zone.

  • Warm Tones: Choose reds, yellows, or oranges for areas where energy and stimulation are desired, such as a home office or creative workspace.

  • Cool Tones: Blues and greens are ideal for spaces meant for relaxation, like a reading nook or bedroom.

  • Neutrals: Use neutrals like greys and beiges for transitional areas to ensure a smooth visual flow between zones.

Defining Zones:

Clearly demarcating different zones within a room requires thoughtful planning and strategic application.

  • Furniture Placement: Arrange furniture to naturally delineate areas, then use paint to reinforce these divisions.

  • Architectural Features: Emphasise architectural features like columns or alcoves with contrasting paint colours to define specific zones.

  • Accent Walls: Create focal points by painting an accent wall in a zone, drawing attention to its unique purpose.

You can incorporate decorative accessories such as rugs and soft furnishings such as cushions that harmonise with the painted zones, tying the design together. Use artwork and decorative elements strategically to reinforce the purpose of each zone and add personality to the space.

Blue entryway
Source: Instagram - laurenceamondenc.interieurs

3. Colour Drenching

Colour drenching is a design technique that goes beyond traditional colour schemes, immersing entire spaces in a single, dominant colour to create a rich and enveloping atmosphere. This daring approach embraces the power of a monochromatic palette to evoke emotions, establish a cohesive ambiance, and make a bold design statement. Selecting a single colour and its various shades, tints and tones forms the foundation for this immersive technique.

The success of colour drenching relies on a cohesive palette that extends beyond walls to include furniture, décor and accessories.

Green bedroom
Source: Farrow & Ball - Calke Green No. 34 Dead flat

You can integrate furniture pieces in varying intensities of the chosen colour. For example: a deep blue sofa paired with lighter blue accent chairs for a living room drenched in tranquillity.

Extend the colour palette to textiles like curtains, rugs, and throw pillows, ensuring a harmonious integration of colour throughout the space.

yellow kitchen
Source: Little Greene - Giallo 337. Bone China Blue – Faint 325.

4. The Lipstick Effect: Finding Comfort In Colour

The lipstick effect, a concept borrowed from the world of economics, is an economic crisis indicator that refers to the tendency of consumers to indulge in small, affordable luxuries that make them happy during challenging times. With this year’s high inflation, mortgage interest rates flying high and life generally becoming more and more tough, a “lipstick” is an affordable buy, easy to use, that makes you instantly feel happier.

Homes also have their version of the lipstick: colour. It is the quickest and most inexpensive way to improve your space, which can either be painting a whole wall or simply adding a colourful cushion, curtain, rug or even just… a flower!

We deeply believe in the power of colour, which is the most cheerful gift that nature could offer us. Colour is synonym of vitality and peace, let’s embrace it!

Pink living room
Source: Elle Decor - Stacy Zarin Goldberg

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Mika Design Studio is an interior design studio on a mission to make a positive and meaningful impact on our clients’ lives; inspire them on the use of creativity and sustainable materials to create authentic interiors that organically evolve with them.

We are based in Royal Leamington Spa (Warwickshire, UK) but also operate online nationwide. We provide Consultation and Home Staging services for properties to sell, Re-design & Styling services for serviced accommodation/buy-to-let properties, and Online Interior Design for single bespoke rooms.

Visit our website to find out more about us.

Mika Design studio


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