We are all familiar with the age-old adage that “opposites attract.” But where did it originate? Some say it was Empedocles, some say Plato, and often Isaac Newton gets all the credit. Whoever determined it was a law, we know when applied to colour there are boundless combinations that instil exuberance into our kitchens and bathrooms.
Cean Irminger, creative director at New Ravenna, says “Designing with opposite colours needs only one character trait, confidence. You need a bit of courage to allow colours to create a synergy in your home that reflects your adventurous spirit. If in doubt, look to the Impressionists who probably knew best how to leverage colour to dramatic effect, Van Gogh’s irises, Cezanne’s peaches and Monet’s water lilies. In nature, opposites flourish harmoniously.”
Here are her tips on how to use mosaic tiles to achieve a dynamic kitchen or bathroom design:
The chameleon of colours
Starting with the most classic combination of black and white, we can create a monochrome palette that is the chameleon of colours in its ability to represent eclectic styles from Hollywood glamour and Art deco elegance to vintage charm and Alice in Wonderland whimsy. Think about the simplicity of a black and white floor and depending on the shapes of the tile, it can evoke the splendour of a Venetian palazzo or inky expanse of the night sky. There is not another combination of opposite colours that has so many lives.
Primary and secondary colours
It is also the combination of primary and secondary colours that are dynamic in their pairings: red with green, yellow with purple and blue with orange. These colours, which face opposite each other on the colour wheel, are considered complimentary. Proving once again that opposites attract! When used together, they contribute energy and drama to a space.
Brilliant blue kitchen cabinets paired with hand blown Murano orange pendant lights for a Frieda Kahlo inspired kitchen. A purple Granada stone back splash with the exclamation mark of sunshine yellow bar stools for a Moroccan flavoured room.
Often with surface materials for floors and walls you can find the attraction of opposite colours within one pattern. Jacqueline is a field of red flowers strewn over a meadow of green leaves. Living Wall offers a multitude of shades of green that would look verdant with Central American Red heart wood cabinetry.
Material makes a difference
Depending on the material the hues will shift as well. In glass and metal you can achieve a lipstick red, whereas a red in stone or ceramic will be warmer and more organic in feel. Paint offers every shade imaginable within one colour family, so combinations can be Alpine rustic or Mykonos vibrant.
We think it is important when designing with these dynamic shades to use different finishes and materials because wood, glass, ceramic and metal all absorb and reflect light differently, which adds to your room’s energy. There are many books and experts that will try to limit your use of colour combinations, please don’t listen! Don’t shy away from any colour combination that makes you feel good, inspires a memory, or encourages a song. We believe colour is like jazz; there is never a wrong note, if you play with intention.
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