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Colourful home décor tips from colour consultant and author Emma Merry

With a passion for helping others bring more joy to their home by connecting them with their true colours, interior designer and author of The New Colourful Home, Emma Merry, founded and launched Home Milk in 2019. 

Starting out as a home tours platform where she showcased some of the most spectacularly colourful spaces, Emma now offers colour consultations, interior design packages and online courses to motivate others to use colour confidently. 

Image courtesy of @homemilk / Neil Perry Photography

“I’ve always felt a huge connection to colour and assumed everyone else did too, until I realised how much grey was on offer – it all felt so flat, and interior magazines felt inaccessible and fancy.”

Emma Merry, Colour Consultant

As we enter a new season of the colourful home décor trend, we spoke to Emma about choosing your perfect colour palette, being bold with your ceiling and using pattern to add personality and character.

Can you tell us your advice for finding the perfect colours for you and your home?

It all starts with a feeling – we can get so caught up in the colour search, losing ourselves in Pinterest or thinking about what other people might think. 

Start by asking yourself how you want to feel in this space – it’s a simple question, but one that can have great results. 

Try sitting with some colour swatches and see how you react to them. Can you connect with colours that give you the feeling you wish to achieve? What does the energy feel like in your room right now, and how would you like it to change? 

Starting there will set you up for success.

Image courtesy of @homemilk / Neil Perry Photography

How would you recommend building confidence when using colourful home décor? 

Try starting with a small DIY project where you can bring some colour to your décor – for example, a stool painted a bold hue or perhaps adding a pop of colour to a window recess.

Changes like these can act as a great starting point – you’ll get instant gratification from seeing the transformation and joy colour can bring without taking the full plunge. 

Image courtesy of @homemilk / Neil Perry Photography

Are you a fan of coloured ceilings, and do you have any tips on the best way to do it?

My opinion is do it, do it, do it! People tend to avoid coloured ceilings as they feel it might be too much, but it actually adds a polished, finished look to the room. It also gives you the chance to really experiment with fun colour combinations. 

Think about whether you want to keep things tonal, for example, a darker green on the walls with a lighter colour on the ceiling, or if you’d prefer a more dramatic contrast. A darker colour on the ceiling will create a cosier atmosphere, while a lighter shade will feel fresher. Try pulling the ceiling colour down to the top of the walls a little – this will help blur the lines in the room, making the ceilings feel even higher.

What are some of your favourite colour palettes for 2024?

I try not to get too caught up in trends because colours should resonate with your personal style and identity. I have, however, been loving the resurgence of folk-inspired design schemes lately. Think vibrant pops of reds, verdant greens, and lemon yellows – they add such a lively touch to any space. 

While lilac has been all the rage, I’m excited to see some deeper plums and purples making their mark. There’s something so cosy and inviting about these richer tones, but it’s all about finding the perfect blend of colours that make your home feel uniquely you.

How can you use pattern with colourful home décor, and what effect does it have?

Using pattern is a great way to add dimension to your room. Think about how it might represent your personality. Are you a bold stripe type of person, or would something more delicate, gentle and floral be better for you? 

If you already have pattern in your room, for example, some fabulous curtains, this can be a great way to kick off your colour palette – pick a couple of colours from your curtain pattern and use them to build a colour scheme for your room. This will give your room a really cohesive finish.

Image courtesy of @homemilk / Neil Perry Photography

How do you approach mixing metallic accents with colour?

Metallic accents are all about adding a touch of shine to your space to give it some texture and make it feel a bit fancier. Like putting on a piece of jewellery – you don’t need to go over the top, but subtle hints can elevate your whole look.

I love investing in beautiful hardware, especially in the rooms you spend the most time in – it might not seem like a big deal at first, but the finer details really make your space pop. 

Image courtesy of @homemilk / Neil Perry Photography

Can you tell us more about your book ‘The New Colourful Home’?

I remember jotting down ‘Produce a Book’ on my vision board years ago, and seeing that dream materialise has been amazing. 

It all began when Hoxton Mini Press approached Neil (my photographer) and me with the idea. Writing about each vibrant homeowner and their uniquely colourful spaces was a joy. I loved exploring how they used colourful home décor to stunning effect. I also offer advice on infusing more colour into your own living space. 

It’s been a truly fulfilling project from start to finish, and seeing it in shops like the Tate Modern, Waterstones, and The Barbican and more has been mind-blowing.

Show us yours…

We’d love to see your colourful home décor! Tag @dowsingandreynolds on Instagram and head to our Interior Designer Secrets page for more hints and tips from the pros.

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