Vanessa Brady: Colour your home with daylight
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Vanessa Brady: Colour your home with daylight

…colour is a language that speaks to us everywhere, every day.

Colour plays an important role in design, not only in the way we behave and feel but also in the way we live. It can effect and control our behaviour in both interior and exterior environments from our homes, to public spaces, theatres and hospitals.

From the green in a traffic light (Go!), to the white walls of a dentist’s room (clean, clinical and professional), colour is a language that speaks to us everywhere, every day. And nowhere is it more important than in our own homes.

With more and more of us filling our rooms with natural light, it’s increasingly important to decorate with this in mind. Here, I’ve shared my top tips and advice on using colour to make the best of the light in your home. You’ll be discovering the perfect pantone and picking up a paintbrush in no time!

The Home

The colour of a room can affect your perception of its temperature simply by tone and light. This should be considered in relation to the direction of your home. A room with cool colours, such as blues and greens is perfect for south facing, bright rooms. They’re cool colours but in a bright, sun filled room don’t seem uninviting. Warm colours however, such as red and orange generate a feeling of cosiness and are perfect for cooler, north facing rooms.

New Study over GarageThe Living Room

Used by all generations of the family, the living room shouldn’t be overly stylised but should evolve over time to help it stay relaxed and comfortable. The space should be easy to keep clean and the lighting should be sufficiently textured to deflect dust and visible marks effectively.

Use: natural shades that reflect the outside light

Avoid: flat, dull colours that make the room look messier

The Study

Your workspace needs to be calming and inspiring. Natural daylight is proven to boost work performance, so it’s important that desks are positioned close to windows, but ideally the light should come from behind to avoid glare and not tire the eyes.

Use: warm tones like smoky greys and greens that are conducive to working, while cream will help enlarge a small space by reflecting the light

Avoid: white – it’s too bright and will tire your eyes during the day

While light isn’t conducive to sleeping, waking up in a brightly lit room will greatly improve your mood.

The Dining Room

Dining rooms tend to be used and enjoyed most in the evenings, and it’s also the place in your home where you’re most likely to host and entertain guests. With this in mind, you can be bolder with colour choice, choosing shades that compliment your evening lighting and add some drama and theatre to the setting. These colours don’t need to fill the room, they can be used as accents and can update any season’s style. I like to use burgundy, amethyst and maroon as an accent colour for drama in dining rooms, bedrooms and as accessories.

Use: dark, strong colours and statement walls to provide drama

Avoid: blander, pastel shades with less interest



We know that a child’s immediate environment is vital to their development. The space they play in needs to be bright and stimulating, with lots of natural light to encourage them to learn through exploration.

Use: primary colours – they’ve been shown to encourage learning in young children

Avoid: pale colours that young eyes can’t distinguish

The Bedroom

While light isn’t conducive to sleeping, waking up in a brightly lit room will greatly improve your mood. Darker colours in bedrooms can look great at night and help you sleep, but won’t give you the best start to your day. Therefore choosing a colour for your bedroom needs to be done carefully, look at it in bright daylight and then view it in the evening with lights on before you make decisions. I like to keep the sample swatches next to the light switch for night time impressions and also another swatch near the window to view when I wake up and open blinds. Over a series of days I start to remove the samples that no longer appeal to me and eventually I will have naturally gravitated towards colours that I both like, and best suit the room.

Use: calm, light colours that reflect the morning light

Avoid: darker colours, invest in blackout curtains or blinds instead

Vanessa Brady biog and pic