French accent!Published on March 19, 2013

  • Photo provided

  • Photo provided

Colour can inspire, affect mood and even emotion. Over the last twenty five years, I have been extremely fortunate to have worked with some of the most creative artists and designers in the world. I have seen first-hand how the strategic use of colour and its proper application can harmoniously bring a space together. A beautiful violet vase set against a soft yellow, a burning red accent wall that makes even a “builders beige” pop, and a splash of tangerine orange against a sky-blue wall, can make the difference between simply painting a room to creating a dynamic space.

The influence of colour is not limited to the world of fashion and decorating. There are many national and cultural influences associated with colour, such as the French love affair with blue. In the early 1800s, the French discovered an inexpensive way to manufacture the blue ultramarine pigment and, ever since, the colour has been a staple in French design and the foundation of the French colour pallet.


Recently, I had French colour on the brain when a past client called me looking for a way to add drama to a new home!

Luc had just moved into a new home and was looking for an economical way to transform his space. Although his home had been freshly painted, he found the colour a little drab and depressing. Also, he had recently spent a ton of money updating his furniture, and â€" you guessed it â€" chose predominately beige and neutral tones! Stung by some unexpected closing costs, a complete repaint was not an option.

Looking at the space I was struck by how everything seemed to melt into each other. The couches and area rug were lost against the neutral canvas and the artwork seemed out of place and unappealing. Another problem was the lighting. The room had a southern exposure, so there was lots of light entering the space, but this made the neutral walls and furniture even more, well, boring! Something drastic had to be done, but what?

Taking my cue from the reds in the throw cushions my knee jerk was to choose a complementary red and use it as an accent wall. Knowing Luc to be an outgoing chap and wanting his house to be a reflection of himself, I felt red would be a great option â€" except for drawing too much attention to the wall instead of the interesting antiques in the space. After a quick consultation with Luc to see what colours he liked, I finally settled on a rich deep blue and painted two accent walls in an ultra-matt finish so that the colour would absorb light, not reflect it.

With two walls left in beige, the new colour framed the room and made the furniture and art work look more striking. My client was pleasantly surprised at the feel of the new warm and inviting space. Luc’s response: “Manifique!”


1. An accent wall is an economical way to change the look and feel of a space. Generally an accent wall is the first wall you see when you enter a room.

2. Remember, your house is a reflection of you, your sense of style and taste. Be true to yourself when choosing colour.

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