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Carlene says be courageous with colour.

To you, she’s a former The Block contestant. To me, she’s my go-to interior style guru. The director of Cedar + Suede Interior Design Studio, Carlene Duffy, is a great friend and interior adviser who is not afraid of colour. She recently posted this idea on instagram (and you know I love the IG) that while home design trends are becoming increasingly impressive, home interiors are becoming sadly same-samey. Her followers @cedarandsuede agreed with her, and I was keen to explore how home renovators can avoid falling into the beige brigade.

“In times gone by, homeowners were far more explorative with colour and I really think that confidence is lost in many modern homes,” Carlene told me, “When we focus on creating a home that will appeal to the mass market, we miss the chance to create a home that is just for us, that reflects our own personalities.” 

Carlene’s confidence with colour and the way she also honours a home’s origins were exactly why my wife and I enlisted her to help to bring out the best in our family home.  I asked her to share with you all how and why she approached our interior palette the way she did.

“Yours and Caitlyn’s home is a beautiful 1800s Heritage Queenslander so I thought it was really important to highlight the beautiful original detail such as the stained glass windows, timber skirting boards and trims.”

“While we took a more classical approach, we injected a lot of colour and pattern throughout. We used darker timber, colour, patterns and marble – it is beautiful. We made sure to inject character through details like gorgeous blue arched joinery and emerald green mosaic tiles,” Carlene said.

Carlene’s colour advice

Carlene is not just recommending colour for the sake of colour though. There are important characteristics to consider. For example, you really need to consider the origin of your home – is it urban or regional, are you surrounded by trees or near the sea? 

The next biggest consideration when adding colour to your space, is understanding the light in your home. Does it get a lot of natural light – is it a low light space? This will influence the shades of colour you might use.

Because, contrary to popular belief, if you’ve got a low light space that doesn’t have good natural light, painting it white is not the best solution.

“White paint needs light to look bright, if it doesn’t get decent light it tends to fall flat.”

“How we respond to colour is personal. I love to saturate a space in colour by layering varying shades of the one colour for a tonal outcome. Be a bit playful in exploring colour. It is absolutely worth getting a few sample pots and trialling them on the surface it is to be applied to and on multiple walls in that space. Then watch how it changes in the light and how it changes throughout the day.”

We are currently all spending a bit more time at home these days  and so it is important to surround ourselves with colours that make us feel good and amplify our surroundings.

“My family lives in a semi rural area and we are surrounded by big amazing gum trees and that weighted our decisions and colour influences in our home,” Carlene said.

“I give a lot of thought to what I want to feel in the space that I’m in. In my bedroom, I have a rich forest green bedspread and then lighter green walls, rust colours in there and some sandy colours and it feels very calm to me.”

“Then the kids’ rooms have a bit more high contrast, which I wouldn’t want to live with in my own personal space but they are kids and it works for them,” Carlene added.

If you’re considering reinvigorating you interiors, I can highly recommend Cedar and Suede… but hey, you might just want to stick with white.

I hope you enjoy the read.

Matt Lancashire