Colour Drenching: How and Why I’m Using This Interior Styling Trend in Our Location Home
April has been ‘all about the hall’ at Chipstead Location House. Whilst being an interior designer and having a home that you hire out for film and photoshoots is quite a good match, it does mean that the smell of fresh paint is rarely gone for long. It’s one thing keeping up with the wear & tear of an active family and a very energetic dog on a house in the countryside but add to the mix the frequent visits of clients, location scouts, film crews and photographers, and no paint job stays the same for very long. So just when everyone’s getting used to that new green-grey on a feature wall it’s all change and now we’re colour-drenching in ‘Sand II’.
In the grand hierarchy of room styling, it’s easy to overlook the hall in favour of your showpiece kitchen or dining room, but the hallway is often people’s first experience of your home’s interior (and your taste for interior design). Darker shades of sage were quite popular the last time the hall was painted – specifically for a Dunelm photoshoot – and I’ve wanted to move away from it for a while now. I do still like a dark wall and even a dark room in the right context, but the hallway here at Chipstead enjoys a good proportion of natural sunlight so I wanted to use as much of that light to create a feeling of greater space. This also drove my decision to employ the current trend of colour drenching.
So what is colour drenching and why is it popular with interior stylists?
Colour drenching is a technique of using a single colour or shades of the same colour in a room to create a bold and impactful look. Using lighter colours can often bring the illusion of height and introducing different textures and patterns in the same colour family will add depth and interest to the overall design. The use of a light paint colour in the hall has helped me produce a feeling of greater space and height, which naturally follows through to the kitchen’s vaulted ceiling. Going for a natural shade also worked well with the variety of textures and materials I’ve used to dress the room, having raided our collection of rustic vintage furniture and accessories from the Louisa Grace workshop.
Is the choice of paint type important when colour drenching?
For me, yes. I’d say paint choice is especially important in rooms with multiple natural light sources. You need to know you’re going to have really solid, even coverage when you run a single colour from floor to ceiling. Another great way to create depth and interest over large surfaces of flat colour is to use different paint finishes, such as mixing areas of matt, satin and gloss to create a modern contemporary feel in an older building.
For this project I decided to use the Architects Matt in Sand 11 from Paint & Paper Library. I like the depth and consistency of the colour plus there’s no need for a separate emulsion and egghsell. The Architects Matt is perfect for colour drenching as it literally covers everything from walls to woodwork and radiators. I’m also a big fan of their range of Architectural colours, which I find compliment the overall style ethos of the Louisa Grace brand. We’re not Paint & Paper Library stockists, but if you look on their website you’ll find a stockist near you.
As we have a few photoshoots coming up and location scouts with filming briefs wanting to update their books, I’ve decided to take a ‘less is more’ approach and just dress the room with a few key pieces from our Vintage Interiors collection, including a gorgeous Mercury Glass Pendant Light and a gorgeous Victorian sofa to bring an extra dimension of use to the room, beyond the mundane of everyday comings & goings.
The importance of lighting when colour drenching a small room.
As our house has to earn it’s own income as a location for photography and filming, I’m acutely aware that my audience isn’t just family and friends, and our community of Instagram followers. A location scout or production company will always be looking at what I’ve done with an upcoming photo or film shoot in mind, so it’s important that I’m not just promoting a style, I’m also demonstrating the versatility of a space.
Saturating a room with a single colour to create a stylish and cohesive look is great when working with a small space, but the impact of colour shades can be amplified or diminished by the way you light the the room. Here’s a few things I’ve learned along the way:
Choose the right type of lights for your space.
When colour drenching a small room, it’s important to choose the right type of light to enhance the impact of your chosen colour. Natural daylight is always the best option, so try to maximise the amount that enters the room by using sheer curtains or blinds. If daylight is limited, consider using a combination of overhead and accent lights to develop a warm and inviting atmosphere. Avoid harsh lighting, as they can wash out the colour and make the room feel cold and uninviting.
Consider the colour temperature of your light bulbs.
When choosing lighting for a colour-drenched small room, it’s important to consider the colour temperature of the bulbs you use. Warm-toned bulbs, such as those labeled “soft white” or “warm white,” will enhance warm colours like reds, oranges, and yellows, while cooler-toned bulbs, labeled “cool white” or “daylight,” will enhance cool colours like blues and greens. Experiment with different bulb temperatures to find the perfect balance for your chosen colour scheme. I rarely use anything other than soft white or warm white in my projects.
Use decorative lights to accent key features.
In addition to choosing the right bulb temperature, using accent lighting can also help highlight key features in a colour-drenched small room. For example, if you have a bold accent wall, consider adding a spotlight or wall sconce to draw attention to it. Or, if you have a piece of artwork or a decorative object that you want to showcase, use a small spotlight or picture light to highlight it.
So when the sun goes down and the natural light that visually increases the size of our hallway is gone, what I don’t want to do is try and replicate the size effect with lots of harsh down-lights. Instead I’m looking to our range of decorative lighting to provide a variety of shapes and levels of illumination, which can help me deliver a warm and welcoming environment.
The finished project.
I’m really pleased with the finished result. It answers the brief and gives us a fresh, Instagram-worthy room that I’m happy to promote to any location scout or production company that has a new photo shoot or filming brief in mind. Have a look at the photos below and also on our Instagram, and see what you think. I hope you like it.
With so many diverse interior styling projects on the go, it would be easy to think of yet another room update at home as a distraction, but it really is a labour of love. Since buying The Old Kennels back in 2017, both Jamie and I have been inspired by the opportunities that the property and land have afforded us.
It all started with the kitchen extension, which we designed as a double-height room with huge Crittall-style windows and doors, that are a feature in themselves as well as producing a fabulous light-filled space, which juxtaposes beautifully against the existing Victorian country cottage features of the rest of the property.
Once built, we knew we had to use our interior design ability to create a transition from the old building to the new, in a way that would be complimentary, not jarring. Our love for Rustic Vintage which drives the whole Louisa Grace Interiors business, provided the perfect solution for filling the space with unique furnishings that bring as much in the way of interest as they do function and decoration, integrating seamlessly with the original wooden floorboards, fireplaces and bay windows.
Building a location property online.
As with many renovations of old properties, there’s always the likelihood of one small task surfacing a host of unanticipated issues, that add days or weeks to your schedule and potentially thousands of pounds to your budget. Ours was inevitably one of those projects and we had no shortage of challenges along the way. So when a friend commented that our design for the finished property would be perfect for location shoots, we decided to explore that as a route to funding some of our additional plans.
I started Googling around and did my research on location agencies, and slowly hatched a plan. We finished the kitchen first and kitted it out in the style that we wanted to set the tone for the rest of the house, then took loads – and loads – of photos from every possible angle at every different time of day, with various different levels of room dressing and furnishings.
Then whilst Jamie got busy with the rest of the interior modelling and external works, I focussed on each of the rooms in turn; styling the interiors, painting, dressing filming and taking photos. Once I had a portfolio together I started the process of making contact with all the agencies I had found and getting the house registered.
It took a while, but by registering with as many agencies as I could I spread the net wide and eventually started getting some bookings. The real turning point came when the team that produce George Clarke’s Old House, New Home for Channel 4 got in touch. All Jamie’s hard work on the kitchen and my tenacity with the location agencies had paid off. Being featured on the programme not only put us on the map as a location house for filming and photography, it also really raised the profile of Louisa Grace Interiors for our vintage rustic furniture and room accessories.
If you have read this far and think perhaps you’d like to try offering your house as a location property, I would say go for it. You have nothing to lose and you could even earn the budget to cover some recent or planned re-styling. I’ve listed below a few tips that may help get you started.
Registering your house as a Location Property:
- Start by Googling Location Agencies and contact the top 20 or so. Some may focus more on filming than photo shoots, some will cover both, so think about what sort of work you’re looking for. A photographer’s crew will generally be less intrusive and not have the technical requirements of a film crew. The key is to join as many agencies as you can – you’re not tied to just one agency. That way you have more chance of getting used!
- Make sure you have plenty of images to send them, but don’t stuff up their inboxes with gigabytes of massive images. Once they’ve approved your house they’ll then ask for forms to be completed and for higher-res photos. Some agencies may even send their own photographer and then take the fees off of the first booking.
- Don’t get hung up on whether your house is unique or stylish enough. Agencies need properties and locations of all sizes and styles. Just think of all the TV programmes and adverts that you have seen, that look like they’ve been filmed in a ‘normal everyday home’. The chances are that’s exactly where they were shot.
- Sell it! The photos you send and the description you supply are your first step to getting your house listed, so make them as good as you possibly can. Are the pictures as good as they can be? Everything looking tidy and clean, like a show home? Have you listed every positive feature of the property both inside and outside? What’s the parking situation? Access to the front and back? Enough room for the crew to get all their equipment in and out?
- Be available and be flexible. Filming for a movie or TV production may need to take place over a few days, so you may need to relocate temporarily. Film crews may also need to get in early to do their setup and there’s every possibility that the production company will want to do a few room modifications to suit the scene, such as painting walls and moving furniture around. If any of that is not convenient for you, be clear and up-front about it with the location agency.
I hope that helps and good luck if it is something you choose to try.
Next month we’ll be talking about modern trends, such as free-standing kitchens and Biophilia.