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Freestyle Wednesday: mix colours like a pro

When I visited Home 2014 a couple of weeks ago, I finally met Tania James, one half of colourful design duo, Quirk and Rescue. 

It reminded me that I've long meant to post a photo of Q&R's rather amazing geometric Wundt wallpaper.

For starters, I like the paper itself (more details of which below). But also, I love how their photograph of it in situ is styled. It throws out all preconceptions about how to use colour. What do you think?

There are so many colours going on, and some are lone sharks – basking in their brightness, not a thought of finding a partner: the pink, the green, the yellow and the grey... Why does it work? I'd sometimes like to be bolder with my colour choices, so I thought I'd break it down to see what I could learn.

For starters, if you've met Tania, or at least seen her spectacular hair, you'll know she's not a woman scared by colour. So confidence is a start. But besides that, I think its secret is partly that it is clean. It is not only well-ordered and neatly arranged so as to avoid a clutter of objects to jar with the collection of colours, but also the arrangement of the colours themselves is clean. Orange and blue, of course, dominate – and in a large scale pattern, too, which means it doesn't look bitty and messy. These colours are also echoed tidily in the filing cabinet labels and electric cable; all this combined makes them your solid anchor. Red pops up in three places, in the lamp, dish and a book: a trio is always a tidy design trick. The white of the floor is picked up in a book and the lightbulb: ditto. This solid base allows for a couple of wild cards, even clashes – in the books, the pink ampersand, the grey cabinet and the wooden table. Very clever.

If you like the wallpaper, it costs £90 a roll and comes in some other lovely colour combinations (the grey/green is my favourite). Find it and other good stuff – including the excellent, new font tea-towels – at

And here are some older posts about colour.

Post by Kate, image Quirk & Rescue


  1. Thanks for the lovely write up Kate.It's true,I love colour and don't often give a thought as to whether it clashes! I wear a lot of pink and green together which is often thought of as 'wrong' but think of all the beautiful pink flowers and shrubs with their clashing lime green stalks. How can nature be wrong? :)
    So nice to meet you at Home.

  2. Ps,I did the styling of that shot should anyone fancy being Quirk and Rescued!