Choosing the colours for your new shade structure can be daunting and it can feel like a lot of responsibility. Often, your structure will be placed next to existing buildings and infrastructure which cannot be changed. There are ways to achieve unity between the old and the new. These original buildings may be significantly older than your new structure and often, a completely different style, so choosing the right colour to achieve a cohesive look to your space is essential.
It can seem obvious to have every surrounding building and structure matching, and it does look very ordered and clean when we take this approach. This definitely works well in schools and other education environments. However, a successful outcome can also be achieved when we install a completely modern structure amongst quite traditional buildings and carefully choose a colour palette which blends the two. When you are driving through an older town, or suburb, you can see many examples of this. Classic, older homes with a thoroughly modern extension look amazing. Or a completely new building amidst original architecture in a streetscape can be striking and innovative. Many schools have beautiful, iconic buildings using materials like sandstone and including details like statues and monuments. We need to first choose the right structure for it to assimilate into your existing environment. Then, simply because a structure is new, it does not need to be bright, obvious or drastically different. So, we tie it to the area with a clever colour palette.
Usually, a successful outdoor colour scheme has two major parts: the primary colour, which dominates; and an accent colour which is often used for posts, gutters, and other trim. Traditionally, the accent colour would contrast strongly with the primary colour. These days however, modern designers and planners often suggest monochromatic colour schemes that feature only one colour with two or three shades of that colour for a modern, sleek look that really does stand the test of time. If your primary colour is dark, consider classic white trim or another pale shade. Alternatively, a light primary colour can look stunning with darker trim, producing a clean, dramatic look.
When considering your colour options, remember that every colour creates different emotions and feelings. Studies show that colours and emotions are closely linked. Warm colours can evoke very different emotions to cool colours and bright colours can create different feelings to more muted ones. It all depends on how the psychological effects of colour are being used. Colours can make us feel happy or sad, and they can make us feel focused or relaxed. These reactions are rooted in psychological effects, biological conditioning and cultural imprinting. That’s why it might be worth considering the psychological effects colours might have on an average person and also how you intend to use the space. This can be a significant consideration when we are talking about education spaces.
Neutral tones are a popular choice for large outdoor structures. Natural colours of the outdoors can have a powerful effect on the structure. For example, deep, crisp greens create a cooling effect, as they are visually soothing. Perfect for those hot days, or when breaking out after being inside the classroom or office. Bold, modern combinations of black and white can inspire a sense of purpose and direction as you work. Bright, primary colours can create feelings of fun and freedom – inspirational for play and activity. Colours like bright red, bright yellow and neon green can feel energizing and make you feel more alert. These colours will grab your attention and stand out from their surroundings. Highly pigmented, strong colours like royal blue, turquoise, magenta and emerald green can also have a stimulating effect and make you feel refreshed and energized.
The landscape around your structure is also blooming with colour ideas. The prevalence of trees or an expanse of lawn could inspire an earthy palette of greens and browns. A coastal location might suggest using blues and turquoises or even shades of pink. Where does the sun shine onto your structure? How is it positioned in the environment? We can do what Australian architect Glenn Murcutt tells us to do—follow the sun. Remember that colour needs light, and the quality of the light always has an influence on colour.
You’ve worked to create a space that expresses your school’s sense of style. Your finishes, textures and colours provide a sense of place that’s uniquely yours. Your outdoor spaces should be an extension — or at least an echo — of your schools interior design, and colour is an element that can easily be carried outdoors in landscape materials, furnishings, and plants. By using a dominant signature colour, you can create a beautiful, cohesive look for your entire environment.
Greenline have worked with hundreds of schools to install a structure that suits their needs and have solved concerns about space and shade. We have seen every colour combination imaginable and we know what works. Greenline have worked around heritage requirements and built structures that are beautiful, functional and sympathetic to their environment. When it comes to colour, we have found that if you keep it simple and start with what you like and what matches, you really can’t go wrong. Talk to us about your ideas, have a look on our website greenline.com.au look through our gallery of images and let us take the worry out of colour choices. Greenline’s got you covered (and coloured!).