· By Studio

Colour Notes 9.0

Autumn is a time of juxtaposition. Some days see sunshine, others are invigoratingly cold. The hedgerows burst with berries, yet the leaves crisp and start to fall. We want to hold on to the last hints of summer, but feel excited about the winter festivities to come...

We recently launched our new collection, 'Yarns' by Abi Ola, featuring Chequerboard White - a wallpaper comprising a West African textile, coupled with a fragment from a William Morris wall-hanging. In many ways, this wallpaper encapsulates everything autumn is about: it holds two elements in balance, marrying Arts & Crafts with vibrant colour. It's a juxtaposition of concepts.

There's an array of arresting shades to be found in Chequerboard White, so we set about colour-matching a few of these with paints. In doing so we'd like to encourage you, just like Abi's art, to be bold, mix and match, and see what happens when two seemingly unlikely ideas meet.


Red has forever symbolised heightened emotions - power and passion. It is the colour with the longest wavelength; supposedly the first colour newborn babies ever see; and the indomitable Mars was named the Red Planet thanks to the planet's abundance of iron oxide. The best fruits turn a deep, delicious red when ripened - apples, strawberries and even poison berries entice you to take a bite. In short, there's something undeniably alluring about the colour red. It is by far the most eye-catching colour of them all. 

Red dye traditionally would come in the form of the 'Madder Lake', a pigment extracted from boiling the root of the madder plant Rubia tinctorum. It's been cultivated as a dye since 1500 BC, and to this day can be found in a range of iconic paintings, such as on the skin of the fruit in Cezanne's Still Life with Apples and Pears, 1891-92. 

 Today, red can be used to inject a sense of energy into a space. When it came to choosing paints to use alongside Chequerboard White, we opted for Red Ochre and Malahide by Edward Bulmer, as well as Farrow & Ball's Red Earth.


It would be remiss of us not to nod to the green leaves of the Morris segment of Abi's wallpaper, particularly since green is an ever-popular shade for interiors. Perhaps this is because green allows a space to feel softer, brighter, more natural - or because there's simply so many wonderful tones on the market (it's said that the human eye can see more shades of green than any other colour; a hangover from our hunter-gatherer days, when we'd be on the lookout for danger in thick, verdant undergrowth...) 

For paint colours to echo the greens in Chequerboard White, we stepped away from emerald hues and went for something a little more yellowy: Citrine by Little Greene makes for a perfect companion to the wallpaper, as does the Hackney Draper's Celery.


Who can resist the joy of a yellow paint, particularly as we approach the winter months and wish to prolong feelings of brightness and freedom?

Chequerboard White does just this, with its depiction of yellow cherries on the brink of ripening. Moreover, the West African textile Abi has used in her design offers a pleasing array of yellow shades from which to choose the ideal paint. We've gone for Parasol by Paper & Paint Library, a rich and hearty yellow that - as its name suggests - hints to warm climes and relaxation.


Last - but by no means least - we turn our attention to the blues of Chequerboard White. These surprising details found in the West African textile offer a fantastic opportunity to draw out and play upon the blue tones - thus allowing a seamless but bold transition between wallpaper and paint. Dulux's Nordic Sky is reminiscent of cloudless days; it's sure to bring a sense of openness and calm to any space.

Alternatively, Brook by Sybil Colefax & John Fowler offers a greenish-blue option - a reliable colour for a deep, dramatic aesthetic. In fact, their entire collection with Fenwick & Tilbrook works wonderfully with Chequerboard White. It's just a case of taking your pick and running with it.

Chequerboard by Abi Ola is also available at CommonRoom in Black.

We hope this helps with some colour inspiration. We’d love to see how you bring our wallpapers to life in your homes. Tag us on Instagram @commonroom.co, using the #mycommonroom or get in touch with images via email to info@commonroom.co.

Words by Alice Hodgson.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published