Taking a spin of the wheel
How to make sense of choosing paint colours
Choice is one of the pleasures of living in a free marketplace. But when it comes to selecting paint colours, it can be a case of too much of a good thing.
Creative consultant for Dulux Bree Leech says choosing paint colours is a common problem for many homeowners.
“I have had this conversation so many times,” she says. “There is almost too much choice and there are always multiple ways you can go. Knowing what the outcome is that you want is the key.”
While some may question what all the fuss is about — it’s just paint — Bree says it’s understandable wall colours leave so many bewildered by choice.
“Even with white, you realise that there are 50 different whites so which one do you choose?” she says. “It can change the whole feel of the space.”
Channelling your mood
The best and easiest place to start is with a moodboard, says Bree.
Whether you use an old-fashioned pinboard or an online service such as Pinterest, Bree says once you start to bring images together, you start to see a palette emerging.
“Start collecting images that are beautiful to you visually,” she says. “Put them together on one page and you will see some synergy of what you like.”
Once you’ve narrowed down your palette, pick up a few sample pots to try at home.
Don’t be tempted to make a decision while you’re still at the paint shop, says Bree.
“You can’t make colour decisions in isolation,” she says.
“It never looks the same way twice, depending on the room you put it in. You need to compare colour to the existing space with the curtains, flooring and the furniture.”
The big picture
For those still struggling to put a selection of colours together, concept and colour manager for Haymes Paint, Wendy Rennie, has a few tricks up her sleeve.
“You need to look at the whole picture of what you’re trying to achieve in the room,” she says. “If you like the feel of a space, ask yourself what it is that you like.
“A lot of people will say that they don’t know what colour they like but often it is quite obvious to others looking in from the outside.”
When you are drawn to a strong colour,
Wendy suggests considering it as part of the whole scheme before applying it willy nilly.
“If you are looking at a stronger colour, ask yourself what it is doing for the room and if you could do the same thing with a statement piece in that colour instead,” she says. “People get hooked on a colour and think that they should put it on the wall but it’s about working with a palette that you can live with and that will grow with you and your family.”
Moving into neutral
Neutrals are a popular go-to palette for many homeowners looking for a classic colour scheme but Wendy says there are ways to avoid ending up with soulless spaces.
“It is not just that it is white on white, it’s about working with colours that are harmonious,” she says.
“Often it is nice to layer colours through the house. If you want light and airy spaces, go with a lighter tone but if you want a warmer feel, look for neutrals with warmer tones.”
For rooms that still need a little something, she has some advice.
“If you throw black at anything, it makes everything look better — it’s a great contrasting colour while being the ultimate neutral,” Wendy says.
Whatever colours you choose, don’t go with a colour just because it’s in right now.
“If it is a colour you have an affinity with, put it in your house but don’t pick a colour just because it’s on trend,” she says. “If you really love green, which is in right now, it will be uplifting but it is quite powerful and can start yelling at you if you don’t really love it.”
June 24, 2017
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Deep red such as this from Haymes Paint works well in intimate spaces such as bedrooms but is surprisingly comforting in living rooms too.
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Don’t choose colours under the fluorescent lights in the paint shop.
Do take sample pots home and apply colour either directly to the walls or on to board.
Don’t look at colours in isolation.
Do create a mood board pulling together images of spaces you like. You’ll start to see a colour palette emerging.
Don’t choose a colour because it’s on trend.
Do go with colours that resonate with you — you’re more likely to still love them a year later.
Don’t be afraid of trying colour.
Do get the brushes and rollers out if you don’t like it and start again. It’s only paint.