It can be rather overwhelming hitting up the hardware store to choose a new interior paint colour for your home.
There are literally thousands of potential colours, and how many shades of white can there be?
Before you throw your colour charts in the air and storm out of the shop (while convincing yourself that the faded mustard-yellow walls in your lounge are actually fine) take note of these six tips.
1. Where to start?
Initially, you should look at the existing colours in your home and decide on the ones you’d consider working with.
“For example, do you have a piece of artwork you really like, flooring that will need to be worked with (not against), and furniture that will be staying? This will help narrow down your options.”
Think about looking at magazines, creating a mood board, or a Pinterest board with images of colours you like – This is a great way to plan a new colour scheme because when ideas are grouped together they start to formulate a pretty clear picture on which direction you want to go.
2. To trend or not to trend?
Trends are modern, fresh and up-to-date influencers of style. But they do come and go, so how do you choose a colour that won’t date quickly? Will you really want to paint again in a year’s time?
It can be best to forget trends, or to be more specific, forget relying wholly on trends – trends are created to help guide people and stimulate change, but getting too caught up with replicating them will not lend to a lasting love affair
However if there is a trending colour that really appeals, interior designer Debbie Ambercrombie suggests bringing it in in small doses.
“Trends are fun and inspiring, so paint a coffee table, a stack of drawers or maybe even add a strip of decorative decal to your walls.”
This is a plan of action that Nikki Morris from Resene agrees with.
“If you are into decorating and keeping up with current colour trends, why not consider a designated statement wall within your home that can be changed as often as you desire?
“Alternative fun options are using splashes of colour within cupboards or wardrobes, wallpaper in bookshelves, or even painting picture frames in trending tones.”
3. When is white the way to go?
White probably causes the most headaches when it comes to choosing paint – how many shades can there be? The answer? Lots!
One tip is that there is always a hint of another colour coming through any shade of white – this is called the undertone. If it is a cool white, it has blue, grey or purple undertones and if it is a warm white then it will have either yellow, brown or red undertones.
“Cool whites work well in light and bright, north-facing spaces and should be paired with other cool-coloured surfaces such as charcoal or grey. Warm whites work well in darker, cooler-type spaces and should be matched with warm-coloured surfaces, like brown, beige and natural timbers.”
The risk that often comes with white walls is a clinical look, but that can be worked around by adding texture or pattern which means you can still have the serenity of a white interior, but you need surface relief like a wallpaper with an interesting finish or highly-textured layers, for example a large rug.”
4. How to test in your home
Aside from having to paint your entire house as a “test run”, there are some tricks of the trade to use when it comes to helping visualise how a colour will look in your home.
Morris suggests painting your test pot onto a large piece of cardboard, leaving an unpainted border around the edge. And two coats are advised to get the best representation of colour.
“This technique means you can move it around the house to see how the colour changes from room to room, with the different lighting and furnishings.
“The border also helps to keep the new paint colour separated from the old colour.”
5. Does it matter if it’s black or white?
Do dark colours always result in a room feeling like no light can live there? And is white always the safe, and also boring option? Well no, not at all according to the experts.
A dark colour in a room definitely doesn’t equal a dark room – you just need to consider how much natural light the room gets, other lighting setups, what colour the trims and ceilings are, and what other colours are going into the space – It’s those things which will make a difference when being paired with dark colours, not the colour of the wall. It can also be the same for white or light walls. They are certainly not boring, as again it’s how the space is styled within the white walls.
So there you have it. Dark is not scary and white is not dull.
6. Feeling your way
There has been plenty of research into how exposure to a particular colour can affect your feelings. So how to go about splashing a potential mood-influencer all over your interior house walls? You just go with how you feel.
We all read colour very differently – what is exciting and energising to one person may be overwhelming for another. So identify colours that you love and never tire of, then decide if a particular space needs warming, cooling, energising or calming.
Generally colours that are saturated and closest to their true colour will be more intense, so if you like red, but find a real red too strong, having blue added in will help calm and cool it.