One of the questions I get asked the most on my Instagram page and private messaging is about paint colours. Many of the people who ask me are trying to choose colours for their own home and I can completely relate to the utter confusion they are experiencing. I must admit that when it came to picking colours for our own home it was a total mind field. I knew I wanted mostly neutral colours but which ones? I wouldn’t like to even count the amount of sample pots I went through before settling on the colours we chose in the end.
So, with my 20:20 hindsight vision, here are some of the things I wish I had known while making these decisions, and how my thought process went.
- How will you use the space? If it is a kitchen, you will want a bright, more inviting colour rather than a dark brash one. For a bedroom you might want a more tranquil and restful colour.
- Think about what colours might compliment your existing furnishings, curtains and flooring. What upholstery fabrics and art have you got? The colour you pick will need to work with these items, otherwise the room will feel off balance.
- I chose neutral colours in most of the rooms of our house, primarily because I prefer to layer the rooms with colour. I add in colour through fabrics, upholstery, cushions, art. All of these add a dimension to the rooms and give them character. There is nothing wrong with choosing bolder colours but sometimes it can limit how you accessorize a room so keep that in mind throughout the process. I adore art so I wanted to make sure I had a blank canvas for lots of colour through paintings.
- Avoid trends! Unless you are going to have painters in every year, I would avoid following trends. At the end of the day, you have to live in your home, so only choose colours that make you feel good and suit your interiors aesthetic instead of following what social media or magazines are selling you. Coral is in for Spring 2019 and whilst I like it as a colour, I don’t want it on my walls! If you don’t pander to every fashion trend, then don’t pander to paint trends.
- Use the colour wheel! The three primary colours are red, yellow and blue. The secondary colours are orange, green and purple and then there are tertiary and some other colours. Colours that are opposite on the colour wheel will co-ordinate with each other as will triadic colours (ones that are located at three equidistant points on the wheel). Basically, darker and lighter shades of the same colour work well together. Most paint charts are composed of dark down to light so you can use this as a guide as to what will work well together.
- Think about the flow of your home. The colours you have in adjacent rooms should have a cohesive palette. You want each room to flow into another in a complimentary way. Our kitchen/dining/living area is open plan so when I was choosing the paint colours for this space, I wanted to make sure that they would flow into each other seamlessly. The kitchen/dining areas are painted in LittleGreene Slaked Lime Dark which is a lovely soft grey/mushroom colour. In the living area then I wanted a warmer, more intimate tone so I went with Farrow and Ball Stoney Ground.
- Test Test Test! I cannot emphasise this enough. There are many reasons why you need to use samples. First, light has a major impact on how a colour will look on different walls and at different times of day. I would advise you to fix swatches to each wall and observe them throughout the course of a day. They will change as the light changes.
- Trust your instincts. We had a “colour consultant” that came out to help us with colours early in the build and while I’m sure their choices would have been modern and trendy, they didn’t suit my tastes and I would have regretted going with their palette. I am all for grey but not in every room of the house. Our last house had a mostly grey palette, so I wanted a change. Listen to people’s opinions but go with your gut, you won’t regret it