Monday, 06 June 2011

Advice on Choosing Paint Colour

The most common request from clients is for the interior designer to help with the selection of the paint colours.

Repainting walls is the easiest way to give your interior a new look and add new life to the space.  However choosing the colour and making that commitment is often extremely daunting.  This is probably due to the fact that there is such a large variety of paint colours and finishes available and there is also a sense of permanence about painting your walls that keeps people second guessing their choices.  That is, once you have painted the colour on the walls you are going to be stuck with it!

Even as an interior designer, specifying paint colours for an interior, and exterior for that matter, is always a hard task as these colours can change so much depending on the time of day and the way the natural light and shadows fall on the area being painted.  Often the colour, when painted on the wall, will look different from how you remembered it on the paint swatch in the paint showroom.

Here are some tips when choosing paint colour:

  1. Before you go to your local paint supplier, try to visualize your ‘dream room’, think of the furniture, fabrics, and the paint colour on the walls and the overall effect you would like to create.  Taking a picture with you of an interior from a magazine is probably an easier solution.
  1. Know what you are looking for before you get there, do you want to stick to the neutral colours, are you adding in any feature walls?  When you are faced with a huge selection of colour it can get confusing so stick to the colours you have in mind and don’t get side tracked.
  1. Look at those colours that appear to be made up of a mixture of more than two colours, in other words the colour should not be a primary or secondary colour, it needs to be a bit more ‘complicated’, often the muddy colours work the best.  Even if you are looking for a beige or sandy colour you will find a huge variety and this tip might help you to make a decision.  The ‘simpler’ colours are great for a child’s playroom and sometime will work well on a single feature wall in the room.  Otherwise the more complicated colours will add interest to the room. 

  2. Narrow your choice of colour to a minimum of 3 colours and ask for sample tins.  These sample tins are charged for so do not get too many.  Go home and paint large squares on at least two of the walls within the room.  Remember the colour will look slightly different depending on how the light hits it so try one wall that is in the natural light and one wall in the shade.  Try turning the lights within the room on and off to ensure you are happy with the results.

  3. Choose the best colour of the 3 samples on the wall and go buy the paint.  If you are not happy with any of the colours try again.  Rather get it right than paint all the walls in a colour you are not happy with.  Ask other people’s opinion of the samples on the walls if this is going to help you make up your mind.

  1. When purchasing your paint stick to a matt paint.  A matt paint hides the defects in a wall much better than a gloss or a sheen paint, again it all comes down to the way the light hits the wall and casts its shadows.  A glossy paint will reflect the light in such a way that any dents and defects in the wall are more apparent.
  1. Keep ceilings white and ensure that your cornices are also painted to match the ceilings.  Do not paint your cornices in the wall colour.
  1. Rather employ a professional painter than doing it yourself.  Sometimes you do not realise the time, effort and stress that goes into preparing and painting the walls.  There is also alot fo careful detail that needs to be addressed when painting the walls, cornices and skrtings which could look messy if not done correctly.  If you are looking for a painter try the Master Builder's Association

And of course an Interior Designer or Decorator will be able to help you with paint colour as well as many other interior solutions.  For a list of designers and decorators in your area go to