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Choose Paint Like A Pro

Choose Paint Colours Like A Pro

Choosing the right paint colour is the most challenging yet rewarding aspect of decorating.

The paint colours that you choose are so important at laying out a background in a room and reflecting your personality. When choosing paint colours, consider what you like, what makes you happy or what helps you feel calm. If you love brights, go for bold, saturated colours; if you’re more the meditative type, a monochromatic, neutral scheme will likely make you more feel at ease.

In this article:
Colour guide
Ways to sample a colour
Painting tips

Colour guide

When planning colours for your home, think about how they affect your emotional responses and how you want your rooms to feel. The following is a basic colour guide:

  • Red can generate emotion like passion, romance and energy, while lighter shades of red and pink are more calming.
  • Orange is one of today’s hottest colours, perfect for those who want something a little more daring. Paired with browns, orange creates an exotic feeling; paired with its complementary colour blue, orange creates a sense of balance in a room.
  • Yellow ranges from pale butter to deep ochre. Bright yellows promote alertness and can work well in kitchens or playrooms, while softer, muted yellows are a good choice for bedrooms.
  • Green can have both warm and cool undertones, so it works well with many other colours. Be careful if you’re choosing green for your dining room or kitchen — some colour analysts believe that certain shades of green can reflect poorly on food. Green creates a sense of calm in a bedroom.
  • Blue can be a soothing colour (pale shades add a feeling of serenity to a bathroom) or create a more cheerful atmosphere (think cornflower blue in a Provençal kitchen).

Ways to sample a colour

Once you’ve targeted a colour, don’t rely on paint chips alone. Many paint companies offer small sample pots large enough to cover a few square feet on a wall. Another way to test out a colour is to paint a piece of gypsum board, foam core board or wood. This allows you to move the sample around the room to see how the colour will look at different times of the day. Some paint companies also offer large-sized, repositionable dry-paint samples that you can stick right onto the wall.

If the colour you are inspired by can’t be found on a sample or paint chip, don’t stop there. Bring your colour inspiration — be it a blue-grey sweater or a red leaf — to a paint mixer and have them match it for you. Most companies now have a laser technology that can pick up and match the pigments from any object.

Painting tips

  • If you are deliberating between a darker and lighter shade of a colour, go darker. A lighter shade can sometimes look washed out, while the darker version will seem rich.
  • To help you determine what shade of paint to choose, compare your paint chip against the colours of furniture and finishes in the room.

Find more painting ideas in our guide.

Photographer: 

Angus McRitchie

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