When it comes to giving your home an instant lift, few things transform the look and feel of your interior quite as dramatically as a fresh coat of paint.
Whether you’re looking to paint your home as part of a home styling exercise or you simply think it’s time for a change, a quick visit to the local hardware store is all you need to realise that there is a bewildering array of colours, shades, tints and hues on offer.
Added to these many paint and colour choices is the decision of whether to use a matte finish, glossy finish or perhaps even eggshell, so it is not surprising to find many shoppers standing in front of the local suppliers’ paint charts, rifling through the different coloured swatches with a puzzled look on their faces.
Coordinate with your soft furnishings
If you are really unsure about which colour to use, study the patterns and prints used in the room you are repainting. A good rule of thumb is to select the coordinating wall colour from the background colour of the main print or pattern of the sofa, curtains or bedspread, for example. Match the colour of any deeper or brighter tones in the material for accent areas such as a feature wall or an alcove.
Hint of a tint
White or cream are often used to paint ceilings because ceilings are seen in shadow and white reflects light coming into the room. If you want to add some colour, then mix in a splash of your wall paint with a 25:75 ratio of that colour to white so that you can add a hint of colour to the ceiling. Use a dark colour if you are looking for a dramatic finish to the room and feeling brave, but do ensure that you have good lighting in place.
Follow a theme
If you are looking for a romantic feel to a bedroom, then go for the pale pinks, lilacs or reds. For a Mediterranean look to a kitchen, think about using citrus colours with a rich yellow background. Pale grey with stencilled red and blue patterns make a naïve Swedish folk art theme, whilst a minimalist modern look can be achieved with white walls and a monochrome approach.
Hot or not?
Colours have long been linked to emotions, so consider what you want to convey in each of your rooms. Primary colours of red, green, yellow and blue are associated with children, so you might want to go with these colours for playrooms and nurseries. On the colour wheel, red, yellow and orange represent warmth, whilst mint green, white and ice blue are seen as colder colours. Blue and white are often used for bathrooms, but for a modern approach, you could use turquoise or another shade of blue to really give your room an up-to-date feel.
Making the paint work for you
In a busy family home, there will be areas of increased footfall where scuffmarks will appear on gloss work, and sticky and dirty finger marks will be seen around light switches. Think about choosing a paint that you can wipe over with a cloth and it will still maintain its good condition. You might also want to consider a darker shade so that marks will not show up. The same goes for the walls of a teenager’s bedroom to cover up the marks left by putting posters up.
Take time to decide
If you are carrying out a makeover of the room, take samples of material or wallpaper with you so you can match and coordinate this with your paint. Buy a few sample paint pots of the colour you prefer, and go and try them out at home. Look at the paint in the daylight and in the evening before you finally decide on the colours for you. And remember, if you change your mind, it is not the end of the world as you can simply start over and repaint until you are completely satisfied.