How to Pick a Colour for Your Home?
For many, the opportunity to decorate their home brings excitement and a chance to let their creative instinct run free… For some of us though it becomes a slow trudge through a variety of colour cards and samples painted on walls. The initial surge of energy becomes a cycle of indecision; researching, testing, seeking friends views, deliberating… researching…
If this sounds like you, then the following advice may be of some use:
1. You may already know what you want
Most people who can’t decide on a colour may not realise that this is probably because your subconscious has already decided, but isn’t telling you directly. It might be that you saw a shop painted a certain colour months ago, or visited a friends house and clocked the colour of their bathroom. Your mind’s eye made a note of it and isn’t going to rest until you stumble upon that colour again. So when you’re searching for a colour, you’re actually trying to remember it.
Stop and think back to where you’ve been over the last couple of months. Did you visit an art gallery with paintings hung against a backdrop that was your perfect colour? Did you take a wrongly delivered parcel round to your neighbour’s house and peek at the beautiful hallway colour they had? Maybe it was in a Facebook photo or in a magazine. Think back!
2. Consider the direction in which your room faces
Light is colour and colour is light – they’re the same thing. The direction in which your room’s windows face and so the quality of light entering your room can have a huge effect on the appearance of colours. For example, the light in rooms facing to the east can sometimes seem more blue and so will bring this out in any colours used. North facing rooms have a colder, harsher light that can be difficult to work with, whereas south facing rooms have an abundance of light throughout the day.
3. Colours will appear different when used outside
When choosing a colour to use on an exterior wall or surface, bare in mind that colours can appear up to two shades lighter outside. Consider testing a colour that you may initially feel is darker than you might usually go for…
4. Consider the effect of different sources of light
Humans have devised all manor of ways to combat gloominess and a lack of interior light, including candles and many different forms of electric lighting. So a colour will look different depending on whether it’s being lit by an incandescent light source (more yellow) or florescent or LED (more blue) lighting. Each form of lighting will hit a surface and return colour to your eye in a slightly different way. This is why it’s always a good idea to paint a sample of paint on to a piece of card and see how it looks under different lights and at different times of the day.
5. The appearance of colours can change depending on the size of the painted area.
6. Do you want to make a small room appear bigger? Or vice versa?
The way in which colours are used in a room can alter the mind’s perception of space. In a room that has low ceilings, paint the skirting, wall and any coving/cornicing all one colour. Painting the ceiling in a complementary neutral or off-white colour, rather than a stark, bright white will also prevent the eye from being drawn to the line where wall meets the ceiling. On the other hand, if you want to ‘lower’ a ceiling, bring the ceiling colour down the wall all the way to the picture rail.
7. Think about the furniture, soft furnishings and any artwork
The colour you paint your walls is important and can change the feel of a room, but remember that it not only needs to flow well from other rooms in the house but also complement other colours in the room. A good starting point for choosing a room colour is to look at the colour of your curtains and flooring. What colour is your carpet or do you have a wooden floor? Is there a certain picture that is the focal point of your room? All will help you form a picture of the colours that may work for you.
8. Embrace what you have!
Sometimes it pays to not fight nature. If you have a smaller room that faces to the north and has little natural light, don’t try to make it lighter by painting it in light colours. Embrace the lack of light to create a dramatic or fun space by using deep, rich hues – a smaller, lesser used room is the perfect opportunity to experiment!