Eight Little Known Tips For Choosing the Perfect Room Colour

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

Manchester Art Gallery

Manchester Art Gallery

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.

Bedroom in Green Blue by Farrow & Ball

Bedroom in Green Blue by Farrow & Ball

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…

House painted in Light Gray

House painted in Light Gray

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.

Hallway in Brinjal

Hallway in Brinjal with in-stair lighting

5.  The appearance of colours can change depending on the size of the painted area.

So how Yellowcake or Blazer appear when painted on the legs of a side table, can be different to how they look when covering an entire wall.

A bedroom painted in Red Earth

A bedroom painted in Red Earth

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.

Living room in Chemise with Strong White ceiling colour coming down from the ceiling

Living room in Chemise with Strong White ceiling colour coming down from the ceiling

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.

Margo Selby

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!

Small bathroom in Brinjal

Small bathroom in Brinjal

 

 



The Chromologist

About

The Chromologist is a colour whisperer. He understands and knows them better than they know themselves, translating their pleas to be used beautifully for humankind. It's unknown from whence he came. Some say the fraction of space between a prism and a spectrum, others say he toiled in the fabled colour mines of Svalbard for years untold, deep underground, speaking only to the reds and blues, cerises and aquas, bronze and golds...


The Chromologist 2017 | Farrow & Ball

The Chromologist