Steps to Finding Your Paint Colour
Taking the time to choose a colour scheme that reflects your lifestyle, will go a long way to creating a happy home environment for years to come.
1. Keep a record of Inspiration
We are surrounded by inspiration every day. Keeping a record of images, colours and objects that inspire will give you a clear picture of your taste and style preferences. Every few months, when the time comes to clear out my old magazines, I go through each of them, taking out the images that inspire me. I keep a file of the images by room and when I am ready to paint, I have lots of inspiration to refer back to. Pinterest and Instagram allow us to do this digitally but matching colours to a computer screen is another story.
2. Decide on the Mood or Atmosphere you want to create.
Colour is the most important design element in creating the mood and atmosphere of a space.
Each and every colour has an energy which affects us whether you like that colour or not.
Generally when we walk into a red room we feel excited and our blood pressure rises, so reds, oranges and yellows are recommended for areas where you want to create a friendly, sociable and energetic atmosphere.
When we walk into a blue room we feel more calm and relaxed, these colours work well where you want to create a more peaceful and intuitive atmosphere.
Decide how you want to feel when you and your family are in the room and let that point you in the direction of the colours to select.
You can read more about the energy of different colours in the blog post on Colour Therapy.
3. Consider the Size and Temperature of the Space.
Cool colours like gentle greens and blues recede, making a room appear larger than it is. Warm, deep colours with advance and make a room appear smaller.
If a room is hot, painting it red, yellow or orange will make the room feel even warmer than it is, to counter this, select a cooler colour for a warm space and vice versa.
4. Create a Mood board
If you are unsure about what colour to choose, creating a mood board will help enormously. On the mood board, place your inspirational images, add colour samples or actual samples of the items you cannot replace. i.e. actual samples or colour samples of the flooring, furniture and window treatments in the room.
Once you have the fixed items and inspiration on the mood board, add paint swatches and see which colours work best with everything.
5. Balance your Scheme
Balance warm colour schemes with some cooler colours – for example; if a scheme is looking too warm introduce some blue and green accents to balance and cool the scheme. Vice versa for a cool scheme.
Some of the most popular colour scheming harmonies are:
- A monochromatic harmony – created using tints and shades of the same colour. (A tint is a colour with white added. A shade is a colour with black added.) Most often used with neutrals to create a serene but interesting look.
- A complementary harmony is when colours opposite on the colour wheel are used to enhance and balance each other.
Complementary Colours are:
Blue and Orange
Green and Red
Purple and Yellow.
If you find a scheme is not working, try adding some green plants and you will be amazed how they can assist in balancing a look.
6. Consider the Lighting
I remember a while ago, I was asked to visit a home in Bryanston, the owner complained that the neutral paint she had bought had a green tinge on one wall.
When I went to the home, I noticed that the wall was adjacent to a large window, the light coming in through the window was reflecting the green shrubbery outside the window onto the wall. Coloured carpets and curtains can have a similar effect if the light bounces off it.
The colour on your wall will change during the day depending on the natural light entering the room, it will also change at night depending on your lighting.
With incandescent lights being phased out due to their energy inefficiency, we have a choice between fluorescent and LED lighting.
Both come in cool or warm light, so it is a personal choice as to what light you prefer.
Warm light has a golden glow which will enhance warm colours but can dull cooler shades. Warm light is softer and is preferred in bedrooms and living rooms.
Cool light, is closer to daylight. It is brighter and lighter, but it might be too bright for some rooms.
Note: Fluorescent lights contains mercury so need to be disposed of responsibly.
7. Choosing your Paint
Basically there are two types of paint for interiors.
- Water-based or Acrylic paints – these can be used on walls, ceilings and furniture.
There is a choice of matt and sheen. Matt paints will hide imperfections and the good quality matt paints, are just as washable as their sheen counterparts.
I recommend Plascon Cashmere or Plascon Polvin for interiors which are excellent quality matt paints.
Sheen Paints look luxurious and enhance deep colours, but make sure your walls are perfectly smooth. Plascon Double Velvet is a beautiful, quality paint with a velvet sheen.
Don’t underestimate the quality of paint, cheap paints do not have quality pigments or binders, they are not washable and will look shoddy after a short while, which means you have to paint again sooner rather than later.
- Enamel paints – For doors, skirting’s and window frames.
These paints are now available in water-based options. The water-based enamels are not only better quality but much friendlier to the environment. When choosing n enamel for your trim always insist on the water-based option.
8. Test your colour
If you like a paint colour mentioned in a magazine, be sure to check the actual paint swatch first before buying the paint. Lighting as mentioned can make the colour look quite different in print. Tip: I often find a colour looks more intense when painted on a wall than it does on the much smaller swatch card, so I look for a slightly lighter and muted hue than the colour I am drawn to on the swatch card.
Buy a tester pot of the paint colour and paint it on a 1 metre by 1 metre piece of card. This way you see how the colour looks on different walls during different times of the day, you can also look at it against the flooring, sofa and curtains.
Taking the time to go through these steps is fun and you may uncover a creative side you never knew you had..
4 thoughts on “8 Steps to Finding the Perfect Paint Colour”
Gorgeous pictures. I always saw the insides of home magazines and wondered how I’d be able to furnish and paint my future house without needing to hire an interior designer. Your post is so insightful! I’ll be taking these tips with me for the future.
Thank you Jess
I’m so glad that you mentioned to consider the lighting in a room, and that the color can change depending on the natural light in the day and night. After all, you’ll want to pick a color that will not distract you when you are in the room. In my mind, it’s a similar mindset to picking a color for a bedroom. For example, having a dark color for a bedroom that isn’t distracting could help someone sleep at night.
Thank you and you quite right on the bedroom note 👍