Choosing Colours: Simple Steps to Avoid Clashing over your Walls

(by a non-designer, for non-designers)

Are you staring at old, marked walls, and something needs to be done, but you have no idea where to start with colour? That’s where we were last year, when we had moved into our (new-to-us) old home. Somehow the extent of what needed to be fixed, and what needed to be painted, only became clear once we had moved in … Luckily the music room, in its relatively standard off-white colour, had been recently painted, so it didn’t need a major makeover to be useable. But the rest of the house did. Initially we had a number of exposed brick walls, a major legacy from the late 70s, to work out what to do with. Once we had decided to cover these up (and that’s the subject of another post!) then we were free to create with a new, refreshed palette…or were we? I wasn’t too confident with colour choices initially (my husband is much more so, and has a pretty good eye for these things), but I’ve learnt a lot along the way. Here is my list of considerations that would be front of my mind, were we picking colours again in the future!

1. In a hurry to refresh your home? Consider painting your walls in a shade of white/off-white.

After months of deliberation, sometimes it felt like we were never going to get anywhere with choosing a colour – I didn’t have the confidence for bold, colourful strokes, and was afraid of something which would date our renovations, while at the same time my husband wanted to make big, daring changes (think bright red!) However, one afternoon, in a rare magazine-reading moment, I saw one family in ‘Country Style’ describe how they began a quick refurbishment of their home by painting everything in off white. And the pictures were beautiful. You’ll have plenty of chances to add colour with furnishings, pictures etc, so this can be a very good option for sorting out your colour dilemma with speed!

2. Work with what is already inside (and outside) your home!

A couple of things which we needed to consider, when choosing feature walls in particular, were all the hues of the garden you could see from inside the house – we liked the idea of ‘bringing the outside in’ by having some relationship between the inside and outside colours. Other items which needed to be matched when making our choice were the wooden floorboards and the kitchen (which was already in place). Special items of furniture may also further limit the field of colours from which you make your final selection.

3. What feeling do you want to create?

There’s a lot of theory out there on how different coloured rooms affect people. I’m not going into that here in further detail, but do think about how you want to feel in certain spaces of your home, and how certain colours would help or hinder those feelings.

4. Will it date?

Some colour combinations may appear striking and impressive, but can be on the faddish side (grey and neon yellow, I’m looking at you!!!) I do try and think about how I will feel living with colours in a few years’ time.

5. Test it out

Purchase some sample pots and try them out on a sheet of paper, which you can then stick to the wall to ‘try out’ – we painted a few patches of colour straight onto the wall (and had to get them off again too!)

6. Get a colour consultant, or a friend with great taste, to give you a hand in choosing colours

We got a colour consultant in, and while my husband had a pretty good idea of what he wanted by this point in the proceedings, she was very helpful and gave us both new things to think about, and the confidence to go ahead and make our final selections. A third pair of eyes always has the potential to offer a new, refreshed perspective.

Anyway, I hope this article has given you one or two new perspectives to consider in relation to getting new colours on your walls! If you’d like to read more such articles as they become available, please consider subscribing below!