Three tips for picking the right paint colours

By Domenic Belfiore

You either love painting or you don’t. For those who can’t imagine what there is to love about painting or are just preparing a property for sale, there’s a lot more to it than a wasted Saturday afternoon. There’s the pleasure of the crisply painted line, the chance to transform a space completely, the opportunity to stamp your own brand on something and most of all, the satisfaction of a job well done. But, before any of the joys of painting can be experienced, you’ll need the right paint.

Use a colour wheel or chart

If you have absolutely no idea where to start with a room, grab a colour chart from your local paint store, or print one off the Internet. Enter the room with a fresh set of eyes, and try and picture what colours could make you want to spend more time in this space. If you have your furniture or window treatments ready to go, you can use the colour chart to see what will pair well with what you already have. Browns can pair with a lot of colours; turquoise, mustard, rose, cream, white, you name it. There are no hard-and-fast rules, just what looks good to you.

Start with a small space

You know how cleaning products say to try the product on a small unexposed area to avoid nasty results? The same applies to painting. Try a few different swatches of paint on an unobtrusive bit of wall and see if you like it. Go back and check during different times of the day (and night) to see how the colours look in different lighting conditions. And remember, the larger your swatch area is, the more likely it will give you a good idea of the end result. And don’t worry, you’re going to paint over them all anyway.

If you want to try out a radical new design and completely transform a room – do this in the bathroom. Spaces like bathrooms are shut off from the rest of the house, and you don’t spend too much time in them, so you can get away with something a bit more daring.

Paint for the furniture you want, not the furniture you have

If painting is just phase one of your decorating transformation, scrap the colour wheel and start with a blank canvas. It can be a bit of a chicken and the egg scenario; do you want furniture to match your colour scheme, or vice versa? When you have a whole room to plan (including furniture), you have license to look beyond your four walls and try use your decorating to pull in elements of nature, indoor/outdoor flow, views, lighting or even other rooms.

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