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Avoid these big mistakes when changing interior design colours

Monday 20 April 2015

We asked three interior designers and a Resene colour consultant to tell us the three biggest mistakes clients make when they are choosing paint colours.

Where once there were rules, guidelines and boundaries when choosing paint colours for your space, there is now free will, free choice and endless possibilities limited only by your imagination. Colour changes everything so let your mood be your guide to what it is you want to create. Do you want a cosy, warm and relaxing space or do you want something more fun and lively to reinvigorate and enliven you? Your happy place can be whatever you want it to be so in choosing your colours, make sure they reflect you and your needs.
You may choose to follow the latest colour trends for 2015 which are inspired from the past but rejuvenated for the present. Sophisticated dusty and smoky pastels can be used to give you a grounded feel touching your senses with timeless beauty and ambiance. Or perhaps the the soothing restfulness of grey-blues and duck egg blue are more to your liking. For a more upbeat and lively space, try the deep blue reds or the uplifting bold pops of orange and yellow. Then there's the wild and glorious purples shining forth with alluring boldness. This year there are plenty of choices so be brave and dive into the world of colour that is waiting for you.

In the first part of our paint colour blog, we featured three interior designers and a Resene colour consultant talking about the latest trends and the three most important aspects that need to be considered when choosing paint colours.

Following on from that, the same interior designers and Resene colour consultant give us their suggestions and advice on how to avoid mistakes and what to think about when considering changing the interior colour of their home or commercial space.

Where once there were rules, guidelines and boundaries when choosing paint colours for your space, there is now free will, free choice and endless possibilities limited only by your imagination. Colour changes everything so let your mood be your guide to create what you desire.

Do you want a cosy, warm and relaxing space or do you want something more fun and lively to reinvigorate and enliven you? Your happy place can be whatever you want it to be, so in choosing your colours, make sure they reflect you and your needs.

You may choose to follow the latest colour trends for 2015 which are inspired from the past but rejuvenated for the present. Sophisticated, dusty and smoky pastels can be used to give you a grounded feel touching your senses with timeless beauty and ambience. Or perhaps the the soothing restfulness of duck egg blue and grey-blues are more to your liking.

For a more upbeat and lively space, try the deep blue reds or the uplifting bold pops of orange and yellow. Or consider the wild and glorious purples shining forth with alluring boldness. This year there are plenty of choices, so be courageous and dive into the world of colour that is available for you to explore.

We asked three interior designers and a Resene colour consultant to tell us the three biggest mistakes clients make when choosing paint colours.

Jane McAulay-Frame, Bespoke Interior Design

Jane McAulay-Frame

Bespoke Interior Design is a team of talented interior designers led by Jane McAulay-Frame. Based in Auckland, Bespoke Interior Design specialises in residential and commercial projects, both new build and renovations.

modern lounge Jane McAulay Frame

1. Not understanding the depth of colour changes

Often people don't understand that the depth of colour changes from when you are looking at a small swatch or drawdown, compared to seeing the colour on mass and in bright sunlight. Roughly half your colour and use test pots.

2. Going too dark

The trend is to go dark, but you can go too dark for the substrate (the material or surface on which an enzyme acts) and end causing damage to the surfaces of your home. Timber substrates should be treated differently to brick or plaster. If the paint on timber is too dark it absorbs too much light and encourages boards to warp, which could be a costly situation 4 or 5 years on due to the harsh New Zealand sun!

3. What goes with existing colours?

Often people pick a paint colour to go with some existing colours, say if they are partially painting, repainting windows or just a front door for example. This is hard to do as some colours have undertones that don't go with the existing ones and again this is hard to read on a small swatch.

Bridget Foley - Bridget Foley Design

Bridget Foley

With a background in interior architecture and graduating as top student at Inchbald School of Design in London, Bridget brings a wealth of international experience to Bridget Foley Design. Bridget Foley Design creates inspirational interiors that range from upholstering a favourite chair to building your dream home.

contemporary setting Bridget Foley

1. Not using drawdowns or test pots!

Never try and choose a colour from a tiny chip on a paint chart - these are provided as a guide only.

2. Not considering the room as a whole

Are you buying new furniture, curtains etc. or using what you already have? There is no point painting a room a colour that then looks dreadful with the curtain or furniture fabric you fall in love with later. You also need to think about how the room will look from adjoining rooms or hallways.

3. What actually looks good in your home?

Just because a colour looks lovely in your friend's house, a hotel, restaurant etc, does not necessarily mean it will look good in your house:  consider lighting - daylight and electric, furnishings, curtains, flooring etc. Again play with test pots and drawdowns.

Peta Tearle - Colour and Design Consultant

Peta Tearle

"I am excited to introduce you to my websit eand new venture 'Colours with Love'.

This year Peta celebrate 25 years of colour design for buildings. Each colour selection she has worked on, whether simply a front door for an existing scheme to entire housing developments or commercial buildings, has been created with the same care and attention. Peta's intention is always for her clients to love the space they reside in. Hence the name 'Colours with Love' was chosen for her online ready-made palettes.

Bathroom Peta Tearle

1. Not following your heart

Test the colour in situ and if you still like it, use it. You don't need a huge area of a favourite colour to provide an immense amount of pleasure.

2. Painting square-stopped ceilings a different colour to the walls

It just never looks right. Don't be afraid to add colour to ceilings; if anything it can make the room feel more generous.

3. Forcing small rooms into looking big by painting white

Trying to force small rooms into looking big by painting white (especially those with limited natural light). Play with the scale and try darkish colours instead to create intimacy and warmth.

Nikki Morris - Resene Colour Consultant

Nikki Morris

Nikki Morris has been a Colour Consultant with Resene for the past seven years. Nikki's role is to inspire people and help them become more confident when it comes to using colour. Nikki also solves colour predicaments and ensures her clients create beautiful colour schemes for the exterior and interior of their homes that are practical and sustainable.

Resene colour chart

1. Be confident in what it is that you want

There are many potential mistakes that customers make selecting colour. It is important that you keep the confidence in what you want. Too many customers get cold feet using colour. When they switch to a half tone, they are disappointed as in reality a half tone is a completely different colour.

2. Don't over use colours

Another mistake is over using a colour you like. Sometimes people love a colour so much that they put it everywhere. This misses the opportunity to add contrast creating greater interest. Colour can inject a lot of personality into a home.

As an example, when selecting interior colours we encourage families to let their children select their own bedroom colours. Colours look very different in alternative settings and surroundings. It's a big mistake not using test pots to see how a colour looks in your own surroundings.

3. Environment has a big influence

Seeing colour on someone else's house and thinking that they will work on yours can have a disappointing outcome. In saying that, if you see house colours you like, knock on the door and ask the home owner if they would be happy to tell you what their colours are, but make sure that you test them on your own home.

Resene have other tools in their Resene Colourshops to help colour selection. The Resene Colour View allows you to apply your colour choices to house 'cut-outs' to see how the colour combinations work on a similar type of house. They have small model houses painted in different colour schemes to give you ideas of alternative looks and to stimulate your creativity.

If you are considering changing the colour palette of your home, take the advice above of these colour professionals. And remember, the beauty with painting and changing the colour of your walls, is you can always repaint it in a different colour if the end result is not what you want.

That said, by following these useful tips your painting experience should be a cinch. Just give it a go and have fun.

Featured Designers

Anna Welsh Design

Anna Welsh, Auckland