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Interior designers share thoughts on paint colour schemes

Tuesday 31 March 2015

We asked three interior designers and a Resene colour consultant to tell us the three most important aspects that need to be considered when choosing paint colours.

Where walls once used to be just a pretty colour, now they are becoming part of the function of a house, especially in the hub of the home or office where people gather. When you add a new paint colour to a room, everything changes. Colours can make a space look bigger or cosier, warmer or cooler, relaxing or lively. Your colour choices should reflect the mood you are wanting to achieve be that soothing restfulness or upbeat liveliness. Regardless, colours should reinvigorate, rejuvenate and inspire you.
The latest colour trends for this year are the timeless perennial favourites of the strong and powerful deep blue reds, the soothing restfulness of duck egg blue and greyed blues, the striking tone of black and near black, the yellow toned browns to complement wood, and the uplifting bold pops of yellow and orange. A new palette of colours also coming through are the dusty and smoky pastels, a sophisticated alternative to the cleaner pastels, which provide a more centred feel with a sense of being gently weathered and softened over the passage of time.

Where walls once used to be just a pretty colour, now they are becoming part of the function of a house, especially in the hub of the home or office where people gather. When you add a new paint colour to a room, everything changes.

Colours can make a space look bigger or cosier, warmer or cooler, relaxing or lively. Your colour choices should reflect the mood you are wanting to achieve, be that soothing restfulness or upbeat liveliness. Regardless, colours should reinvigorate, rejuvenate and inspire you.

The latest colour trends for this year are the timeless perennial favourites of the strong and powerful deep blue reds, the soothing restfulness of duck egg blue and greyed blues, the striking tone of black and near black, the yellow toned browns to complement wood and the uplifting bold pops of yellow and orange.

A new palette of colours also coming through are the dusty and smoky pastels, a sophisticated alternative to the cleaner pastels, which provide a more centred feel with a sense of being gently weathered and softened over the passage of time.

We asked three interior designers and a Resene colour consultant to tell us the three most important aspects that clients should consider 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 builds and renovations.

1. The surface that is to be treated

For example, a timber substrate should be considered differently than brick or plaster. Timber can be high maintenance in the long run (such as weatherboards on a villa) if the correct LRV (Light Reflective Value) is not considered. If the paint is too dark it absorbs too much light and boards can warp. You could end up re-painting after 4 or 5 years in the harsh New Zealand sun!

2. The architecture of a building

Be respectful and insightful in terms of colour choice. Working with a modern building and a historical one can lead to very different choices in colour.

3. Colour trend

Trend last I think, love to be on top of things with new colours, exciting new treatments. Trend also extends to what colours these days are going where. Dark roofs are in for example, just look at every Ponsonby Villa!

Bespoke Interior Design

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 from upholstering a favourite chair to building your dream home.

1. What are you trying to create?

Think carefully about the use of the room and the ambience you are trying to create. Is it serene and peaceful or a dark cosy, moody winter room for curling up watching a movie? Is it a day room or a room used mainly at night? Is it a summer or winter room, or both?

2. Be brave and go with your instinct

It is only paint and reasonably easy to change, unlike expensive fabrics and furniture.

3. Order Resene 'Drawdowns'

Resene will send you A4 size ' Drawdowns' (colour samples that can be ordered online and posted to you for a small fee), which are a great starting point in choosing a colour. Remember even whites come in all sorts of different shades.

Hang the Drawdowns around the room with blu-tack at different times of the day as colours change a lot as the sun moves around a room, and then look completely different at night-time with lamp light, etc. Alternatively buy some test pots.

Bridget Foley Design

Peta Tearle - Colour and Design Consultant

Peta Tearle

This year Peta celebrates 25 years of colour design for buildings. Each colour selection she has worked on, whether it's a simple front door for an existing scheme, through 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.

1. Make the space feel right for you

The colours need to be selected according to the mood you wish to create. This will make the space feel right for you as well as creating the right atmosphere. How you intend to use/live in your space must also be given top priority.

2. Use a test pot to compare with the paint chart

Remember that pale colours seen on a small swatch will appear considerably lighter painted on a large area. You can check this by painting an A1 sheet with a test pot and comparing how that looks against its paint chart equivalent.

3. Check which colours are available

Always check the colours available in materials which will have restricted choices (e.g. ColorSteel, aluminium joinery) before choosing paint colours. We can procure just about any colour in paint (and if necessary I will make a special colour for a client).

Colours of Love

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.

1. Discover your style

The start point for Resene is to help customers discover their style. We start by helping them build their brief using key descriptive words and phrases like beachy/coastal; rustic or luxury.

2. Narrow your options with Resene Colour Guides

Resene have several tools to help the whole process of selecting colours. Their Habitat Plus guides can greatly assist. Start with the 'Discover your style' guide. There are other guides - ' 1 Look 4 Ways', for exterior colour schemes and ' Colour Connection' that help narrow your options to colours that customers like and see as suiting their home.

3. Don't just opt for the latest trend

At the end of the day, we encourage customers to choose colours that relate, support and enhance their homes rather than just opting for the latest trend.

We notice that customers are getting braver with colour. There is a noticeable change as we move away from the recession. They want more colour and life rather than some of the duller and safer colours. They are opting for more warmth of colour - more cosiness for their homes.

Nikki Morris - Habitat Plus - Resene

So there you have it - some excellent advice for you to ponder. The beauty with painting your walls is that if you don't like the end result, you can always repaint it in a different colour. That said, by following these useful tips your painting experience should be a cinch. Just give it a go and have fun.

Featured Designers

Kaye Coleman Interiors

Kaye Coleman, Auckland