Interior designers share thoughts on paint colour schemes
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
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
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
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!
Bridget Foley - Bridget Foley Design
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
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'
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.
Peta Tearle - Colour and Design Consultant
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
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
Nikki Morris - Resene Colour Consultant
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
2. Narrow your options with Resene Colour
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
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.
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.