Now the days are longer and brighter, the inside of the house is starting to look a bit shabby. Chipped paintwork, odd marks and faded patches on walls are all becoming more noticeable, so now’s the time to think about revamping your rooms ready for the coming year. With the weather warming up, it’s also more practical to leave doors and windows open while new paint work is drying. If you’re not sure what colour you’re going to go for to renovate your living space, try our tips for inspiration.
Fresh Design decor tips
- Which way does your room face, i.e. north, south, east or west? North-facing rooms will generally make colours look a little darker as the light is flatter, so you might need to go for a shade or two lighter of your chosen colour. Good choices for north-facing rooms are colours with red, yellow or orange base tones, while blue and green will create a soothing, calming effect in south-facing rooms.
- If you choose colours based on a display in a large shop, be prepared for them to look different when you get them home and see them in a smaller, domestic setting.
- If you’re going for a very dark or dramatic colour, this might be best confined to one feature wall. Try painting one wall first to see if you like the effect. If you use two strong colours in the same room, they may interact in unforeseen ways so try it out first before you commit.
- Colors look different when the light changes, so get a roll of cheap lining paper (available from DIY shops), and paint it with two coats of your chosen colour. Move this around the room, fixing it to the walls with tape or Blutack, and see how it looks at different times of day and in different places. If necessary, fix white lining paper over the section of wall first so that you can see the new colour in isolation.
- Wet paint is a different colour to dry paint, so allow plenty to time for the colour to change before making a decision. Always apply at least two coats, too.
- Don’t forget that most big shops now offer a bespoke paint mixing service, so there’s nothing stopping using a favourite dress, a vintage vase, your grandmother’s brooch or even your cat’s coat for inspiration. Having your own paint colour mixed means that you must be sure to buy sufficient paint in advance, though, as subsequent batches may be a subtly different colour. Don’t forget to allow enough for future touch ups, too.
- Remember existing elements. If you have furniture, rugs or curtains you want to keep, this will restrict your choice of colour a bit. Take photographs of your existing items and take these with you when you go to choose the paint colour.
- Don’t forget to take existing rooms into account, and consider whether you want a colour scheme that’s confined to one room or flows throughout the house.
This dining room, in Farrow & Ball blue gray No. 91 (estate eggshell), from £38, has been given a contemporary edge with shocking pink upholstered chairs.
Strong colours, such as Eaton Square No 232 from Mylands Paint, from £20, are great for picking out features but may be too dark and dramatic for walls.
For a feature wall, don’t be afraid to let your imagination run wild. This striking geometric pattern was created with three colours from the Colours range at B&Q – Pumpkin, Mai Tai and Ladybug. Prices start at £19.84.
By Sara Walker