Colours are personal. Some you like. Some you hate. And some … you’re just not quite sure about.
I’ve found nearly all of my clients in the last camp. Just not sure.
So here’s some simple ideas to make the whole process of colour selection a bit easier.
1. If you’re in a hurry just do this.
Paint your walls with Dulux ‘Antique White USA’. (Also paint trim Semi Gloss White and ceiling, Flat white.)
I’m not trying to be funny. This combo works for almost any décor (or lack of).
Antique White USA is a super-colour. It works in old and new homes, dark or light. The reason I think is that it’s a pretty near perfect mix of tint colours.
It is mostly white then a bit of ochre to make it creamy. Then a tiny bit of red to make it warm. Then an even tinier bit of black to calm it all down and stop it from going ‘buttery’. The end result is a neutral that is very … neutral. It’s not as severe as plain white but not as intense as many creams and beiges.
Also It hides dirt so is good for rentals or kids.
Antique White USA is very popular and is even premixed at the paint store.
But, if you want something a little less common …
2. Steal. Or rather be inspired by other people. One client liked a bathroom in the Dulux catalogue and had the whole thing copied: lights, enamelware, tiles and paint. Worked a treat, because a clever designer had already designed it for Dulux.
Another way to steal is find inspiration in magazines and the interweb. Rip our magazine pages you like or save images on the computer. If you go to paint manufacturers/retailers sites like these ones you can get heaps of ideas AND he exact name of the colour you like.
3. Go grey! Grey is the very popular NOW colour for walls. Everything from ‘almost black’ to ‘hardly grey at all’. The key with getting a good grey is to make sure it is a bit warm rather than too cool. Too cool a grey often looks light blue when its up. A warmer toned grey (sometimes called Greige. Haha) usually sits better with your furnishings. Some folks like to go very dark which I like . But most are happy with quite a light grey, which is still noticeably ‘not white’. There will be some examples in the links above.
4a. DIY colour selection. Grab some colour chips from the paint store and take home. Hold each one against the BIGGEST coloured thing in each room. In the lounge it’s usually the couches. In the bedrooms it’s your favourite doona cover.
Now each of these large items will have an –ish to them. By that I mean your neutral sand coloured couch may be a bit green-ish. Or your grey bedspread may be blue-ish. The trick is to find a wall colour that is similarly green-ish or blue-ish. I don’t mean the walls should be the same colour but should be in the same family. Yuck combinations arise when the –ish is ignored.
4b. DIY colour selection. Start with a favourite Persian rug or big painting or whatever else will be in the room. Take one of the colours in the rug/painting/whatever and duplicate that colour for your walls. Usually it’s a neutral colour but it doesn’t have to be.
5. Go Pro. Hire a professional colourist. They start at about $400 for an hour consultation and follow up boards to try around the house. Well worth it if you want something a bit different from the ideas above, or different to what you would do on your own. Also colour professionals will be able to work with your existing furnishings, natural light, personality, and architecture.
I've been drawing and painting since I was a kid. I've studied art and design and have worked in visual areas my whole life. Now I'm a house painter!