General tips on selecting paint and paint colours
This doesn't mean you can't use gloss paints and dark colours inside... however if you wish to use either you will need to take extra care to ensure wall surfaces are smooth and well prepared to minimise the appearance of surface imperfections. We recommend using Resene Broadwall Surface Prep over new paperfaced plasterboard to provide a smooth surface ready for painting. If you plan to use dark colours, we recommend you use a flat or low sheen paint. If you would like a gloss finish, we recommend using a light colour to minimise the appearance of surface defects.
Special paint effects can be used to hide minor surface defects: however they cannot be expected to disguise major irregularities.
Paint awkward shapes the same colour as the rest of the room. This will help them to blend in.
When planning a colour scheme, consider the adjacent rooms and the environment surrounding your home. If you have already selected other room furnishings, bring samples with you when choosing the paint colour. You may even wish to follow the fabric pattern to balance the colour palette for the room. There should be some relationship between them and the newly decorated room to provide continuity. If an important feature of your home is a sea view or landscape panorama you may like to bring the colours you see outside into your home's colour scheme to provide a natural link between the two. If you want to highlight the view, choose a lighter colour palette. If you want to distance the view make your interior colour scheme more contrasting against the exterior.
When choosing colours keep three things in mind: colours look different in different types of light; next to different colours and depending how much there is of the colour.
Select colours that reflect the mood you are trying to create. For example, if you want to develop a calm atmosphere consider using a green or blue and steer clear of the bold high energy reds. If high energy is what you desire, a palette of reds, oranges and yellows will brighten the room and encourage activity.
Yellow is bright, bold, invigorating and guaranteed to attract attention. Like road signs and highlighters, yellow is difficult to miss. Uplifting in a cold room, yellow can be overpowering in a sunny room. Yellows vary from green yellows through to orange yellows so trial your colour with a testpot first to make sure you have chosen the right hue. If in doubt, most rooms will work with buttery and golden yellows.
Blue is cool, refreshing and soothing, making it the ideal choice to cool a sunny room. A popular colour for bedrooms, due to its ability to relax the mind, blue should generally be avoided in the dining room as it tends to suppress the appetite. Change your perceptions of a room's size and lighting through the use of pale and pastel blues that will 'open up' the space.
Green is soothing, calm and harmonious, ideal in high stress areas such as hospitals, schools and workplaces to calm the atmosphere. We are all comfortable living with green due to its prevalence in the natural environment, making it an easy colour to use anywhere indoors, either in a scheme of its own or to connect other colours. The selection of varied hues will offer a mood from relaxing and calm with a warm light green to freshness and invigoration with a bright lime green. Lighter hues are ideal in living rooms and bathrooms to promote a relaxing environment, while mid greens can give a clean accent in kitchens and dining areas. Green light is focused almost precisely by the eye lens on the retina of the eye making it a very good colour to work in especially for patient concentration on manual work.
Red stimulates activity, increases blood pressure and heart rate making it the highest energy colour. An appetite stimulator, red is a popular choice in dining rooms and restaurant and high-energy areas such as business foyers. It is generally best to keep red out of the bedroom as it can make relaxing more difficult.
Orange is cheerful, friendly, lively and dynamic, but be warned, it's a colour people tend to have a love hate relationship with. Ideal for high activity, social areas such as kitchens and family rooms, it is also a popular choice in bold living room and children's bedrooms schemes. Avoid orange in hot sunny rooms, as the addition of orange may make the room seem unbearably warm.
No matter what colours you like, successful colour schemes have one thing in common - balance. Try to use no more than 2-3 principal colours with touches of other accent colours to lift the scheme. Sometimes it pays to start with a simple scheme of two colours and an accent, then introduce other colours into the room as you gain confidence. If you are a novice decorator you may prefer to keep to one colour type (a monochromatic scheme) or select from related colours (an harmonious scheme) to ensure a balance scheme.
Most people find pastel colours easy to use in a colour scheme. Pastel colours are pure colours with the addition of white, taking a bright yellow to a light yellow and so on. The common element, white, between all these colours means that you can successfully combine any pastels into a colour scheme. The addition of clean white also means that most pastels appear soft and fresh, making them a very popular choice for decorators.
Light and texture will impact on the total colour scheme. If you change a room's colour from bright lime green to navy blue, the light reflectance of the room will decrease, making the room appear darker (as the images below illustrate).
Similarly, matt surfaces absorb the light and will always appear darker and deeper than glossy reflective surfaces. Light colours and glossy finishes are perfect for rooms you wish to appear larger, however you may prefer to use darker colours, heavier textures and matt finishes in areas such as dining rooms to draw the walls in and make the room seem cosier. If you have painted a wall with matt paint and find it is too flat you can paint over the top with a glaze to increase the light reflectance.
A good balance of tones is employed in the best colour schemes. If you think of a newspaper clipping, the most interesting pictures are those that have a good balance of light, mid and deep tones. Aim for a balance across the different tones to ensure your scheme is visually interesting.
Always keep in mind when developing a colour scheme who will be using the space the most. There is no point using bright orange because it is in fashion if the entire family dislikes the colour. Similarly, the best homes are decorated with the owner's personality. Nature lovers may prefer greens and blues to bright reds, while a vibrant owner may prefer bright and bold feature walls that reflect their bubbly personality.
To help you visualise the effect different paint, flooring and furnishing colours will have on your room, download Resene EzyPaint virtual painting software. With Resene EzyPaint, you can virtually paint over 200 room and building pictures or scan in your own room and virtually paint that. With over 2000 colours to choose from, selecting the right colour combination is easy. Resene EzyPaint is available as a free download from this website.
If you like changing your environment, the best idea may be to use a neutral colour scheme and provide accents through replaceable items such as cushions and flowers. This will enable you to change the mood of the room with a simple change of the accent items.
Use a grey paint colour viewfinder (get your copy free from your Resene ColorShop) to isolate colour on the paint chart you are viewing. If you look at all the colours together, colours will affect one another and you won't get a true feeling of each individual colour. Once you have narrowed down your colour choices, use testpots to confirm your colour scheme on the surface you are planning to paint. Apply two coats, leaving a border around it so the colour is not influenced by anything else. When the paint is dry pin your colour to the wall and view it in daylight and artificial light, moving it around different areas of the room and folding it into the corner of the room for a true feel of the finished effect. Remember that paint is your most versatile medium and can be easily changed when you feel the need for a new look.
Once you have decided and applied your colour scheme, make sure you take a note of the colours used for future reference. Resene have developed an interior/exterior colour scheme page so that you can keep this important information in one handy location. Copies of this colour scheme page are available online.
Do use testpots to try out your chosen colour scheme - the cost is minimal compared to the time and money you will waste if you have to repaint a wall you don't like.
And the most important thing to remember is... have fun!
Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online. See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.
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