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Colour selection tips

Top tips when deciding on your colours…

The colour selection process can also be a daunting part of any project as there are so many colour choices out their with millions of hues, shades and tones and not to mention what colours pair well together.  My partner and I faced this challenge when designing and building our dream home, so many decisions… interiors, exterior, bench tops, cabinetry, flooring the list goes on!

Top tips

  1. Understand the colour terminology Hues, tones, tints, shades…so you can understand the depth of colours available, what will compliment and narrow down your colour palate. Check out my easy explanation / terminology below.
  2. If you want a space to appear bigger use lighter colours.  Using similar tones for walls and floor can enhance a room to feel much bigger than reality! Dark colours can make a room feel more intimate and cosy great for a media room or formal lounge and fireplace. For the latest colour trends click here.
  3. Four wall or Feature wall bold colours are great for lounge, master bedroom, dining areas. For the latest colour trends click here.
  4. Think about your use of warm vs cool colours –  a hint of red, orange or yellow in your chosen colour can make a room feel warmer which is great for colder rooms on the southern side of a house.  Blue hues can make a suntrap area appear cooler too. For the latest colour trends click here.
  5. White accents will help soften colours for example soft dove grey exterior with white fascia and joinery for a more subtle look.  Black will do the opposite so its perfect for the industrial bolder looks with black accent tapware, lighting, tiling etc.
  6. Using high gloss can reflect light appearing brighter, this is useful in terms of kitchen stoneware and bathroom tiling. Whilst gloss can show up more marks it may make a bathroom appear more airy and brighter than duller matte surfaces.
  7. Don’t overdo your pattern or solid accent colours.   Two or 3 colours are a good balance for a room think 60%/30%/10% rule. This includes a more dominant colour, supporting colour ( neutrals to anchor such as ceilings, door frames) and your accent colour for feature and effect. You can also use neutrals for your main colours for a softer look and add your accent colours from there. For the latest colour trends click here.
  8. For a Character bungalow / decorative look consider using a supporting / secondary colour from the floor up to a dado rail or from celings down to picture rails. ( A Dado rail is also known as a chair rail, it’s a type of moulding fixed horizontally to the wall around the perimeter of a room. A picture rail is the same but runs around horizontally at window frame or door frame height. )
  9. For exteriors colours bear in mind you naturally have alot of light so your chosen colour on mass will look alot lighter when painted  – often two or three shades lighter from the swatch to the eye! Check out this great link to Resene exterior colour selections for different coloured effects when simple features like doors or fascias are altered.
  10. Colour has an effect on your well-being so according to Feng Shui bedroom tips,  choose colours for kids bedrooms and your own space that energise and uplift – not all colours do!  Orange is said to promote happiness.  For kids rooms soften down these colours choosing a tint often bright solid colours can be overpowering on you.

Colour terminology explained in brief!

There are so many terms referring to colour it’s important to understand a few key ones and what they mean.

  • Simply a Hue is just any pure colour on the colour wheel including primary, secondary and tertiary colours but excluding black and white.  Purchasing a colour wheel for projects can be very handy.
  • Tints, tones and shades are just variations on a colour Hue on the wheel with black or white added.  A good way to look at this would be the depth of colour whether it was more brighter or muted.
  • Tints refer to any hue on the colour wheel lightened with white to lessen the intensity.
  • Tones refer to black or white being added, if you think of the colour having grey added to it and the effect it creates. This process can change a colour to be more complex and saturated or subtle.  We tend not to use straight primary colours in the home but tones of these can create wonderful accent or base colours to rooms.
  • Shades refer to when only black is added so essentially making a primary, secondary or tertiary colour richer or darker.