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Decorate your home with flying colours

Last Updated on : 14th June 2018

As an ex-songwriter (who still dabbles on rainy Sunday afternoons) I sometimes liken choosing colours to writing a song. When trying to come up with song ideas, the harder you try or the more worried you get about it,the less likely any good ideas will come. It’s only when you relax, focus on what you like, what’s important to you that a good idea pops into your head; then you’re up and running.

It’s very much the same with choosing colours. Some people get terribly worried about what colours to paint their home, overwhelmed by the magnitude of choice and the fear of getting it wrong. Whenever I do colour consultations with our clients (a complimentary service we provide as part of our decorating service) I always encourage them to look for a prompt – a starting point. Once you have this, you can build around it and the colour scheme for the house should start to flow naturally.

When writing a song, that sparkcan be a certain chord sequence, a phrase or a piece of melody. In the house it’s itemslike pieces of furniture, a type of fabric, a tile or even a certain piece of art that offers a dominant or feature colour.

Recently, we had a couple visit our showroom on Allfarthing Lane worried they hadn’t yet chosen the colour for a kitchen extension. Chatting it through with them, it became apparent that the builders hadn’t yet started and nothing (flooring, furniture etc.) had been chosen. My advice to them was simple: forget about paint colours for now. Build the space, work out what’s going to go in there and then start to piece things together. Their relief was almost tangible! They were then able to enjoy exploring a few colour schemes with us, once the pressure was off!

Decorators will only need to know your colour choices a few days before they start work, so there is no rush to pick colours on a building project. The only exception to this would be for pricing purposes ifyou chose a particularly deep colour that may require additional coats. However, a way round this is to simply tell your decorator to factor in an either/or scenario to their estimate.

Every house,and every room within a house, has its own character or soul. This is dictated by many things such as shape, natural light, artificial light, architecture, furniture and fabrics. Therefore,to try and decide on paint colours when the space hasn’t yet been built and you don’t know what is going to go in it, it is an incredibly difficult task so don’t put yourself through it! Relax, think about what you like, what’s important to you, look for your spark and you will find the answers come to you.

Avoid listening to the opinions of others regarding colours that they might have used. Remember each house has its own soul, so just because “Badger’s Nose”might look incrediblein a friend’s kitchen, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will work in yours!

Once you have narrowed down your choices from the thousands of options available, it’s time to try your shortlist of colours out in the space and see what works best.

When trying out your colour samples there are three very important things to remember: juxtaposition, time and place.

– Don’t underestimate the impact juxtaposition has on how we see colour’s. I’ve touched on this already with the fabrics etc. but it’s important to remember when choosing, what colour to do your woodwork and ceilings. A wall colour can look very different when put next to an off-white rather than a pure white so do try things next to each other and see the effect they have on each other.

– The time of day that you look at a colour can make a big difference as the lighting in a room changes drastically during the day and evening. If it’s winter and you are working all day, it’s very likely that you won’t see a room in daylight during the week. You need to see your colour in morning light, midday light, evening light and under artificial light (i.e. night time!) to fully understand how it works in a room, so re-visit it at different times of the day before making a final decision.

– If you look closely at the walls in any room you will see that they appear as umpteen different colours depending on sunlight, shades and positioning of artificial lighting. So don’t just do your sample in one place, try the colour out in several places in the room as it may look very different from one wall to the next.

When we are asked as a decorating company to do remedial work (i.e. fill cracks in walls, or repair stain damage) but the client doesn’t want to decorate the whole room, I always recommend doing an entire wall corner to corner. Even if the client can’t remember the original colour used we can usually come up with a close enough match that any discrepancy will be perceived as shadow and not stand out as a different colour.

If you don’t want to cover your walls with patches of colour a great way to try your samples in several areas is simply to paint them onto a piece of paper or card and move these around the room. Lining paper is ideal as it allows for a nice big sample to give you a good sense of the colour. Do two coats to ensure you have good coverage and a true representation of how the colour will look.

At Paint the Town Green we have tried to make the colour selection process as simple as possible for our clients. In consultation with clients and designers we narrowed down our range of eco-colours to 36 (42 including The Stones, a further 6 colours we developed in collaboration with Nicky Haslam last year) so clients are not overwhelmed by choice.We are proud that 90% of our chart gets regularly picked as a result.

We offer a free colour consultation to all our customers and really enjoy helping them make the choices that are right for them.

As a professional decorating company with our own range of environmentallyfriendly paint we offer a one stop solution to all your decorating needs. Please don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss any decorating projects with us. We’re here to help.

Phil Robinson,
Founder of Paint the Town Green.


Paint the Town Green is a bespoke decorating company with its own range of high calibre eco-friendly paints which have the lowest possible levels of VOCs, making them a better choice for you and the environment. All water based, they are odourless, quick drying and come in three finishes: matt, wipeable or eggshell.

For more information about our paints, for a free colour consultancy or for a decorating quote, please visit our showroom at 39a&b Allfarthing Lane or call us on 020 8871 0531. www.paintthetowngreen.biz

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