3 considerations before picking the perfect paint colour

A fresh lick of paint is all it could take to completely transform the light and aesthetics in your home, and often the least expensive and intrusive investment for the biggest return for homeowners. If you’re a tenant, you may also be allowed to paint your property but you must contact your property manager or landlord before you pick up a paint brush.

With some careful consideration as to which paint colours will have the desired effect and a little DIY treatment, you’ll soon create an inviting space to enjoy or one that will attract potential buyers or tenants in no time.

It’s not, however, as simple as trying to copy a concept from a lifestyle magazine or assuming white is bright and therefore right. Before choosing your paint colour and applying the first brush stroke, there are three things to consider…


Purpose of the room

It’s easy to get carried away with painting and decorating without actually thinking about what we use the space for and at what time of the day. Aside from opting for wipeable, mould-resistant and durable paint products for kitchens, bathrooms and poorly ventilated rooms, we never give much consideration to more than the colours we like.

However, different colours can impact your mood in distinct ways and also react differently to light. So, if all you do is sleep in your bedroom, you want to choose a paint colour that you’re happy with from dusk until dawn. Does it bounce beautifully off your bedside lamp while making you feel calm and content?

In a hallway with little natural light, you want visitors to feel welcomed so you may assume dark colours won’t work, but some designers disagree. Also remember that you don’t usually spend much time in your hallway – unlike your home office. When thinking about colours for your workspace, it would be wise to select a colour that suits your profession and enhances your productivity. Do you need to feel energised and creative (yellow) or focused and free of distraction (mid-brown and soft pink)? 


Size of the room

Size certainly matters when it comes to paint colours. If you have a large cavernous living room with high ceilings which feels cold and impersonal, you could opt for a darker colour on the ceiling to draw the room down. Deep and warm colours like rust, teal and golden brown are particularly intimate.

Accent walls also work well to break up open plan living spaces and depending on the type of room or feeling you want to create, you could choose contrasting colours or similar tones.

The opposite is true when you want to make small spaces appear bigger and less claustrophobic. Lighter ceilings and cooler colours like light greys and blues or pastel pinks work really well. And, if you opt for white reflective glossy or satin paint on edgings such as skirting boards, you don’t have to compromise as much on your wall colour.

Stripes and vertical lines are a good choice too as they can make rooms appear taller and longer.


Natural and artificial light sources

You’ll likely be aware of the benefits of natural light in a room but have you ever thought about whether it faces north, east, south or west?

The aspect of a room can have a considerable impact on how we perceive colour and this changes throughout the day. East-facing rooms are warmer in the morning and bluer in the afternoon for example, making tones of yellow, orange and red perfect. In south-facing rooms, dark colours will look brighter and lighter colours will literally reflect the sunlight back into the room.

Artificial lighting can also alter the colour of the walls, with the yellow-amber of an incandescent bulb muting blues and greens, while white halogens resemble natural light. Bold coloured furniture can also reflect off lighter walls, so avoid that ocean blue rug if you don’t want a blue tinge in your white walls!

Finally, remember your motivation for opening a tin and breaking out the roller. If you’re putting your house up for sale or rent, select neutral shades to avoid alienating the less adventurous but don’t be afraid to inject a little creativity if this is your ‘right now’ or forever home.