Wall colour selection – undertones are key
Colour choices for interiors are influenced by: cultural and psychological factors (e.g. age, memories evoked by colours), furnishings and decorative objects, room function, size and location within home. Undeniably trends play a role – we find appealing now a colour that we never liked before. There are thousands of colours (let’s limit them to a few hundred to simplify things) and it is good to know some of the rules before breaking them.
1. Let’s assume wood floors and tiles are in place and you have already made up your mind about furnishings and their location in the house. Now is the time to pick wall colours.
2. Use your favourite furnishings and objects such as artwork, rugs or bedding as an inspiration for the colour palette. Pick one colour that will be a starting point for the scheme (e.g. one colour from artwork). Think about how you want the room to feel. Soothing or energizing? Modern or traditional? Glamorous or understated?
3. Looking at tiny swatches will never give you a good idea about how the colour will look like on the wall. Get either larger sample sheets or paint 4’x4’ test areas on the walls. Observe the colours in different light – take your time. Just remember not to crowd the wall with too many shades next to each other since their perception will be biased. Always look at paint samples in vertical position, unless you are selecting a floor paint.
4. You will achieve continuity between the rooms if you choose colours of similar value (how dark or light they are) and with a common undertone. To see undertones clearly, put together similar colours with varying undertones next to each other.
5. If you choose toned down (grayed down) colours instead of clean hues, the effect will be more elegant and calming.
6. Study carefully the natural light – rooms with windows due north will benefit from warmer colours on the walls. South-facing rooms can take either warm or cool colours but going for very bright yellow walls would be probably overwhelming if you have large windows.
7. Consider the type of lighting. Incandescent will make colours appear yellower, halogen is quite neutral, some fluorescents produce bluish cast.
8. Remember that paint finish changes the perception of colour. Best way to go: celings – flat, walls – matte or eggshell/satin (easier to clean), trim – semi-gloss. On walls with imperfections matte finish looks best but the walls will scuff more easily.
9. Neutrals (e.g. gray, beige, sage, off-white) or colours with intense chroma? All colours are right depending where and how they are applied. There is no right or wrong answer. Think of the colour not in empty room but try to visualize it furnished, with a rug on the floor and artwork on the walls. The difference is tremendous.
10. Keep in mind that even the best photographs on Houzz or Pinterest distort colours of the interior. The same applies to colour samples on the computer screen. Samples from your paint retailer you will look different from the image you liked. Remember to compare several samples with different undertones before making a final decision.