Well, we're already starting to feel that back to school nip in the air (actually considerably worse than that where I am with torrential rain, like a typical British August). Following day after day, evening after evening, week after week and even month after month spent living outdoors (who even knew that was possible on this island!), we’re starting to head back indoors and hunker down for autumn and winter (sorry!) Before we start deciding the changes we’d like to make in preparation for our hibernation, I’d like to share a few paint related insider tips for anyone about to unleash a paintbrush on their home.
1. CALM DOWN
In recent years it’s become increasingly popular to paint walls and woodwork one colour. Whilst this creates a clean contemporary look, it’s actually a clever ol’ trick stolen from the Georgians – is anything ever truly original these days?!
But, this techique doesn’t just appeal to a modern aesthetic, there are practical benefits to be had too. Painting skirtings, window surrounds, dado and picture rails the same colour as the walls results in less for the eye and brain to process, so a space feels less busy, and a calm serene atmosphere is created. This is ideal for bedrooms and bathrooms; rooms intended for rest and relaxtion and can be seen in this peaceful bathroom scheme. An added benefit of using a single colour throughout a room, and therefore removing any visual breaks, is that it creates the impression the room is larger.
2. COME INTO THE LIGHT
We tend to pass through hallways and landings, moving from room to room, rather than spending any real length of time in this part of the house. This makes the hall and landing the perfect spot for a darker, braver paint colour than you might otherwise go for. The contrast with the dark drama of the hallway will enliven paler neutrals in the main living areas. In fact, each room you pass into from the hallway will have the illusion of feeling even bigger and brighter than it actually is, by comparison with the darker space. Keeping the floor and ceiling a pale shade will make the dark walls easier to live with if you're nervous about the space feeling too dark or oppressive.
This is also a great way of introducing something punchier than your usual colour and style choices whilst still maintaining a good sense of flow in your home, as the hall and landing act as a spine connecting all the areas of the house.
3. KEEP IT HIDDEN
If your home is blessed with beautiful doors, architraves and radiators, it makes sense to paint these features in a colour to contrast with the walls and draw attention to their beauty. However, if the doors and radiators in your home have sadly been touched by the ugly stick, simply paint them the same colour as the walls so they fade into the whole, rather than standing out.
Alternatively, you can disguise ugly features and create something structural by creating panelled walls, applying beading to doors, or introducing radiator covers. Be sure to paint any wall and radiator behind the cover in a dark charcoal grey so that the very aspect you’re trying to hide effectively ‘disappears’ behind the screen and the illusion of depth is created.
4. ALL WHITE?
White is white, right? Wrong. When it comes to the world of paint there’s such a vast array of whites available but often we turn to pure brilliant white for ceilings and woodwork. There’s nothing wrong with this but, whilst pure brilliant white has blue undertones that jar with many other colour choices, there are variations of white with undertones that will complement and enhance the colours you’ve selected. The difference between shades of white can be too subtle to detect on a paint chart, but speaking with a paint specialist will help you determine the undertones in your chosen wall colours and the best white to opt for.
To simplify things, suppliers like Farrow and Ball actively indicate the best whites to use alongside their paint colours and Little Greene and Paint and Paper Library offer variations of some of their pale neutral shades that work together; three of the four variations of Little Greene's French Grey shade can be seen alongside eachother in the below image.
Using the same shade of off white for ceilings and woodwork throughout your home will create a nice sense of flow and the finished schemes will have a softer, richer feel than would be the case with a pure brilliant white.
5. PEEK A BOO
If your natural tendency is to opt for soft neutrals but there’s a little part of you always tempted to be a bit more adventurous with colour, choose an unexpected accent colour and paint it in hidden spots throughout the house, such as the insides of cupboards and drawers, the back of bookshelves and the edges of doors. This way, you’ll have all the appeal of an easy, calm space but with little bursts of colour that bring energy and make you smile throughout the day.