Choosing paint colours can be tricky, there are so many things to consider. What direction does your room face? What do I do with woodwork and ceilings? Do you want an accent colour? What colours work together? Which ones don’t? Fret not, we're gonna debunk some myths and help make choosing paint colours simpler. The key things to remember: only pick colours that you love and grab some Peel & Stick swatches to try out your new COAT first...
Factors To Consider When Choosing Paint Colours
Right, choosing the right paint colour can be daunting. The first step is to identify what kind of colour you want. Are you looking for a neutral, a green, a blue, a yellow? Most people will want one or two wall colours per room. Unless you're doing some serious colour blocking it's unlikely you're doing a Pocahontas and painting with all the colours of the wind.
Next up; the direction your room faces. On your smartphone they'll be a compass app. The direction of the window will affect the amount of light you get in your room. We'll wait here while you check that out….
The other things that are really important to choosing the right paint colour are the things that are going to be in the room. A family dining table, a sofa you love the colour of, or large artwork will help inform the colour palette of your room. Your paint colour has to work with the things that you love.
Colours can look so different because of light which is why our Peel & Stick swatches are perfect to move all around your room.
Which way does my room face?
Now we know what direction your room faces, it's time to discuss the kind of light you're going to get there and then how to pick colours that will look good in those spaces.
North-facing rooms generally have quite grey, flat natural light. These spaces can feel dark and cold, but with the right colour can feel cocooning and inviting. Avoid cool greys in north facing rooms, if you're going for neutrals go for beiges like Duvet Day or soft taupes like Sunday Soul. Warm pinks like Factor Fifty are perfect for adding warmth. If you're looking for a dramatic cocooning room, warm deep colours like Nomad or Mezcal.
A neutral like Tuesday's Child which @all_about_the_house has used in her bedroom adds the perfect amount of warmth.
East-facing rooms get lots of light in the morning and less in the afternoon. The light in these spaces can be a little green at times. Picking neutrals that have green undertones are perfect for these spaces. Try Cargo or Tuesday's Child for just a touch of warmth. If you're looking for something a bit more refreshing, like for a home office, try pairing Kind Regards and Park Life. Lastly, if you're looking for some subtle drama in an East facing room, try The Trail with The Coal Drop woodwork.
South-facing rooms have warm yellow light for most of the day, and this is great because you can pick fairly saturated colours for these rooms. Any colour that is really pale will wash out quite easily, so if you're not looking for an off-white pick something that feels like a colour. Choose breezier colours like Home Grown, if you're looking for an airy but organic palette. For neutrals, anything goes for these spaces, but you can pick cooler grey tones like Margot or On Mute, knowing that you'll naturally get some warmth from the sun in that room anyway.
West-facing rooms will feel cooler in the morning, and then have the sun in afternoon and evening. For bedrooms that face this way, picking something warm is important so that you don't wake up feeling cold. Well Grounded or Good Intentions are good options for this, both having an earthy feel. For practical spaces like living rooms or kitchens, go for deeper neutrals with accent colours on a bookcase or cabinets. This will add some character to make the most of the light. Ambrose or Debate Club would be great for this, combined with David Rose on woodwork.
Do I want to make the room brighter?
@matt_t_porter used Debate Club in his bedroom space, a dark neutral that helps create that cocooning feel.
Often you’ll want to choose colours that make your room feel bright and airy. Especially for practical spaces, like kitchens, playrooms or nurseries. But there are some spaces that lend themselves to being dark and dramatic. Cinema rooms, snugs and bedrooms in dark colours can be inviting and cocooning.
This is an instinctive question really, and you probably know the answer to how dark or light you want your room to feel. A pointer though for colour testing…if your walls are already white or very pale, any colour you look at will look dark in comparison. Choose what you love in that space and when that contrast is gone your room won’t feel as dark as you imagined.
At what time of day am I in this room the most?
Bedrooms and lounges are generally used in the evening. Artificial lighting is a vital element in how your colour is going to look after dark. Halogen bulbs cast yellower light, so they make most colours look great but will also make them look warmer. LED lights can be cool so consider what temperature your lighting will be while you’re picking colours.
Kitchens are versatile spaces that are used throughout the day and evening and are usually the heart of a home. Key to the kitchen is picking colours that are inviting but also have some character. Avoid stark whites where possible as this can feel a bit clinical.
What about small and dark rooms?
Small, dark rooms are actually easier to decorate than people think, but here’s a rule that’s easy to follow and reduces cost and time for painting these rooms. Paint it all the same colour. Ceiling, walls, woodwork… all of it.
Doing this will reduce visual contrasts and make the space feel more relaxed. You can make a space feel airy doing this, but it’s still a dark room so every colour will take on a slight greyness. Maximise impact of these small spaces by using deep tones like Adulting. This will help draw attention to the furniture, objects and art in the room, rather than giving you a constant reminder of how boxy the space is.
Paint Colours Room By Room
General rules covered let’s get to go a room by room breakdown of how choosing paint colour for house interior schemes can impact how you use these spaces.
Choose spaces that you spend the most time in first: they’re the most important. Then spare rooms and tackle the hallway last. The hallway should be the last space to decorate, so you can move furniture in and fix all the scrapes and marks once that process is finished.
Grab a your Good Intentions swatch and get some inspo from @imma_galiana's living room.
Neutral schemes for living rooms should be inviting. Try Good Intentions on the walls with the darker, Sunday Soul on woodwork for a little depth and interest. These taupes will make your living room feel cozy without looking too dark. For something a little more beige try the same aesthetic with Safe Play and its deeper partner, Duvet Day.
Pampas, a warm but fresh white and adds warmth to a kitchen space.
Choosing paint colours for kitchen walls is important for a couple reasons. Firstly the centre of the home and most of us spend most of our home time in the kitchen area. Picking colours that don’t feel sterile are important. Secondly, your paintwork has to be practical. Use our Soft Sheen finish on walls for a hardy, wipeable surface.
Check out our Soft Sheen Kitchen Paint collection, perfect for areas with high humidity and messy areas.
Pure white is the default choice for many kitchen decorators, this often looks really stark and uninviting. Instead try an off-white like the slightly taupey Mindful, Pampas (a warm but fresh white) or Pablo (a putty colour with a slightly lilac tinge). These will add warmth and a touch of personality.
Before choosing wall colours, pick out your cabinet colours and worktops. For these pick things that you love. If it’s ‘just fine’ it’s not the one. You’ll spend a huge amount of time there so choosing paint colours for kitchen cabinets that reflect your taste is vital.
It's all in the name right? Duvet Day is the perfect warm beige for a calming bedroom. @heyitsromeca home pairs it beautiful with rich woods and a velvet headboard.
The key for how to choose paint colours for bedroom walls is all about calm and relaxation. The bedroom should be a sanctuary so think warm beiges like Moving Day or Duvet Day or soft plastery tones like Factor Fifty.
Kids bedrooms are usually both play and sleep spaces. Paint walls in something practical and fairly neutral and add interest on walls. And Breathe and Tuesday’s Child are great neutrals when combined with Pan woodwork and stencilled greenery for a jungle themed child’s bedroom.
Using plaster pinks like Felt Cute is a great alternative to a pure white, creating more warmth in the space.
A similar situation as the kitchen really, everyone goes for white and it looks cold and clinical. Plaster toned colours like Felt Cute and Factor Fifty perfectly compliment all skin tones and will help keep these spaces warm and inviting.
If you’re a bath person, go for really dramatic colours on bathroom ceilings and walls, like 2am. This will look spectacular in candlelight and give the impression of bathing under the stars.
Last piece of advice for bathrooms, pick tiles before paint colours, it’s easier to match undertones of the tiles that way. Test samples with our Peel & Stick swatches.
Using Green in already green space works really well, check out @bloomandfolk's shed in Nomad.
How to choose paint colours for house exteriors is all about what the house is made of and the surroundings. If you’ve got a yellow brick, doing windows and doors in a deeper griege like Debate Club can look traditional but really beautiful.
If you’re looking for whites for windows and have a red brick property, try Voltaire or Mindful. Because they have warm undertones they’ll create a relaxed contrast. The Record Store will do the same thing if you’re looking for a black.
Lastly, pick a front door colour that creates a colour pop but works with the interior and exterior colour schemes, connecting both.
Head to our Exterior Paint Collection to order your swatches here.