50 SHADES OF...

CHOOSING THE RIGHT PAINT COLOUR

Grey, blue, white, pink, red...you've bought your first house and the prospect of being able to paint the walls any colour of your choice is unbelievably exciting. Trust me, after five years of renting some beautiful properties coated, and I mean coated, in the ever so popular shade of magnolia having a blank canvas to adorn was something I was very much looking forward too.

I knew I wanted bright, light, white walls with the injection of blush pink, cool greys and deep blues, easy right? Wrong! I wasn't so naive that I thought there was one shade per colour but the abundance of options is enough to make you question everything. Did we want Swedish White...Ash White...Rocksalt...Alpine...the list of whites on offer was endless, each with a different undertone, did we want a cool white, warm, ashy, cream. Spoiler...we chose Swedish White that actually didn't turn out quite right.

After adorning our walls with five or six shades of white we chose Swedish White, a bright white with blue/grey undertones, and quickly realised that it looked completely different in different rooms. Towards the front of the house (which happens to be north facing) it looks like a light duck egg blue, towards the back (south facing) it is a gorgeous soft white with a hint of grey. Notice the adjective? Swedish White is exactly what we wanted in the back end of our home and not so much in the front. This led me to do many searches on choosing the right paint colours so that we didn't make the same mistake with the rest of our colour choices. I thought I would share what I learnt in the hopes that I will help at least one person out there!


The advice that anyone and everyone will give you when painting a room is; "try a couple of different colours on different walls in the room and take note of how it appears at different times of the day as the lighting changes." This advice is golden and I of course followed is but sometimes there are THAT many options and at £4 a pot it's difficult to even narrow the shades down to a couple and if, like you me you do this, get them all home and find that none of them work, it becomes very expensive!

It all comes down to lighting (duh!) and the direction that your house faces drastically alters the lighting that you have in your house which in turn alters how paint colours appear in different rooms. The best bit of advice I can give you, is, to get your hands on a compass (app) and find out which direction your house is facing. Once I had done this choosing paint colours got a whole lot easier. Below are some tips that I gained from Farrow & Ball, Dulux and the odd ever so helpful store employee.

NORTH FACING

A North facing house (which happens to be the direction that my house is facing) is the hardest to decorate as the lighting can be quite dark and cool. Hence why colours with a blue undertone appear bluer than the actual colour you have bought. If you want to use lighter colours stay away from any with a green or grey undertone. Stick to colours with a yellow base and cream neutrals to bounce a lot of light around.

Alternatively embrace the natural dark of the room and choose a strong dark grey or blue to create a striking effect.

EAST FACING

The lighting in east facing rooms can tend to be a little blue, work with this and choose green or blue colours, light or dark, either will work wonders.

SOUTH FACING

If your house is south facing, breathe a big sigh of relief, it will be an absolute joy to decorate as the quality of light means that any colour will work. Cool, warm whichever route you want to take it will look good and appear just as you expect.

WEST FACING

When it comes to west facing rooms it is helpful to think about how you will use the room as they tend to have cooler light in the mornings working up to a warmer more dramatic lighting in the evenings. Farrow & Ball suggest using whites as they are natural light reflectors, will work with any colour furnishing and will naturally enhance both the natural and artificial lighting in a west facing room.

Whilst I won't be changing my chosen Swedish White anytime soon, I have taken all of the above into consideration for the rooms that still need painting and when I come round to redecorating I will be prepared! It's our first time renovating and decorating a house, from top to bottom I might add, we are bound to make a few mistakes along the way, at least I can share these mistakes and hopefully help you from making them too!

2 comments

  1. As you mentioned, it is really hard to pick a colour as one colour would look different on every room. South facing ones are the easiest and any colour looks good in these places. Swedish white sounds is a good colour, something I'd consider :)

    Ela BellaWorld

    ReplyDelete
  2. Swedish white sounds gorgeous! xx
    www.britishmermaid.com

    ReplyDelete

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