How To Choose The Right Colour For Your Room

Do you always choose the same colours? Do you experiment but somehow feel its always not quite right? Or do you choose a shade only to be disappointed with the result?

Colour is such a personal thing. We all see colour differently, did you know women see colour more accurately then men - we have more colour receptors our eyes-its a fact! Even as you get older the way you see colour changes and you may start to see colours with a yellow tint.


Light affects colour - not just daylight, or the varying warm hues of electric bulbs; but which direction the windows in a room face. East facing with morning sun, gives a bright clean look to colours, the best light for colours to sing. West rooms with light in the afternoons can take cooler hues, greys can look beautiful in the warmth of the late afternoon. North facing rooms need warmer tones, though traditionally the best light for artists to paint in, the northern light makes cool tones gloomy and dull, whereas a bright south facing room can be a delight to sit in but hard to choose a colour that feels right. The light here saturates the colours in the room making them more vivid that you would want - if you want it bright red, go for a subtler shade, instead of pillar box red- a good example is eating room red ( farrow and ball).


The Nations favourite colour is blue - but what shade of blue? There are infinite varieties to choose from, it can be cool or warm, relaxing or energising. The same goes for every colour. Have some fun and take time to notice what colours you go for- look in your wardrobe what colours dominate.

When you go for a walk is it the clear bright colours of that you love or is it the off hues not quite pink nearly mauve, peach but nearly beige. Do you prefer cold colours with their bases in blue - making them clean and bright ‘mint', or do you like warmer colours that feel a little softer 'eu de Nil’. Is it striking deep colours that make your heart sing 'cobalt blue'- or softer gentle hues ‘cornflower’.

An art teacher once told me - if you want to choose complimentary colours nature never gets it wrong. Pick up a pebble from the beach -its rarely one colour, tones of brown, rust, greys and beiges all sit comfortably together. Pick a flower - examine it closely, it’s not just one shade of purple, it will have different colour stamens, its petals may have veins of another tone, its stem and leaves will be different hues. If you lay these colours side by side you will have a colour pallet to work from. Why not take a look at colour pallets on Pinterest for examples.


Now you know the colours that make you smile, consider the function of your room and how you want people to respond within its walls. Is your lounge a place of relaxation and refuge form the days busyness? If so choose muted shades. Or is it the entertaining space, full of fun and chatter? Go vibrant, have fun with it, be brave.

Sample pots are essential, don’t just paint an A4 piece of paper, get some lining paper - use the whole pot then stick it on the wall, how does it look in the morning, the evening - at night with lights on, how does it look at the time of day you re most likely to use that room. Bear in mind the rooms direction - if it looks cooler that you wanted find a shade that a bit warmer. You don’t have to have the same colour on all the walls - if you have a dim back wall find a shade that a couple of degrees lighter than the one you wanted. Does the sun bleach out the colour on one wall? Choose a shade that is a few tones deeper.

Love a bold colour but don’t want it all over? Paint a feature wall, just paint the skirtings, or add cushions /vases in that hue, as little or as much as you dare or the room can take.

As general rule cool colours make a room seem spacious, warmer colours make a room feel cosier. Should you follow the trend colours? Only if you love them!

And finally - don't rush it - enjoy the process, paint your personality all over your home.

Article By Petra Hall: Petra is creator of Petronella Hall wallpapers and fabrics, colour lover nature lover, illustrator and designer.