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bathroom Bathrooms are one of the smallest rooms in the house and are generally cluttered with towel rails, basins and showers/baths. While this can make them a decorator’s nightmare, it also means you can afford to be a little more courageous with colour. If your original colour choice doesn’t work, you can always repaint a small bathroom quickly.

Avoid using too many colours if your bathroom feels small. Instead, paint a dado on the bottom third of each wall in your chosen colour and paint the remaining two-thirds in white.

Blues and greens are popular choices for bathrooms as they are tranquil and clean. Being cool colours, they can also make your small bathroom appear more spacious.


 When selecting colours for bedrooms it is important to choose colours that are conducive to sleeping. You are also likely to spend more time looking at the ceiling than you would in other rooms.

As a general rule you should avoid using very bright colours and save them for other parts of your home. Most light and pastel shades are ideal for bedrooms. Blue is a popular colour choice for bedrooms because of its soothing qualities. However, if you have trouble getting up in the morning, you may wish to add an invigorating accent to get you out of bed.

Remember no matter what room you are painting, artificial lighting can be used very successfully to compliment your colour scheme and it is worth reviewing your lighting plan prior to painting.

Dining rooms

 Separate dining rooms tend to be reserved for special occasions so they are a good opportunity to experiment with colour that you might not be brave enough to use elsewhere. Red stimulates the appetite and is a good choice for dining rooms. Combined with gold cutlery, a dramatic air of formality will result. Midnight blue or aubergine and gold are also dramatic colour schemes for night-time dining.

Remember, in any dining room the table will be the focal point.

Family rooms

 Family rooms call for a tough durable finish that can take the inevitable wear and tear. Families tend to spend a lot of time in this part of the home, so a bright uplifting colour scheme is recommended. Use 1-2 dominant colours and add accents for interest.

Choose mid tone colours that will minimise the appearance of fingermarks, animal fur and general light scuffing. Avoid using very dark or very light colours. Use patterned curtains and furnishing fabric in place of plain fabrics.

Hallways and entrances

 First impressions count!

As hallways and entrances are transition areas and you spend only a short amount of time in them, you can usually afford to be a little more adventurous. Ideally hallways should be treated as linking spaces to help give continuity to your interior colour scheme.

To make a long hall look shorter, paint the end wall a vibrant warm shade. Conversely, paint the end wall a light cool colour to make the hallway look longer.
Colour can provide a bridge between adjoining areas. It can be difficult to change colour when adjoining spaces are viewed together, so a feature wall of colour can be a good way to create a natural colour break.

When visualising a hallway or entrance colour scheme, leave the doors of adjoining rooms open so that you can see how the hallway will work as the focal point.


The kitchen is a room you will tend to spend a lot of time in, especially if you are the main chef in your household. Make sure you are comfortable with your chosen colour scheme as you will probably spend a significant amount of time surrounded by it. Bright, invigorating colour schemes can boost energy levels when you have a lot of cooking and cleaning to get through.

As kitchen walls tend to be dominated by cabinetry, benches and the floor, treat these elements as the starting point for your colour scheme.

The appearance of colours in the kitchen will depend on the properties and textures of each of the surfaces. Glossy surfaces, such as laminated cabinetry, will reflect more light and look different to low sheen painted walls, so it is important to be careful when trying to match colours in different materials. Sometimes it is better to select a tone lighter or darker rather than trying to create an exact colour match.

Living rooms

Today’s living rooms are often open spaces that link through to dining and kitchen areas. Knowing where to start and finish the colour scheme between each part of an open plan space can be very difficult. There are two techniques that you can use:

Paint a feature wall in an area between the two adjoining rooms/spaces to create a natural colour break.

Use a progression of colours, then paint a unifying colour throughout the spaces and accent with the other progressional colours.

Living rooms are the ideal place to create focal points or feature walls. Traditionally fireplaces acted as the focal point of most living rooms. If you don’t have a fireplace, select a focal point for your room and decorate around that. The focal point may be a feature wall, lounge suite or similar.

As living rooms are usually subjected to less wear and tear than family rooms, you can choose light and dark colours if desired.

Final thoughts

Try out your own interior colour schemes using one of the Resene EzyPaint selection of interior images or virtually paint your own interior image.

For tips on putting a complete room scheme together, including furnishings, carpet, curtain and lighting selection visit Putting your room together.

For more colour ideas and inspiration, visit the Resene online Using colour section.



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