Confidence with colour

Colour is a truly magical property. It can transform an environment, create a style, set a mood and alter perceptions. Colour is very personal and an expression of our creativity.

Confidence with colour

Resene offers all customers a selection of valuable aids to enable you to choose the right colours for you. And of course, Resene ColorShops and Resellers are available nationwide to provide helpful and professional advice on colour selection.

Like a virtual library of colour, the Resene online colour library enables you to view an extensive range of Resene colour swatches on your computer, then download the ones you like. Over 3000 Resene colours are available as electronic colour jpegs for direct viewing on this website. Once you have found the colours you like, you can order testpots of your favourites at our online testpot shop and try them out for yourself.

You can also find a huge range of colour tools online on the Resene website. With services from colour chart and testpot ordering to virtual painting software, a Resene colour swatch library, decorating inspiration gallery, project guides and lots of great hints and tips on selecting colour, you'll find everything you need to design your next colour scheme. Best of all, you can access all these colour tools and information whenever it suits you.

When it comes to finding inspiration for colour there are no strict rules. However, the more knowledge you have about colour and its influence on your living environment, the better placed you will be to choose colours that will be right for you. Colours generally work best when related to their surroundings, with the final result of a successful colour scheme being one of harmony, visual order and a feeling of continuity.

Choosing a precise paint colour from postage stamp sized printed samples has always been difficult. The colour looks okay in a small swatch but what will it look like once the entire room is painted? Subtle differences that may seem unimportant on colour charts are glaringly obvious once the colour is painted onto a wall.

Many people who are confident and assured about most aspects of their lives lose all confidence when trying to mix and match colours. You should always follow your own instincts. Decide what appeals to you and what you feel good about and use this as your starting point.

There are no fixed rules about colour. It pays to forget all those old adages, such as blue is cold, red and orange clash, blue and green should never be seen and so on. The finished look is affected not just by the colour, but by the shape, texture and amount of colour used, as well as the amount and type of lighting.

Humans respond psychologically to colour. While we associate yellow with happy faces, smiles and cheerfulness and white as neutral and restful, too much black may depress the spirits. By manipulating the colours in a scheme, we can change a room from a happy welcoming room into a clinical, cold room. Think of the cosy dining room of a local café painted in rich colours to create a feeling of warmth and trigger a desire to eat.

Contrast this with the hallways of most hospitals, traditionally painted stark white, a neutral colour often considered clean and clinical. When developing a colour scheme, think about what the area will be used for and the emotions you would like to encourage. For example, restful colours in a bedroom to encourage sleeping or bright reds and yellows in a children's rumpus room to energise and lift spirits. Each colour scheme is appropriate in the right place.

There is generally some existing feature that either dictates or can be used as an inspiration for the basis of a colour scheme. This may be a view from a window, a work of art, nature, carpets, soft furnishings, stained glass, art books and magazines, a fashion trend or Resene colour charts. Unless you have the luxury of decorating from scratch, your starting point for a colour scheme is likely to come from something you already own - a sofa, curtains or even a favourite painting.

When selecting colours consider lighting, what the room is used for, who spends the most time using the room, adjacent room colour schemes, whether you want to change perceptions of the room shape or size, what kind of mood you want to create, and any existing furniture or furnishings that will be part of the finished colour scheme. When developing a colour scheme, collect pictures of rooms that you find appealing and a good range of samples. Experiment with them to determine your final selection and the appropriate accent colour or colours.

Most colour schemes are improved by the addition of accents, the final touches that can make a room come to life. Avoid using the same accent colour in too many places or too many accent colours in one room - sometimes subtlety gives the best result.

How much there is of a colour affects how you see it with colours tending to look darker than they appear on colour charts. When used in large quantities or in a small room, strong colours will appear even stronger and more intense. If in doubt use a shade lighter than your original choice.

Surface textures also change the way you perceive colour. Smooth surfaces reflect light and heavily textured surfaces absorb light. Therefore, the same colour painted in a gloss acrylic paint on a wall will look lighter than the same colour in a heavy woven carpet.

One of the simplest ways of carrying a theme throughout your home is to use a common colour palette. Choose a selection of colours for the entire home and then use different combinations of those colours in each room. The commonality of the colours will link the entire scheme together.

Check and select colour under the actual lighting conditions of the space to be painted to avoid disappointment, as the same colour may look very different when compared under artificial and natural lighting. Consider when you use the room most and select your colour scheme using those lighting conditions.

Colour also behaves entirely differently on a ceiling surface than on a wall surface. A colour painted on a ceiling looks darker than the same colour on a wall. Likewise window walls will appear darker as they do not receive direct light.

White and off-whites are usually the safest colours to use as they distort less under various types of light, however they will reflect other colours in the room. If you have a bright green carpet, you can expect your white walls to reflect the carpet colour and look light green.

Furniture, pictures and ornaments absorb and reflect colour in different ways affecting the final colour you see. It is always best to view colours in a fully furnished room to get a true picture of how the finished scheme will look. If you are forced to develop a colour scheme using an empty room as a base, start by determining how much of the wall surface will be visible after furnishings are added to the room.

When developing your colour scheme, remember the most successful schemes usually have a limited palette of two or three principal colours, with perhaps additional touches of other colours in small doses.

As with everything in life, the more colour schemes you create over your lifetime of decorating, the more confident you will become. And, if worse comes to worse and you just can't stand your new colour scheme, you can always paint over it!

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Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.

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