Like gloss level, the colour paint you choose to use
will also show surface defects to varying degrees.
Darker colours accentuate surface imperfections,
while lighter colours soften the effects of any surface
irregularities by absorbing less light.
This doesn’t mean you can’t use gloss paints and dark colours inside...
however if you wish to use either you will need to take extra care to ensure
wall surfaces are smooth and well prepared to minimise the appearance
of surface imperfections. Use Resene Broadwall Surface Prep & Seal (or
Resene Broadwall 3 in 1 if you are hiring a professional spray applicator)
over new paperfaced plasterboard to provide a smooth surface ready for
painting. If you plan to use dark colours, use a flat or low sheen paint. If
you would like a gloss finish, consider using a light colour to minimise the
appearance of surface defects.
Special paint effects can be used to hide minor surface defects: however
they cannot be expected to disguise major irregularities.
Paint awkward shapes the same colour as the rest of the room. This will
help them to blend in.
When planning a colour scheme, consider the adjacent rooms and the
environment surrounding your home. If you have already selected other
room furnishings, bring samples with you when choosing the paint colour.
You may even wish to follow the fabric pattern to balance the colour
palette for the room. There should be some relationship between that and
the newly decorated room to provide continuity.
If an important feature of your home is a sea view or landscape panorama
you may like to bring the colours you see outside into your home’s colour
scheme to provide a natural link between the two. If you want to highlight
the view, choose a lighter colour palette. If you want to distance the view
make your interior colour scheme more contrasting against the exterior.
When choosing colours keep three things in mind:
Colours look different when
1. In different types of light,
2. Next to different colours, and
3. Depending how much there is of the colour.
Select colours that reflect the mood you are trying to create. For example,
if you want to develop a calm atmosphere consider using greens and
blues and steer clear of the bold high energy reds. If high energy is what
you desire, a palette of reds, oranges and yellows will brighten the room
and encourage activity.
Blue is cool, refreshing and soothing, making it the ideal choice to cool
a sunny room.
A popular colour for bedrooms, due to its ability to relax the mind, blue
should generally be avoided in the dining room as it tends to suppress the
appetite. Change your perceptions of a room’s size and lighting through
the use of pale and pastel blues that will ‘open up’ the space.
Green is soothing, calm and harmonious, ideal in high stress areas,
such as hospitals, schools and workplaces to calm the atmosphere. We
are all comfortable living with green due to its prevalence in the natural
environment, making it an easy colour to use anywhere indoors, either in
a scheme of its own or to connect other colours. The selection of varied
hues will offer a mood from relaxing and calm with a warm light green
to freshness and invigoration with a bright lime green. Lighter hues are
ideal in living rooms and bathrooms to promote a relaxing environment,
while mid greens can give a clean accent in kitchens and dining areas.
Green light is focused almost precisely by the eye lens on the retina of
the eye making it a very good colour to work in especially for patient
concentration on manual work.
Orange is cheerful, friendly, lively and dynamic, but be warned, it’s a
colour people tend to have a love/hate relationship with. Ideal for high
activity, social areas such as kitchens and family rooms, it is also a popular
choice in bold living room and children’s bedroom schemes. Avoid orange
in hot sunny rooms, as the addition of orange may make the room seem
Red stimulates activity, increases blood pressure and heart rate making it
the highest energy colour. An appetite stimulator, red is a popular choice
in dining rooms and restaurant and high-energy areas, such as business
foyers. It is generally best to keep red out of the bedroom as it can make
relaxing more difficult.
Yellow is bright, bold, invigorating and guaranteed to attract attention.
Like road signs and highlighters, yellow is difficult to miss. Uplifting in a
cold room, yellow may be overpowering in a sunny room. Yellows vary
from green yellows through to orange yellows so trial your colour with a
testpot first to make sure you have chosen the right hue. If in doubt, most
rooms will work with buttery and golden yellows.
No matter what colours you like, successful colour schemes have
one thing in common – balance. Try to use no more than two to three
principal colours with touches of other accent colours to lift the scheme.
Sometimes it pays to start with a simple scheme of two colours and an
accent, then introduce other colours into the room as you gain confidence.
If you are a novice decorator you may prefer to keep to one colour type
(monochromatic) or select related colours (harmonious) to ensure a
Most people find pastel colours easy to use in a colour scheme. Pastel
colours are pure colours with the addition of white, taking a bright yellow
to a light yellow and so on. The common element, white, between all
these colours means that you can successfully combine any pastels into a
colour scheme. The addition of clean white also means that most pastels
appear soft and fresh, making them a very popular choice for decorators.
Light and texture will impact on the total colour scheme. If you change a
room’s colour from bright lime green to navy blue, the light reflectance of
the room will decrease, making the room appear darker.
Similarly, matt surfaces absorb the light and will always appear darker and
deeper than glossy reflective surfaces. Light colours and glossy finishes
are perfect for rooms you wish to appear larger, however you may prefer
to use darker colours, heavier textures and matt finishes in areas such as
the dining room, to draw the walls in and make the room seem cosier.
If you have painted a wall with matt paint and find it is too flat you can
paint over the top with a glaze to increase the light reflectance.
A good balance of tones is employed in the best colour schemes. If you
think of a newspaper clipping, the most interesting pictures are those
that have a good balance of light, mid and deep tones. Aim for a balance
across the different tones to ensure your scheme is visually interesting.
Always keep in mind when developing a colour scheme who will be using
the space the most. There is no point using bright orange because it is in
fashion if the entire family dislikes the colour. Similarly, the best homes are
decorated with the owner’s personality. Nature lovers may prefer greens
and blues to bright reds, while a vibrant owner may prefer bright and bold
feature areas that reflect their bubbly personality.
To help you visualise the effect different paint, flooring and furnishing
colours will have on your room, download Resene EzyPaint virtual painting
software. With Resene EzyPaint you can virtually paint over 200 room and
building pictures or scan in your own room and virtually paint that. With
over 3000 colours to choose from, selecting the right colour combination
is easy. Resene EzyPaint is available as a free download from this
website or buy or borrow a copy from your local Resene ColorShop or
If you like changing your environment, the best idea may be to use a
neutral colour scheme and provide accents through replaceable items,
such as cushions and flowers. This will enable you to change the mood of
the room with a simple change of the accent items.
Use a grey paint colour viewfinder (get one free from your Resene
ColorShop) to isolate colour on the paint chart you are viewing. If you
look at all the colours together tthe colours will affect one another and
you won’t get a true feeling of each individual colour. Once you have
narrowed down your colour choices use testpots to confirm your colour
scheme on the surface you are planning to paint. Apply two coats, leaving
a border around it so the colour is not influenced by anything else. When
the paint is dry, pin your colour to the wall and view it in daylight and
artificial light, moving it around different areas of the room and folding it
into the corner of the room for a true feel of the finished effect.
Remember that paint is your most versatile medium and may be easily changed when you feel the need for a new look. Once you have decided and applied your colour scheme, make sure you take a note of the colours used for future reference. Resene have developed an interior/exterior colour scheme page so that you can keep this important information in one handy location. Copies of this colour scheme page are available online.
If you wish to paint each side of a door different colours, take care when painting the edges, as the edges of the door will be visible when the door is left ajar. We recommend you paint the opening edge of the door the same colour as the face of the door that opens into the room, and paint the hinged edge to match the other face. This way when the door is left open, the colour of the visible edge and the face of the door are continuous from whichever room they are viewed.
Never rush into a colour scheme, as you will only regret hasty choices later. Give yourself time to learn about your colour likes and dislikes and develop these into a personalised scheme.
Use testpots to try out your chosen colour scheme – the cost is minimal compared to the time and money you will waste if you have to repaint a wall you don’t like.
And the most important thing to remember is... have fun!