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Changing spaces… with paint

From the Resene decorating blog

Clever use of paint colour can do a lot to change the visual perceptions of a space.

A cool and soothing interior

Cool and soothing Resene Duck Egg Blue gives a clean, light appearance to any room. Paint the floors in a tonally similar colour, like Resene Inside Back, to reduce visual clutter. Styling by Claudia Kozub; image by Melanie Jenkins.

An appealing property will attract good tenants. But we’re not all blessed with beautifully proportioned properties devoid of all flaws. In fact, if the house has been previously owned with the intention of renting it out, some odd alternations may have been done to maximise returns, like squeezing in an extra bedroom or bathroom.

If you have living rooms that are dark, or bedrooms that are a little small, or odd-shaped, there may be no need to get out the hammer. Clever use of paint colour can do a lot to change the visual perceptions of a space.

Cool vs warm

The classic psychological trick with colour is to use ‘warm’ and ‘cool’ colours to counteract the natural qualities of a room.

A room that gets no direct sun will benefit from a warm coloured paint, so something that’s cream, pale gold, or a stony beige. Try Resene Pearl Lusta, Resene Moonlight or Resene Tea. The reverse applies to very sunny rooms, particularly if they face due west and therefore are in a direct line from the setting sun. These rooms look better with cooler colours – grey-tinged neutrals and blues. If it’s a white you’re after, try Resene Alabaster. Or try a grey-blue like Resene Half Duck Egg Blue, which is versatile and on-trend.

Small vs big

As a general rule, warm colours such as yellows and reds tend to advance and make the walls of a room seem closer. They are therefore a good choice for large, uninviting rooms you want to make more intimate and welcoming.

Cool colours such as green and blue tend to recede and make the walls seem further away, so are a good choice for small, narrow rooms that you want to make seem more spacious.

A very small room can be treated in two ways. Either with a cool, very pale colour like Resene Half Sea Fog, or try a very dark cool colour such as Resene Porter or Resene King Tide, which will make the walls visually recede and therefore make the room look larger.

Make a smaller room appear larger

Make a smaller room appear larger by painting the walls to tonally match the floor and use pale cool colours.

Make a long, narrow room appear more evenly proportioned

A warm, deep colour on short end walls with a lighter colour on the adjoining walls will help make a long, narrow room appear more evenly proportioned.

You can also make a smaller room appear larger by painting the floor and ceiling in a similar mid toned colour, say Resene Truffle, and the walls in a lighter colour, say Resene Eighth Truffle. Check out the Resene Whites & Neutrals collection for a range of colour ‘families’ or variants.

To give a feeling of airiness and space, paint the walls to match the floor and use pale, cool colours.

Large rooms may appear to be a benefit but they can feel cavernous and unwelcoming if not treated correctly. Try a mid-toned neutral on the walls such as the green-tinged Resene Tasman or strong beige Resene Napa. Avoid mid-greys as these can make the room look uninviting.

Cool neutral walls make this lounge feel larger

Resene Double Alabaster is a cool neutral which makes a room feel lighter and larger. House designed by Hungerford + Edmunds Architects, Australia.

You could try painting one wall a bolder colour to visually break up the room. If the room is long and narrow, use a warm, dark colour like Resene Raging Bull or Resene Twisted Sister make the far wall appear closer, and to rebalance the proportions of the room.

If the ceiling is too high, consider painting it a darker colour to visually lower it. You can also take that colour down the walls to break them up. How about inky dark blue Resene Indian Ink for a fun night-sky effect?

Hiding defects

If your property has a few architectural oddities such as a funny bulkhead protruding into the room, an old closed-in chimney breast, or mis-matched architraves and skirtings, simply paint these the same colour as the walls to camouflage the odd shapes. If you use a different colour on, say, skimpy or different-sized or styled skirting boards, you will only highlight the problem.

A warm and cosy bedroom

A colour on the walls of a room, such as Resene Cleopatra, makes a shady room feel warm and cosy. Styling by Megan Harrison-Turner; image by Bryce Carleton.

A cool coloured lounge

Cool coloured walls, like this Resene Indian Ink, visually opens up a room and takes the heat out of an ultra-sunny space. Styling by Kate Alexander; image by Bryce Carleton.

The same applies to the exterior of the house as well as elements like fences. If the fence is a bit scruffy, give it a good clean then paint it in a dark paint colour like Resene Porter so that it ‘disappears’ into its surroundings.

If a room or house has a visually busy appearance, for example has lots of different sized windows, or doors in odd places, or a variety of flooring treatments, opt for a calming, tonal colour scheme based on one of the many versatile colours from the Resene Whites & Neutrals range. See the handy palette cards at your local Resene ColorShop as these have colour organised into varying strengths.

A classic way to approach a tonal scheme is to have the lightest strength on the ceilings, a slightly darker strength on the trims and doors, and then an even darker strength on the walls. For example, Resene Half Merino on the ceilings, Resene Merino on the trims and Resene Double Merino on the walls.

Resene Moonlight

Resene King Tide

Resene Cleopatra

Resene Twisted Sister

Resene Porter

November 11, 2018

Visit your local Resene ColorShop for expert advice and all the products and accessories you need to make the most of your home.

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