Choosing Colour For Your Home...

There are so many ways to make a room look beautiful and one of the most important is colour.

Most of us know which colours we like and feel comfortable with but become confused when faced with endless choices of paints, fabrics and furnishings.

Colour itself is not confusing. But what can be is wading through hundreds of colour chips and swatches in order to arrive at a pleasing combination.

Colour Decision Making

While there is no such thing as right or wrong colours, a lot of the decision making boils down to personal choice. Of course, some combinations work better than others, but the best colour advice we can give you is to figure out what colours and styles you love, then work gradually on applying them to your home as time and money allow.

Create an Ideas List

We would never advocate going shopping for new paint, fabrics or furniture without at least having a rough plan in your mind before you leave your front door. Do yourself up an ideas list of possible colours and textures - because it's a jungle out there and you will definitely need a strategy!

Body and Accent Colours

When most people think of colour, they automatically think of paint, but colour applies to everything in and around the home. So you need to think about which colours you like generally, then consider how you should apply them, whether it's in the hard or soft furnishings, paint or even the plants you choose.

Once you have established a basic group of colours you like, divide them into groups of main or 'body' colours and accents.

  • Body colours should become your main backdrop and will be the major part of your scheme
  • Accent colours can be used to punctuate the main body colours for excitement and interest

Body colours need to be chosen carefully for items which are reasonably permanent and cannot be changed on a regular basis. These include tiles, carpet, sofa and curtain fabrics, bricks, pavers, roofing and fencing. For all of these things, I prefer to select neutral, natural tones and textures and update with things I can change easily. In the house, this can be paint, accessories, towels and linens. Outside, the trims, timber, and doors can be painted, and pots added, along with plants and trees with different coloured foliage.

Colour Tips

  • A new paint colour or a few simple accessories can revitalise and update a room for very little effort and cost.
  • Colour can be used to enhance things you like, perhaps a painting or favourite collection.
  • Colour can hide structural flaws or enhance a room's character and architectural details.
  • If your room is an odd shape or lacks a particular feature or focal point, consider defining an area with colour.
  • Make up a storyboard using our tips on 'how to create a storyboard for your next design project' to help you refine your colour and material selection.

New Colour Schemes

For new furnishings, fabrics and paint colours, think about how you feel when you use the room and most importantly how you want it to feel. It's also important to consider each room in relation to others in your home, especially if you have an open plan layout. Generally you should select colours and materials in a sequence because rooms are often seen from one to another.

When redecorating, start by having a good look at the room with fresh eyes. Look at the walls, windows, doors and trims as well as the ceiling, floor and furniture. The general feeling and atmosphere of the room is usually established by these main areas as well as the quality and amount of light the room receives.

Make a 'wish list' of what you would like to change but do be realistic about your budget, skills and timing. It's all very well to say you can change everything all at once, but the reality for most of us having to work around what is already there and can't be replaced that easily - things like windows, carpet and tiles, as well as curtains and existing furniture.

You may not especially like certain things, but if you can't afford to replace all you need to, you are better off working your design around what you already have rather than ignoring things because you don't like them. You may be surprised just how much better they can look when you include and work them into a fresh, new scheme. The most important thing however is to try to keep things simple and consider limiting your colour palette for all furnishings throughout the house. This will not only unify and create a sense of calm but will allow you to update the look each season simply by using accessories.

Colour and Light

The colours of a room never remain constant and can change throughout the day according to different lighting and weather conditions. Because of this, colours should be sampled in as large area as possible and observed over the course of a few days before making a final decision.


  • A room which receives plenty of natural light allows a wide choice of colours and can be decorated with the palest of shades through to intense bolds and brights.
  • Without good lighting, naturally dark rooms which receive little daylight will never come to life and will always appear dull. A combination of overhead, spot and lamp lighting will brighten the space.
  • Dark rooms will look stunning painted with richer, deep shades and lit artificially, even by day.


  • Artificial lighting will make colours appear very different to what they are during the day and can also vary according to the type and number of lights you have.
  • Overhead lighting can be harsh and appear to drown out colour. It can also create dark shadows in areas where the lighting is uneven. This can be softened and controlled by using more lights as well as dimmer switches.
  • Lamp light can be very flattering for colour at night and should be considered in addition to overhead lighting.