Why you should give white walls the flick

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How’s the serenity? Walls painted in a soothing colour from Dulux’s Cultivate palette. Photos supplied by Dulux.

Adding colour to a room – especially if it involves painting walls – requires a bit of confidence.

Most of us like the idea of transforming a space with colour but when it comes to the crunch, we tend to paint the walls white because we think it will be easier to live with.

However, according to Dulux colour and communications manager Andrea Lucena-Orr, colour can make us feel more connected to our home.

“An all-white room may be light and bright, but it doesn’t give you anything back, whereas colour can dramatically change how a room feels and how you feel in it,” Ms Lucena-Orr said.

Paint has strong transformative powers. These walls are painted in colours from Dulux’s Comeback palette.

Start small

A small painting project such as a bedroom is ideal for building your colour confidence.

“This is somewhere you can really make your own,” Ms Lucena-Orr said. “If you want to create a cocooning effect with dark-coloured walls, you can do that safely without upsetting others.”

A home office/study is another good space to try colour, to help promote creative thought, while powder rooms can handle a bit of colour drama. Study nooks in open-plan areas are also ideal targets.

“Colour can give (study nooks) a sense of life and make you feel more motivated and inspired,” Ms Lucena-Orr said.

However, given people responded to colour differently, she recommended choosing palettes that were widely pleasing for areas where groups congregated, such as living rooms, dining rooms and entries.

Go for a widely pleasing palette in places people congregate. Walls painted in hues from Dulux’s Cultivate palette.

Trick the eye

Colour can be cleverly applied to camouflage or highlight details in a room.

Ms Lucena-Orr warned against using colour on walls with an air conditioner or old strip heater.

Instead, she suggested adding colour to one of the other walls in the room to deflect attention away from unsightly features.

You don’t just have to stick to one colour on the wall, either. Split-colour walls can create a dynamic look, such as two tones, or a colour paired with a neutral shade.

“If you paint the room one colour, your eye doesn’t really have anywhere to go. But by splitting the wall colour, it causes your eye to travel and look up,” Ms Lucena-Orr said. “It also gives a space an elegant and premium feel.”

Don’t feel like you have to stick to one colour on the wall. These walls are painted with hues from Dulux’s Comeback palette.

When deciding on a colour, Ms Lucena-Orr advised painting a sample of your chosen hue on an A4-size board that could be moved around the room, or buy a ready-made swatch through the Dulux website.

It’s also best to avoid looking at sample colours for walls on a flat surface, such as a coffee table or dining table.

Ms Lucena-Orr said samples should be viewed vertically to see how light would affect the colour when it was applied to a similar vertical surface.

Get your paint colour right by first using a board or swatch hung vertically. Wall painted in a colour from Dulux’s Indulge palette.

Latest looks

A greater focus on wellbeing has influenced a desire for calming colours at home. And it’s that serene feel Ms Lucena-Orr loves most about the Cultivate palette, one of four new colour trends in Dulux’s 2020 colour forecast.

“Cultivate is nature’s palette and makes us feel relaxed and connected to the outdoors,” she said.

The palette features muted greens, verdant forest green and accent shades of plum, curd and chalky blue.

Calming colours from the Cultivate palette.

The other colour forecast palettes are: Comeback (tonal blues highlighted by warm burgundy, rust and mustard); Grounded (soft neutrals contrasted by terracotta); and Indulge (rich burgundy, eggplant, earthy browns, faded terracotta and soft coral).

“Whatever colour you decide to go with, it has to be one you love,” Ms Lucena-Orr said. “Most importantly, it needs to be something you are going to enjoy living with.”

The Comeback palette features tonal blues.

Soft neutrals distinguish the Grounded palette.

The Indulge palette has rich, earthy shades.

Handy tips

Here is some more advice from Ms Lucena-Orr on choosing a paint colour:

• Use a sample colour at home before committing to your final hue – you need to see the colour in your own space and with your own furnishings.

• Consider how natural and artificial lighting will affect the look. Be sure to view your colour sample at different times of day and see how it appears when the room is in shadow.

• Keep a database of what paint colours you’ve used. It will make matching colours down the track far easier when walls need to be refreshed.

• Select cabinetry, flooring, benchtops and splashbacks before you choose the wall colour. You need to first see what effect the undertones of these finishes will have on your preferred shade.

• Determine what type of paint finish you want: matt, satin low sheen or gloss. Each finish will highlight the wall in a different way.