For me, painting is a simple way to put my mark on a place. But I have been known to be carried away with the wall colours I choose, only to tire of them after a while. Luckily, in the past, I was moving from one rental to another, so I could leave my choices behind and start fresh. But with our first home, I want to make sure I get it right this time. With two fluffy cats running around, painting is not as easy as it used to be – unless I want cat hairs imbedded in my walls for the rest of time. So I’m trying to do a lot of pre-planning before we get into our home (In London, there’s quite a large gap between when an offer is accepted and when we actually get the keys to our new home – usually about 10 weeks. So lots of time to think about what we want before we even move in).

As you’ve probably noticed, I veer between preferring bold uses of colour and stark white walls with colour coming through textiles and accessories. When we first started thinking about what we would like to do, I went and picked up hundreds of paint chips so that we could go through and narrow down to the palettes we both like. We hadn’t ever sat down and really discussed this – instead we normally picked things up as we saw them, which resulted in somewhat schizophrenic purchases. So it was a really useful exercise.

Finding the colours we like
Finding the colours we like

First, we went through and cut each block of colour into individual swatches. Then we organised them tonally and by family. We quickly edited out entire families of colour (no greens, no browns, no muddy or earthy hues for us) and focused on brighter, bolder, fresher and more upbeat tones. Then we discussed what colours would be used where, and what kind of mood we wanted to create in our home. Colour has such a huge impact on how I’m feeling – especially in the winter months when we see little sunlight. So we spent a long time thinking about which spaces of our home we wanted to be more relaxing, and which more energising. Then into the detail – the bright blues and reds – are those accent colours or lead colours? For the front room or the bedroom? What do we want in the bathroom? Most of the browns and beiges were edited out, but we kept one or two to give ourselves a wood tone that we wanted to target.

Once we’re in our new home we’ll have to fine tune our choices to fit the space, and test our colours on the walls in the different lights before we fully commit. But for now, we have a working palette that is helping us really focus and think about how we want to style our space.

When you’re starting a completely new project, how do you decide what colours to use where?


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