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Vignette: Information sign. Photograph by Edwin PP Hints and tips

Check out our useful hints and tips articles to help you get the best out of your home interiors projects.

Five tips for choosing the right paint colour

Paint chart. Photograph by LotusHead at Freeimages

Paint is one of the easiest, quickest and cheapest ways to transform your interior and the right paint shade can totally alter the character of a room.

However, before you reach for the brushes, follow these five simple tips from Glasgow-based interior specialists Forrest Furnishing to make sure you choose the right colour for you.

1. What will it be going with?

You might be lucky enough to have a totally blank canvas of a room and be free to choose any colour. However, it's more likely that your paint will need to match some existing furnishings, be that a sofa, tables or even some tiles.

If you have already found some sumptuous curtains you want to be the focal point of the room, think about what tones will best enhance their appearance. There's no harm in going for bold, contrasting colours if that suits your style but remember that the room has to work harmoniously in its entirety. Blue tones work well together in a range of assorted tints, whereas a variety of differing shades of cream can look less cohesive.

2. What mood do you want to create?

Differing colours can alter the mood and feel of a room. Blues and greens are tranquil and calming whilst reds and oranges add warmth and energy. Pale neutrals add a feeling of spaciousness whilst dark shades give a dramatic and opulent feel. Consider the overall effect you want to create and choose your colours accordingly.

3. Will it suit your lifestyle?

It's tempting to browse through interiors magazines, see a shade you like and immediately want it for your own home. But take a few minutes to consider the practicalities.

Stark white walls look stunning and sophisticated but may not be the best option if you have lots of small children and a messy dog. Fingerprints, crayon marks and mud will soon make your decor look tatty and it could end up being a very high-maintenance choice. A better option would be to use a darker colour low down and paler shades higher up the walls. These can be separated with a dado rail and will still give an airy feel.

If you work from home or use part of your house in a professional capacity, think about the type of image you want to portray. You may love pink glittery walls but they may not project quite the desired image to your clients if your job is very serious!

4. Consider the room

The right paint can transform a room but you need to look at the actual specifications of the space. Generally it's best to avoid dark colours in very small rooms as this can make them seem even more cramped, whereas pale shades increase the feeling of spaciousness. If you feel a colour might be too overwhelming, you could always paint the majority of the walls in a neutral palette and have one dramatic feature wall in a bolder tone.

If your walls are flawed or uneven, choose a matt paint; although silk paint is better for reflecting light around the room, it will also emphasise every lump and bump.

5. Testing; one, two, three

Before you commit to a particular colour, test a small patch to see how it looks in situ. Most paint dries a little darker so if you're unsure, always go for a lighter shade. Paint a sample on each wall of the room as it will look different from each angle. Check it not only throughout the day to see how the path of natural light affects it but remember it will look quite different under your lamps compared to in a brightly-lit DIY shop.

So, whether you're looking for smart neutrals to complement a dining suite from Forrest Furnishing or bright shades for the kids' bedrooms, there's a whole rainbow of colours to choose from. Follow these simple tips and you're sure to find the right one to suit you.

Photo credit: LotusHead at Freeimages

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