Be a colour chameleon


Choose your Sheen

Colour is as important to the home as any other aspect of interior finishes.

Many homeowners find ways to incorporate accents of colour throughout the home, through furniture decorations such as cushions and throws, or through curtains or artwork hanging on the walls.

However, the colour on a home’s walls can have the most dramatic effect of all. For this reason, it is perhaps even more vital that paint colours are given careful and adequate consideration before adorning your walls with every colour of the rainbow.

The Pantone Report is a well-known tool among designers of the fashion and home décor industries. This report publishes the up-and-coming colours of the season, and for autumn 2009 the palate is all about greys incorporated into tones to make neutrals more interesting. For bold tones, rich, jewel-like autumnal tones such as rich purples and sage green, along with oranges and yellows, are dominant on runways.

Sherrill Bushfield, senior interior designer at Woods Furniture & Design, explains how to use the latest colours in the home to accentuate any space.

“The grey beiges such as Benjamin Moore’s Clay Beige OC-11 and Brandon Beige 977 make great neutral backdrops for furniture and artwork,” Sherrill says. These neutrals help to reduce glare, creating a “calm, peaceful space”.

She adds that people “tend to tire of bold colours more quickly than neutrals.” She recommends choosing a neutral for the main colour in a house and featuring bold colours sparsely throughout.

“You could add some of the bolder colours either as feature walls or in whole rooms such as a den, powder room or in bedrooms,” Sherrill suggests.

“I would avoid strong contrasts on feature walls; such as Benjamin Moore’s California Lilac 2068-40 and white. Instead, try the California Lilac with the Brandon Beige,” she says.

“Another interesting combination would be Baked Terracotta 1202 with Shelburne Buff HC 28.”

Benjamin Moore is more readily available on island than Pantone paints, but if you cannot locate these brands, you can always print off a swatch of colour from either company’s website and take it to The Coating Centre in Plaza Venezia, which does colour matching.

Co-owner, Dawn Manderson, encourages customers to take in a sample of the colour they have chosen.

“Bring in a swatch of cloth or anything that we can scan that has the colour on it and we can match the colour,” she says.

However, if you have no idea where to start with colour, The Coating Centre sells Pittsburgh Paints which has several colour palettes put together from its Harmony collection, to show customers what different colour combinations look like.

“It has every type of colour combination you could imagine, shows you how to play with colour, and what combinations would work best,” Dawn says.
Now that the colours have been chosen, the next decisions centre on the type of paint to use for your needs.

“Choosing a finish is a matter of personal preference,” says Dawn. “They dictate the type of sheen you get.”

It is important to consider your lifestyle when choosing paint sheens. The ease of cleaning is definitely something that needs to be taken into consideration before purchasing paint. For example, semi-gloss or gloss is often used on trims or doors because it is an easy-to-clean paint, and doors get handled a lot.

“Eggshell is the most common paint type used for walls because it’s easy to clean,” Dawn explains. “Flat paint is not easy to clean and wouldn’t be used in a bathroom, for example, where it will get water marks because of the build up of steam and splashes.”

For those in a home without animals or children, however, where there isn’t such a great risk of getting marks on walls, flat paint can definitely add a rich tone to any wall, and is often preferred for the way bold colours can look when painted on a wall with flat paint. This is particularly ideal for a feature wall, as the matte finish would help the colour to ‘pop’ even more.

The important thing to remember with paint is that nothing is permanent and walls can always be re-painted. A unique colour scheme can transform a home, so take risks and experiment with colour, urges Sherrill.

“There are endless exciting possibilities for those willing to experiment.”