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Whether you’ve just bought your first property, are renovating or simply feel like a room refresh, choosing a paint colour may sound simple but, if you’re like me, the sheer volume of choice can be extremely overwhelming.

So to help make that all important decision a little less stressful, here are a few things to consider before you declare a colour “the one.”

1. Inspiration

If you’re at a total loss as to where to start, flick through a few interior magazines and tag rooms that you love. (Or if you’re like me, refer to your vast inspo scrapbook!) See if there’s a common feel running throughout. Identifying a look or aesthetic you’re drawn to should help narrow down the field initially. Or, if you have an eye on new cushions or artwork, pinpoint key tones in them from which you can draw on to help influence your paint pallet.

2. Your home as a whole

If you’re painting the whole interior or even just one room, think about how the colour will fit in with the entire direction of the house. Generally speaking, there should be a visual flow when transitioning from one room to the other. Ideally one room shouldn’t jar significantly from the rest.

3. Purpose of the room

Sounds fairly obvious I know, however some rooms have dual functionality such as a spare bedroom come study or playroom come TV snug. Will the colour suit both purposes and make the transition from one to the other, if need be, easy?

4. Decor and furnishings

A new lick of paint can completely change a room without breaking the bank. And if a cost-effective transformation is what you’re after then consider the room’s current big ticket furniture items. Make sure your paint colour coordinates and everything ties together. While it’s easier to alter the decorating accents to suit, the last thing you want is for the walls to not work in harmony with your couch or dining room setting.

5. Mood

Think about what mood you want to create in the room. Do you want your bedroom to be more dramatic and intimate or calming and restful? Stronger, deeper colours add to the drama of a room while soft more neutral colours create a more serene feeling. Do you want a nursery to be vibrant and stimulating or relaxing and peaceful?

6. Trends

If you’ve seen a very strong/dramatic current trend, and noticed it a lot, then I hate to say it, but consider steering clear of going head to toe with said trend. The chances of it becoming boring or stale very quickly are high. But don’t write it off completely: adapt! Think about using a different tone/shade or using it sparingly as an accent rather than going all out. That way you get to embrace the trend without being a total slave to it and wanting to changing it in 6 months time.

7. Lighting

Consider where your lighting is and, how much natural light is let into the space. A bold colour, when lit by bright overhead lights or even a huge amount of natural light may render it too overpowering for a room. Yet when used in an area only light by lamps or with much less daylight would be a totally different story.

8. Online tools

If you’re still having difficulty visualising a colour in situ, most major paint companies have online tools to help you out. You can select a room similar to yours then effectively “paint” the walls and ceiling whatever colour you like. Some even give you the option of uploading a shot of your actual room so that you can get a truer indication of the end result. Test out different wall/ceiling combinations, maybe even test a few colours you wouldn’t have dared thought of. Why not?

9. Colour testing

Once you’ve narrowed down the field to the last few, grab sample pots to try them out. Paint test patches on at least two walls in the room. This is mainly because light is diffused differently. The colour may look perfect on Wall A where it gets light from a window but look much darker or altogether different on Wall B where it doesn’t. Don’t forget to view the test patches at various stages throughout the day and of course at night with the lights. It’s amazing how some colours change!

10. Tweak

If you love a certain hue but wished it wasn’t as strong or alternatively was stronger, never fear. Most paint colours can be made to your percentage of choice. For example ask for the colour in half strength (50%) so you get the same hue but with a little more subtly or go double strength to give it extra punch.

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