Best colours to paint your house happy, according to an expert

·3-min read

Renters dream of owning their own space, not least because you’re finally in the decorating driver’s seat. But the reality is, once you’ve got the keys and it comes to deciding how to paint your home, the choice can be paralysing.

While bright, bold colours and clever colour-blocking may work for some of the capital’s coolest hotels and restaurants, you may not feel as brave taking the plunge with an electric blue or neon pink on your walls.

Having just moved into my first home, I have multiple Pinterest boards heaving with ideas on how to inject the space with colour. But when push came to paintbrush, I found myself struggling to pick a hue. It’s not as simple as just picking a colour I like; the shade has to work with the light in each individual room. Since my flat is north facing it gets little direct sunlight in the summer. All this means that it’s hard to visualise how colours will look on the white walls. I decided it was time to call in the big guns. And who better than Dulux?

The brand has been around since 1919 and is one of the leading brands in the DIY sphere. I spoke to Marianne Shillingford, creative director at Dulux and the founder of The Colour in Design Award for tips on how to paint your house happy.

How to be braver with colour

“It’s all about baby steps”, says Marianne. “Instead of painting a feature wall or a whole room, start your decorating journey with a tiny area: maybe just a corner, some pipework, a closet. Upcycle old furniture. If you start with a small insignificant project, it will help build your confidence. And above all remember, it’s only paint.”

Try it: Inca Orange, Deep Ultramarine, Green Grass

The power of colour

Colours have been proven to boost mood, help concentration and in some cases, even improve the taste of your meals (handy if your chef skills are somewhat lacking).

In fact, Marianne tells me that the Georgians painted their dining rooms red to help enhance the flavour of the food and help conversation flow. The shade is the most powerful colour on the spectrum and is good for firing up the senses - which perhaps is also why some choose it for their bedrooms.

On the other end of the scale, painting your kitchen blue is thought to curb appetite, great news for dieters who’ve tried everything else.

Try it:Florentine Red, Pugin Red, Fitzrovia Red

Changing dimensions with colour trickery

Who hasn’t wished for more space, especially when living in London’s tiny flats? It is possible to give the illusion of more square footage - all it takes is the right tin of paint.

Marianne explains: “Space can be dictated by colour. Receding colours like blue and green connect us to nature. Lighter tones have a shorter visual wavelength, so they appear farther away and more expansive. Dark shades jump forwards towards us, pulling in light as well as attention.”

Try it light: Light French Grey, Linen White, Golden Ivory

Try it dark: Mallard Green, Dark Aubergine, Cherry Truffle

Ready, set - paint

Your home is your happy place, a haven from the chaos of the world outside. It should also be a reflection of your personality and tastes - surely you can do better than a safe magnolia?

Dulux’s Heritage Range is the brand’s greatest hits of colours in timeless hues with a luxurious velvety finish. Complementary light and dark shades are grouped together along with the perfect shade of white to use on skirting boards and door frames, taking the guesswork out of decorating. For even more reassurance, Dulux has a visualiser on its app to show what your home would look like in your preferred palette. And when you’re ready to start, the brand’s YouTube channel is packed with handy clips to help you paint like a pro too.

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