Has the January blues made you think about redecorating a room or three?

The new year always makes me want to embark on a major redecorating programme. But before you reach for the tester pots and wreak havoc on your current décor, here are my top ten tips to bear in mind.

View the colours in the correct light (and don’t make a snap judgement after a few G&Ts)

If you are redecorating a room that is almost always used at night, don’t judge a colour on the wall in the harsh light of day. Similarly, if you use the room during the day, don’t make a snap choice over a large G&T one evening. Trust me, it rarely ends well. Wait until you have ‘watched’ the colour on the wall throughout a full 24 hours so that you can see how the colour looks as the light changes.

Consider the mood of the room

Is it a calm space, for reflection and reading perhaps – a retreat from the madness room? Consider cool, calm colours or earthy neutrals. If it is a room that needs a more energetic vibe? Consider choosing one item or a small collection of items and images that captures the mood you wish to create, l often find that this inspires a colour choice.

Don’t let your 10 year old boy choose unless you are prepared to live with it

Enough said.

What’s next door?

What about the colours/décor schemes used in adjoining rooms or hallways? Colour is strongly affected by the juxtaposition of other colours. A certain shade of blue might seem the perfect choice for a serene bathroom, but if the colour of your hallway clashes or contrasts too harshly, it may knock the balance out of your scheme entirely. This even applies to the colour of the woodwork and other finishes in your scheme. A bold red might look quite muted against white adjoining walls but against a dark tone it can take on a completely different character.

How does the colour work with prints and wallpapers?

If you are choosing all your redecorating materials and paint finishes from one brand it is easier to find matching shades or colours that complement each other perfectly – the brand will have spent countless man hours carefully putting ranges together. If, however, you prefer to mix and match (we have a real passion for collecting vintage items) or can’t afford to go all out with a fully coordinated scheme, then you need to work a little harder to achieve a coordinated look. Take time and enjoy amassing a collection that works together. Pinterest may well become your best friend here!

How to test out your test pots to make sure you pick the right colour

Growing up with a mum who has stunningly decorated property after property (I spent quite a chunk of my childhood sitting at the foot of a stepladder), from Victorian semis, through 1930’s townhouses to a huge French ‘maison de maitre’ of impressive proportions, I have learned so much about interiors. Her paint sampling process has always stuck with me and I’ll share it with you!

No Random Paint Splatters

Don’t splatter random tiny squares of the paint across your current colour scheme. For a start, if you are looking to get rid of a bold red and replace with a pale blue, it won’t help to see the blue samples against that red wall that has to go!  For a second, it is almost impossible to choose between half a dozen similar shades of blue if they are all sitting next to each other.

Use Large Cardboard Sample Squares

Paint your chosen samples onto large squares of thick paper or cardboard. Paint a minimum of two coats so that you can get a true feel for the final colour.

Tape these large squares to your wall with masking tape or washi tape. Move them around the room at different times of the day so that you can see them in different lights and contrast different colours. This approach also allows you to trial the paint colours on different walls without making your room look like the kids escaped with the paint brushes!

Need to save a few pounds? Try these tips.

Mix Your Own

If you need to decorate on a tight budget, many of the paint ranges stocked in major DIY stores have ranges with varying concentrations of the same shade. Consider picking a darker shade test pot and mixing it with a cheaper white paint until you achieve the exact shade that you need. Whilst this approach may make seasoned interior designers shudder, it can be a cheap and simple way of getting the colour you need. Make sure to mix up plenty though so that you don’t run out half way through a scheme.

Search and Rescue

Check out the clearance aisle. When we decorated our first home, we found many a tin of perfect paint lurking in the ‘search and rescue’ section for a fraction of the full price.

Bold Choices

Choose one bold colour for a single wall or recess and use a cheaper alternative for adjoining walls.

My first project of 2018

When we bought our current Victorian property, we decided to live with the inherited decor for a few years. It had all been expensively redecorated, if not exactly to our taste. The slightly ‘queasy’ moss green in our kitchen now HAS to go. It’s a challenging room though – we spend a lot f time in this north facing, fairly dark room and any scheme has to work with our eclectic collection of vintage kitchenalia. Blues, teals, yellows…I can’t decide. Time to break out the test pots!