8 top tips to finding the perfect paint colour

Taking the time to choose a colour scheme that reflects your lifestyle will go a long way to creating a happy environment for years to come, says Anne Roselt, Kansai Plascon’s Global Colour Manager.


We are surrounded by inspiration every day. Keeping a record of images, colours and objects that inspire will give you a clear picture of your taste and style preferences. Every few months, when the time comes to clear out my old magazines, I go through each of them, taking out the images that inspire me. I keep a file of the images by room and when I am ready to paint, I have lots of inspiration to refer back to. Pinterest and Instagram allow us to do this digitally but matching colours to a computer screen is another story.


Colour is the most important design element in creating the mood and atmosphere of a space.

Each and every colour has an energy that affects us – whether you like the colour or not. Generally when we walk into a red room we feel excited and our blood pressure rises, so reds, oranges and yellows are recommended for areas where you want to create a friendly, sociable and energetic atmosphere.

When we walk into a blue room, we feel more calm and relaxed. These colours work well where you want to create a more peaceful and intuitive atmosphere.

Decide how you want to feel when you and your family are in the room and let that point you in the direction of the colours to select.

You can read more about the energy of different colours in my blog post on Colour Therapy.


Cool colours like gentle greens and blues recede, making a room appear larger than it is. Warm, deep colours make a room appear smaller.

If a room is hot, painting it red, yellow or orange will make the room feel even warmer than it is. To counter this, select a cooler colour for a warm space and vice versa.


If you are unsure about what colour to choose, creating a moodboard will help enormously. On the moodboard, place your inspirational images, add colour samples or actual samples of the items you cannot replace. i.e. actual samples or colour samples of the flooring, furniture and window treatments in the room. Once you have the fixed items and inspiration on the moodboard, add paint swatches and see which colours work best with everything.


Balance warm colour schemes with some cooler colours. For example, if a scheme is looking too warm, introduce some blue and green accents to balance and cool the scheme. (Vice versa for a cool scheme).
Some of the most popular colour scheming harmonies are:

    • A monochromatic harmony – created using tints and shades of the same colour. (A tint is a colour with white added. A shade is a colour with black added.) Most often used with neutrals to create a serene but interesting look.
    • A complementary harmony is when colours opposite on the colour wheel are used to enhance and balance each other.

Complementary colours are: blue and orange, green and red, and purple and yellow.

If you find that a scheme is not working, try adding some green plants – you’ll be amazed at how they can help balance a look.


A while ago, I was asked to visit a home in Bryanston. The owner complained that the neutral paint she had bought had a green tinge on one wall.

When I went to the home, I noticed that the wall was adjacent to a large window, the light coming in through the window was reflecting the green shrubbery outside the window onto the wall. Coloured carpets and curtains can have a similar effect if the light bounces off of it.

The colour on your wall will change during the day depending on the natural light entering the room. It will also change at night depending on your lighting.

With incandescent lights being phased out due to their energy inefficiency, we have a choice between fluorescent and LED lighting.

Both come in cool or warm light, so it is a personal choice as to which light you prefer. Warm light has a golden glow which will enhance warm colours but can dull cooler shades. Warm light is softer and is preferred in bedrooms and living rooms.

Cool light is closer to daylight. It is brighter and lighter, but it might be too bright for some rooms.
Note: Fluorescent lights contain mercury so they need to be disposed of responsibly.


Basically there are two types of paint for interiors.

  • Water-based or acrylic paints – these can be used on walls, ceilings and furniture.

There is a choice between matt and sheen. Matt paints will hide imperfections and the good-quality matt paints, are just as washable as their sheen counterparts.

I recommend Plascon Cashmere or Plascon Polvin for interiors which are excellent quality matt paints.
Sheen Paints look luxurious and enhance deep colours – but make sure your walls are perfectly smooth. Plascon Double Velvet is a beautiful, quality paint with a velvet sheen. Don’t underestimate the quality of paint. Cheap paints do not have quality pigments or binders, they are not washable and will look shoddy after a short while, which means you’ll have to paint again sooner rather than later.

  • Enamel paints – for doors, skirting and window frames.

These paints are now available in water-based options. Water-based enamels are not only better quality but much better for the environment. When choosing an enamel paint for your trim, always insist on the water-based option. I recommend Waterbased Velvaglo.


If you like a paint colour mentioned in a magazine, be sure to check the actual paint swatch first before buying the paint. Lighting, as mentioned, can make the colour look quite different in print. Tip: I often find a colour looks more intense when painted on a wall than it does on the much smaller swatch card, so I look for a slightly lighter and muted hue than the colour I am drawn to on the swatch card.
Buy a tester pot of the paint colour and paint it on a 1 x 1 metre piece of card. This way you see how the colour looks on different walls during different times of the day. You can also look at it against the flooring, sofa and curtains.

Taking the time to go through these tips are fun and you may discover a creative side you never knew you had…

WORDS: Anne Roselt

This post originally appeared on www.anneroselt.com


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