9 Failproof Wall Paint Colours, According to a Top Interior Designer

Whether it’s your living room, kitchen or bedroom, your home can start to feel dated after some time. Sure, you could redecorate your entire space with a bundle of new furniture and expensive decorative accents if you can financially afford it. But if you want a simpler way to give your home a refresh, all you need is a new colour of paint. 

Whether you want a subtle change from crisp white to creamy beige, or want to repaint your walls with a bold trendy colour such as earthy pink or olive green, this little update can make a huge difference - minus the time and effort.

However, we all know choosing a paint colour can seem nearly impossible, even once you’ve narrowed your options down (who even knew there were so many hues of white?). To help you navigate the paint aisle and make your decision a little easier, we asked Australian interior designer and owner of MARG. Studio Emily MacAlpine, for her expert advice on everything you need to know when it comes to repainting your humble abode. 

How to choose the perfect paint colour

Before you go ahead and buy buckets of the same paint, there are a few things you need to consider so you’re confident with your colour choice. 

Firstly, why are you repainting? “Do you like the feel of the room but it just needs to be fresher? Or do you want to change the atmosphere in there?,” MacAlpine tells Bed Threads Journal. “For example, you might have a room that is very dark that you want to make feel lighter or vice versa.”

Secondly, do a sample patch - and this doesn’t mean a tiny patch in the bottom corner of a room.

“You must, must, must paint big - at least A3 size - patches of paint directly onto your walls if possible,” she stresses. “An even better trick is to paint square pieces of gyprock so you can move them around the house in different lights. Paint the swatches far enough away from each other so you don’t get distracted by them. Experience these swatches at different times of day to determine which one gives the right feeling to the space.”

If you’re really doubting your choice, you can always seek help from experts. Paint companies often provide colour consultant services, which are often redeemable on the product.

How to choose the right paint colour for each room

Each room serves a different purpose, so the colour of the walls will have a big impact on how you feel in each room. For a more detailed explanation of this, here’s a complete guide on how you can incorporate colour therapy into your home.

But it’s not only the colour that should be a deciding factor; MacAlpine notes you need to consider the 'finish' of the paint, too.

“Make sure you are having a conversation with your painter about the finish of each room to ensure the function of the space matches the finish of the paint. For example, a more durable finish might be needed in a high traffic or wet area of a kitchen.

“Also, different brands of paint give different types of finishes. I know Porter’s Paints give a really delicate eggshell type finish, which I think feels great in a bedroom.” 

9 best failproof paint colours for your home 

For those wanting a neutral or white colour...

Dulux Lexicon

“This is a fantastic white that isn’t quite white. “Don’t be fooled by the on-screen swatch that almost looks blue.”

MacAlpine says this colour is perfect if you want to give warmth to a space that has stark white lighting.

Haymes Inviting Breeze

“Haymes Inviting Breeze is a white that probably has a little more depth in colour than Lexicon, and I think is a nice compromise for anyone wanting to paint their walls grey without making it feel boring.”

Dulux Snowy Mountain

MacAlpine used this colour in quarter-strength for one of her clients’ worker’s cottage. 

“We wanted a white that could be used throughout the whole house which had an exposed brick wall to the living room and many different levels of lighting that changed the wall colour. Snowy Mountain Quarter gave us the most seamless finish to bring together all the different spaces.

“Again, don’t be fooled by the on screen colour of this one and make sure you are always doing test swatches.”

For those wanting brighter colours...

“It can be tempting to pick brighter colours you are drawn to. I give this advice with caution as my experience using more muted or pared back colours is the best way to give colour to your room without overwhelming the senses,” MacAlpine warns. “The brighter colours usually come in through styling and accessories, and these are more subtle and easier to change around.”

Blue and green

“Dulux Too Blue is just the right amount of blue for anyone looking to paint their space a more vivid shade of blue. It would also look great as an accent colour to the rear of built in joinery or a smaller space.”

Pink and red

“Dulux Energy Peak or Exotic Incense are less bold than a true red or clear pink. These colours will change depending what kind of light and other colours you have near them.”

For those wanting a trending colour…

Instead of repainting your walls in a single trendy colour that will soon go out of trend after a few months, MacAlpine suggests a great way to use them sparingly is by combining colours together. 

For example, by combining 2021’s Pantone colours yellow and grey, you end up with a warm khaki. 

“Painting your wall with either Haymes’ Garden Wall,  Beech Forest or even Leek Leaf if you want something lighter, would be the perfect complement for a space that uses yellows, greys and blacks in the interior scheme,” MacAlpine explains. “I also think these greens have a lot of depth and character to them so they provide the perfect backdrop to a room that you won’t get bored of. Green also makes us feel tranquil and at peace, which I think is an important quality to give to some rooms of our homes.”

Prep work is just as important

Regardless of what colour paint you choose to use, it’s important to remember that it isn’t a permanent decision and you can always change your walls. What’s most important is that if you’re doing a DIY paint job, prep work is key. 

“Make sure you do the proper prep work, including using tape and ‘cutting in’. Also, apply enough coats of paint because there’s nothing worse than seeing a paint job that’s just a little too thin.”

Emily MacAlpine is an interior designer and Director of MARG. Studio. Follow her on Instagram @bemoremarg.

Your star sign can reveal a lot about the colour you should paint your walls. Find out what your sign says here.

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