The colour on my living room walls is looking old and faded. I want to choose a new colour scheme but I don’t know where to start. Help!”
Struggling to settle on a colour for your walls? You’re not alone. Almost a third of homeowners interviewed in a Dulux survey admitted that finding the right colour combination was the main thing stopping them from redecorating their home.
But choosing your colours doesn’t have to be a chore. There are plenty of tools and tricks you can use to help you find the perfect palette.
Try your colours before you buy
The Dulux Visualizer app gives you an instant digital preview of how your room will look once it’s painted, so you can see your finished colour scheme before you’ve even ordered your paint. Try now on iOS | Try now on Android
It’s so easy to use. All you have to do is point your camera phone or tablet at the wall you want to paint, select the colours you want to try out, and tap on the walls you want to paint. Don’t like what you see? Use the app to match the colour of your favourite scarf, or another treasured object, with a similar shade from the Dulux palette.
Still not sure where to start? Follow these simple colour combining rules to help you pick the perfect pairing every time.
Harmonious colour schemes
Harmonious colour schemes are one of the easiest to get right. They’re created by combining colours that sit close together on the colour wheel – a tool used by artists and designers to see how different colours interact with one another.
Pink, purple and blue is a good example of a harmonious scheme, but you can put together your own palette by picking any colours that sit side-by-side on the wheel.
For a calm and balanced look, stick to two or three hues only and choose one colour as an accent, keeping the background colours more subdued.
Complementary colour schemes
Also known as contrasting colour schemes, these are created by combining colours from opposite sides of the colour wheel – red and green, blue and orange, purple and yellow. The two colours enhance one another, with each making the other feel more vivid.
Complementary schemes are less easy to get right thanks to their clashing nature, but they can look incredibly striking. The trick is to pick one colour as the main base of your scheme and add the complementary colour in accents.
For example, you could bring a living room with blue walls and curtains to life with a smattering of orange cushions and accessories.
Split complementary schemes
If you’re looking for a bit more of a challenge, you might want to give a split complementary scheme a go.
Instead of using colours that sit directly opposite each other on the colour wheel, replace one of the complementary colours with the colours from either side of it – red with lime green and turquoise, for example.
Again, the secret to nailing this look is to get the right proportions. Pale tones of lime green and turquoise will make a harmonious backdrop, perked up by occasional punches of red.
These are sometimes called tonal schemes because they involve layering up different tones of the same colour. You might, for example, have pale blue walls, with a medium blue sofa and dark blue cushions and curtains.
Make sure you throw in plenty of texture and pattern to stop the scheme from feeling flat. Incorporating white will also help break up the look so it doesn’t become too overpowering or samey.
Once you’ve used the Visualizer to find a colour (or a few colours!) you like, it’s a good idea to order a tester pot before you buy. Natural and artificial light can radically alter how colour appears on your walls, so paint a piece of paper and use tape to hang it up at various points to see if your happy with how it looks in different types of light.