A recent article by Kate @ madaboutthehouse.com gave some great advice on getting started with decorating. I agree with pretty much everything she says in this article, especially that if you have curtains they HAVE to be floor length – it’s the law. Dormer windows may be the exception – depends on the shape & angles you are working with – but pretty much it’s the LAW.

The point in the article that caught my attention and gave me reason to pause was her advice re paint – on woodwork, walls, ceilings. I love paint and I love colour. Using paint creatively is a core part of what I teach in the colour courses I deliver at the Dulux Academy @ AkzoNobel in Slough. Using the fifth wall (the ceiling) and shaping the way a room looks and feels with colour is just so impactful! In my own home I use lots of paint effects. If you look at the portfolio section of my website you’ll see I use A LOT OF COLOUR in my commercial projects – lots of colour, lots of paint effects – lots of fun! From painting window recesses, feature walls, bubbles, stripes, zoning with colour, using camouflage techniques, to playing with a rooms’ dimensions by playing with colour & paint in all sorts of creative ways!

However, I think I might have been a bit lazy with my residential clients… or rather a little nervous of making suggestions that might seem unusual to them.

Whilst my clients come to me for advice and guidance, I am always wary of pushing them too far out of their comfort zone – after all they have to live in the space when I have left. Paint effects are one of the areas where most of my clients feel happier sticking with what they know (the same colour on all 4 walls!) – and in some cases this IS the right choice. Whilst the majority of my clients DO end up with woodwork and ceilings in at least an off-white or neutral (rather than a pure white), I think the time has come when I need to PUSH my domestic clients (and myself) a little harder with our paint colour choices.

A paint effect doesn’t have to be bold colour or lots of it – although dark, moody tones can be used so effectively to create a cossetting effect in a bedroom or lounge – and a dark colour in a small WC can add amazing drama. Using colour can be as simple as layering neutrals – using subtly different shades to give a space a different dimension. There are, after all, so many shades to choose from.

That doesn’t mean that all of my future clients are going to be presented with a mad splash of colour and whacky paint effects, far from it. It just means that I am going to give a lot more consideration to how brave my clients really are, remember that they are paying me for my expertise, and use all the colour and paint knowledge I have in clever and thoughtful ways to really make the most of every space I design.

And if you are about to decorate? Take a look at the article by Kate (she has a book too!), draw inspiration from sites like Pinterest and decide how you could be a little braver or more considered with your use of colour. Think about zoning an area in a room (like a desk or dressing table) in a feature paint colour. Use a different paint colour to draw attention to an architectural feature for a focal point or wow factor, and conversely use one colour across all architectural features in a space for a more calming and classic look. Consider painting your ceiling a different colour than white – especially in a room where you may spend more time looking up like the bathroom or bedroom!

You can read the full article referenced above by Kate Watson-Smyth here