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Developing a Colour Scheme
Developing a colour scheme for your house is one of the most important things that you will do that has an impact on your day-to-day living experience.

Defining the space

If you're about to paint a room a good starting point is to make specific plans for each feature in the room. Consider separately, for example, the floor, each separate wall, the skirtings, architraves and door joinery, window joinery, cornice and ceiling.

Also consider other major contributors to the effect you want: drapery, upholstery, loose joinery/furniture, fixed joinery/furniture, switches/sockets, light fittings and door and window hardware.  You will also need to register some sense of the size and dimensions of this space and the light that fills it (natural and artificial).

Developing a Colour Scheme

Colours and finishes

Now start to think about the type of colour scheme or schemes that you want to use in the rooms. Now is the time to consider how each room will flow into the next (we always catch glimpses of adjoining rooms) and think about the theme or style you want to achieve.

Determine which is to be the base or dominant colour for the scheme. Is it flooring, is it an existing paint scheme, drapery or a combination of all?  Of course, you can start with something totally new. Now next to each element listed in the space description note the colour and the finish that you have chosen.

Developing a Colour Scheme


If you need help in visualising how this design will work gather up all of the samples, swatches or brushouts you've collected. Collate them onto a display board and see how they work together. Change some of the samples over until you are happy with the combination.

Once you have all the colours in the overall scheme you want, document it for future reference in case you want to change something or if you just want to refresh with the same colour (and you can't remember the name or sheen level)

This now gives you a well-documented colour scheme to work with. This should make your project run smoothly with no unexpected surprises and giving you the greatest chance of getting the finished effect you want.

As you become more experienced with colour, you will have a clearer idea of what you want to achieve and a better language to communicate this to painters, consultants, hardware shops and so on.