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12 traps for beginners

15 Jun 2017

Colour expert and stylist Megan Harrison-Turner warns of what not to do when starting out.

1. Using a standard ceiling white with a neutral colour scheme. If you are using a colour off the Resene Whites & Neutrals collection on your walls, use a paler version of it on the ceiling, and not a standard white.

2. Leaving skimpy skirting in natural wood or painting them an accent colour. If you have a small skirting (so not a decorative villa or bungalow-style skirting) paint it the same colour as the wall, but in a higher gloss level (Resene Enamacryl is perfect for this). It will appear slightly paler as the gloss reflects more light, but it won’t draw attention to itself.

3. Highlighting skirting boards and scoria when the room has a low or standard ceiling height. This will create two horizontal lines, which sandwich the walls and makes the room feel smaller and the ceiling lower.

4. Ditto for a wardrobe door. It’s a door so there’s no need to draw attention to it. Wrap the room in one colour and it will appear more seamless, allowing your eye to rest on the more interesting aspects of a room.

5. Choosing too many colours for a space. Keep your colour palette under control. See Megan’s room recipe article. [link]

6. Choosing a bright colour from a small paint chip. Use a Resene testpot! Look at the colour painted in the biggest size you can in the room and with all the furnishings. Paint the colour on a piece of card and prop it up behind the sofa, hold it next to the curtains, check it with the carpet. Do this in both the day and night light. Colour can do strange things to a space. A seemingly intense enough beige/neutral can wash out to nothing on an exterior house wall that’s blasted by the sun. And a green can be overpowering in a room when the colour is bounced back on itself from the walls.

7. Displaying everything. Collections are wonderful. So are heirlooms and treasures from your travels. But don't try and show them off all at once. Visually it’ll be so busy there will be nowhere for the eye to rest. Change the displays with the seasons. Bringing them out of storage will feel like being reuniting with long lost friends and your room will look better too.

8. Painting all the walls white until you renovate or “just while the kids are young.” If you are choosing white walls, be sure you have fabulous furniture. White will silhouette the furniture in a way no other colour will. Creams or taupes are far more forgiving. Mixing white and a colour brings out the truth in a colour, so a pastel will pop (or scream) against white.

9. Creating a colour scheme that ignores the existing flooring because it will be changed in a year or three. It’s better to choose wall colours that work with the not-so-favourite flooring. This will make it disappear instead of drawing attention to its non-coordinating flaws. Paint is easy and affordable to change so if the scheme doesn’t work with future flooring, just break out the paint brushes.

10. Choosing too light a colour for an exterior. Natural light, especially in this part of the world, will knock back the intensity of any colour, so err on the side of a darker or more saturated shade. Always use a large sample painted in a Resene testpot on various sides of the house to test your colour.

11. Choosing an exterior colour scheme using two neutral variations that sit next to each other on the chart. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule but more often than not, the wall and trim colours look much better if they are two clicks away from each other, not just one. So use Resene Double Sea Fog on the cladding, and Resene Half Sea Fog on the trims (not straight Resene Sea Fog).

12. Changing your mind. For your budget’s sake, stick with the plan once you have made it. Do your homework then trust yourself. Changing your mind about the tiles or the layout of the bathroom will cost extra time and money.

Megan Harrrison-Turner is a stylist and colour expert, see