So now you're colour scheming like a pro? (You will be if you've read Parts 1-3) You've shortlisted a bunch of colours. Next stage is to test them out. Let's buy some sample pots.
Save yourself time not money
Too many times I've skimped by only buying 2-3 sample pots only to find that they're not quite right. Then it's back to the shop/website to buy another followed by yet another visit to buy one more - Argh! If you've got 5+ colours on your shortlist buy them all now. For the sake of another £4 per pot it'll save you so much time. Whilst you're at it buy a good quality roll of wallpaper lining paper too.
NB Dulux will send you mini testers in the post for £1.49 - bargain!
Paint 'em up
Here's where you need your lining paper. Take a good meter of paper per colour and paint the whole piece. Leave to dry. Now you have portable large-scale colour samples. Take each colour and stick them on the wall that receives the most light, then the darkest wall. If the paint will be on any horizontals such as shelves lay the samples down too. This will give you the best idea of how the colours look in the actual room and at different times of the day and under artificial light be it vibrant or dull, yellow or pink tinge, cold or warm. It's possible that you'll also spot colours which work better together immediately.
You should by now know which colours to use so here's a paint calculator to help you get your paint quantities right but if you still haven't decided by now call us at The Open Plan as we'll be happy to help.
Should you have sample pots or paint left over please don't throw them out. Instead take a look at our post on decorating ideas with un-used paint. Alternatively, you can donate your paint to re-cycling schemes such as Community Repaint based at local refuse sites across London and the UK who will redistribute paint to worthy causes and even re-process old paint into brand new paint as well as recycle the plastic pots and tins.
Do you find yourself staring blankly at paint charts, loving the bright yellow or charcoal grey but returning to beige and white in fear of having a custard coloured kitchen or dingy master bedroom? Part 3 of this guide walks you through how to work a paint chart and get experimental.
Paint Charts - Let's turn these little booklets of confusion into pro-decorating tools.
Easy as I, II, III
First, there are the easy to use tonal charts some of the best being Dulux, Little Greene, Paint and Paper Library and Bert and May. All of these group shades together making it easy to confidently choose several shades in seconds. From this you can allocate a different shade to different areas and items in the room - easy! If you then want a stronger shade just dip into the darker colours on the chart. For example, Paint and Paper's Plaster I-V would go brilliantly with a shock of Rhubarb and Little Greene's French Grey shades would sit perfectly with anything from Green Verditer to Atomic Red.
Cut it Up
Now cut up your paint chart making sure to keep the colour name with the paint chip. This is preferable to wrestling with a paint chart trying to get two colours to meet up. Then have fun placing the colour chips in pleasing groups on a white piece of card or paper which'll help you see their true colours. You'd be surprised how dark an off-white can look against pure white. To make life even easier take the chips that match your inspiration image (see blog Parts 1 & 2) and assemble them. Now you're getting somewhere. Don't be afraid to use several paint charts to find the colours you need, just make sure that you keep tabs on which charts the chips came from.
If you can get the paint stores in question, then you'll be able to play with their larger showroom samples. Upsizing your paint chips and seeing the colour as a larger expanse really helps you to decide on your colours. Most of the boutique paint shops offer this option and have well trained staff to help you in the decision making process. I do this all the time, so you should too.
I wasn't planning on it but think I'll do a Part 4 - Sample Pots watch out for it.....
Just thought I'd alert you lucky people to the new colour range in The Dulux 'Heritage' collection. The chart is ordered to show harmonious colours together with a "we've done the work for you" specially selected white that will coordinate effortlessly with the other tones in the same column.
And here's the link to get yourself a free colour chart. Get Some!
One of London's Best Interiors Bloggers (Ideal Home magazine), The Open Plan Interior Design, London produces contemporary interiors for homes and business' and this very useful home interiors blog