I am a millennial, born into an era characterised by its magnolia-painted walls and greige carpets. Among an addiction to oat milk flat whites, a wardrobe of exclusively high-waisted garments and a dusty collection of late-nineties tapes from which I could never part, I also harbour a weakness for colour in the home, a quiet act of rebellion against the clotted cream walls of my childhood home. My parents’ generation is still reeling from wallpaper borders, brightly carpeted bathrooms and their parents’ penchant for matching wallpaper to curtain to cushion, so much so that each anachronistic instance of the 1960s and 70s style today feels to them a personal affront. Having been spared this same aesthetic hangover, I see colourful expression in the home as something to celebrate, not cower from. According to interior designers, the best and simplest way to begin to bring colour into the home is with paint, so here are a few tips from the best in the business to get started with paint in interesting and impactful ways.
Justyna Korczynska, senior designer at Crown
“If you are looking for a truly spectacular wall statement, you can create a mural. Murals generally work best in large, uncluttered spaces. If the space is limited, go for one based on simple geometric free-hand shapes. It will still work well providing a high impact. You can make a focal point mural by painting out a large square on a powder blue wall in a deep toning colour that can run over architectural details like doors and architrave for maximum effect. Pastels are surprisingly versatile and work equally well with very modern architecture or traditional features – they help to accentuate the underlying style when they are used all over walls and can even go on woodwork and ceilings.”
Crown’s new Walls & Ceilings collection is the first paint range in the UK to be awarded Vegan Verification by an independent testing house, Eurofins. £18 for 2.5l crownpaints.co.uk
Annie Sloan, colour and paint expert
“Plain white tiles in the kitchen or bathroom can be utterly transformed with paint. To achieve the ever-popular checkerboard look, simply choose two of your favourite colours and alternate on each tile. It’s super simple, yet super chic! Geometric shapes on tiles also look fabulous and modern and are easy peasy to create. Use bowls and plates, you don’t need anything more over-complicated than that.
Elsewhere in the home, be just as intuitive and experimental using an abundance of brightly coloured hues. This can create a real sense of joy. Paint staircases, furniture, vases, bowls, lamp bases, even lamp shades, in the colours and styles you’d never dared before.”
Annie Sloane’s Chalk Paint™ adheres to almost all surfaces – wood, ceramic, metal, marble and most plastics. £23.95 for 1l, anniesloan.com
Steve Corcoran, decorating consultancy manager at House of Hackney
“Highlighting architectural features with contrasting colours will help to emphasise them and create more character. Or if there are none, then creating them by using playful stencils can add a point of interest to a plain space. Playful details such as painting a ceiling in a strong colour can also help transform a space and make it feel so atmospheric. In a bedroom we recently designed, we picked up on the wisteria outside the window, so the bedroom echoes the palette of organic greens and silvery purples, which work beautifully together.”
Each paint tin sold enables House of Hackney to purchase and protect 35 square metres of forest, thanks to our partnership with the World Land Trust. £65 for 2.5l, houseofhackney.com
Martin Waller, founder of Andrew Martin
“Never make the mistake of thinking your home is finished: it evolves as life unfolds. With paint, you can very simply and easily transform a room. To get started, choose colours that set off your favourite piece of art, textiles, photographs or whatever you wish to adorn your walls with. Paint is the backdrop to all interiors and your personality can be stamped all over it, so it needs to feel right in the space.”
Andrew Martin’s A Journey Through Colour paint collection has virtually no odour and great opacity. £51 for 2.5l, andrewmartin.co.uk
Emma Deterding, founder and creative director, Kelling Designs
“A talented decorative painter can create a bespoke finish that can not only transform a room, but set the tone and texture for the space. From modern linen effects and panelling, through to dragging or even ragging (many people will remember this from the 1980s and 90s), these beautiful effects can bring colour and depth to a room which would not be achievable through wallpaper, flat paint or fabrics. They are true magicians with colour and can see and combine many different shades within the effect – something which is just so standout and unique.
In this project, our own showroom in London, we created a panelled room from a plain wall using paint to add interest, definition and detailing to surround the fireplace while creating a beautiful focal point. We used the same colour palette to create different looks throughout the showroom to allow our clients to experience them in the flesh, and be inspired to allow us to include them in their design schemes. The fireplace was even made to look like limestone – we had no budget to remove the existing one, which was hideous and white. It just goes to show what can be achieved with paint, clever design and the best of the best design talent.”