Cool and clever ways with paint

Brush up on these creative ways with paint to bring colour and imaginative flair to schemes

Art attack

Tap into your inner artist with a fabulous wall mural. ‘Take your inspiration from a favourite design in the room – it could be a print, ornament or cushion – and use the colour picking tool in the free Dulux Visualizer app, which lets you see colours on the wall and explore shades in your motif,’ says Dulux creative director Marianne Shillingford. ‘For a striking geometric design, all you need is masking tape and a small foam roller.’

PROJECT DETAILS A focal point in fashion designer Alice Temperley’s house, this large-scale oral motif not only adds a burst of colour and pattern but also leads the eye upwards, drawing attention to the room’s impressive double height. For similar stencils and custom options, try The Stencil Studio.

Dynamic duo

Splitting a wall with two tones looks modern and sharp. ‘A light hue above a darker one makes a room seem larger,’ says Charlotte Crosby, head of creative at Farrow & Ball. A dado or picture rail makes a good divider, but where you draw the line will depend on the room’s features and where the light falls.

PROJECT DETAILS This room’s low dado rail makes a natural split. For a similar paint shade, try Fresco Blue 1829 chalky emulsion, £35 for 2.5L, Craig & Rose.

Dark and moody

If it’s maximum drama you’re after, it pays to be brave. Using a single colour for your entire scheme, ceiling and all, will pack a punch and instantly enhance the mood. ‘For a sumptuous effect, choose a rich, deep shade to envelop the room in saturated hue,’ says Peter Gomez, head of design at Zoffany.

Dark tones such as emerald green, inky grey or midnight blue will also create a warm, cocooning feel. ‘For extra impact, carry the colour through to soft furnishings with plush textures such as velvets,’ Peter adds. You could also add an accent colour as a streak of contrast on woodwork or architectural details for definition.

PROJECT DETAILS This living room scheme features a sea of deep greens and rich textures to create a dramatic yet harmonious feel. Flashes of metallics and a dash of contrasting colour in the accessories heighten the glamour. Walls are painted in Huntsman Green elite emulsion, £49 for 2.5L; woodwork in Taylors Grey acrylic eggshell, £34 for 1L; sofa in Quartz Velvet in Teal, £117m, all Zoffany.

Gloss over

For a standout scheme, a gloss or lacquered wall creates an alluring shine. ‘When we do lacquered finishes, we tend to go for jewel tones and darker shades as they feel so rich and enticing,’ says interior designer Lucy Barlow of Barlow & Barlow.

‘A gloss finish is ideal for smaller rooms, such as a cloakroom, or spaces used for entertaining at night, as it will bounce the light around beautifully – especially when you do the ceiling as well. If your budget won’t stretch to lacquering, you can use gloss paint on woodwork such as skirting, doors or cabinets for a similar effect,’ Lucy adds.

PROJECT DETAILS Painted in a luminous shade of green, the walls of this study, including the section of brickwork, have been given the gloss treatment. A gold-leaf ceiling and charred parquet flooring crank up the luxe factor, making for a most glamorous workspace. For a similar green, try Buckingham paint mixing gloss, £41.90 for 2.5L, Dulux. For similar flooring, try Karndean.

See more Statement Ceilings.

In the zone

Colour is a great way to break up open-plan spaces and create zones that mark the difference between where you cook, say, and where you relax. Choose shades that work with the function of each area and the ambience you want to create there.

‘Instead of painting the whole wall, which slips into feature wall territory, I think it works really well when you take the paint over woodwork and up onto the ceiling, almost creating a cube shape in the corner of a room,’ says interior designer Sophie Robinson. ‘Also, creating a frame around a feature such as a collection of artwork or library nook is a striking way to set it apart.’

PROJECT DETAILS Bubblegum pink frames the lounge area in this open-plan space , while the hallway beyond sports a dramatic fire-engine red, which is ideal for making an entrance. The wall is painted in Nancy’s Blushes and the panelling in Charlotte’s Locks, both estate emulsion, £43.50 for 2.5L, Farrow & Ball. Planter in Scallion pure flat emulsion, £49.50 for 2.5L, Paint & Paper Library.

Bold accents

Highlight elements of your schemes you might otherwise overlook – window frames or shelves just need a splash of colour to stand out. ‘Don’t be afraid to experiment – look for the least obvious tone in accessories, fabrics or wallpaper and choose paint in a similar hue for your accent,’ says David Mottershead, managing director of Little Greene.

‘Using contrasting or even clashing colours is very powerful, but harmonising shades in the same tone can be equally effective – it’s really a question of personal taste. Remember to sample colours first, though – that’s one of the most important rules of decorating,’ David adds.

PROJECT DETAILS In this bathroom, the window frame and ceiling have been accentuated with dashes of sunny orange and ultramarine, giving the period space a contemporary feel. Walls are painted in Flint, ceiling in Deep Space Blue and window frame in Marigold, all from £22.50 for 1L absolute matt emulsion, Little Greene.

Feel-good factor

‘Colour can have a big influence on how we feel,’ says Judy Smith, Crown colour consultant. ‘As a guide, warm tones such as red and yellow are stimulating, while cool colours such as blue and green tend to be more restful. This differs from person to person, so if bright yellow in a bedroom makes you feel rested, go for it.’

PROJECT DETAILS Designed by Studio Ashby, this bedroom features a surprisingly bright shade of yellow and eye-catching pattern for a sunny start to every day. English Yellow chalk paint, £19.95 for 1L, Annie Sloan, is a similar shade. The headboard is upholstered in Le Temps Du Reve, Pierre Frey.

See these decorating tips from Farrow & Ball’s colour expert.

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