The Power of Paint

12 Nov 2020

The Power of Paint

In a bid to bring some cheer to our lives, this month’s blog is all about being brave with colour. 

Contemporary living room green walls, teal blue sofa, sideboard with statement lamp

From beige to green: a living room transformed

Colour is something that I’m known for in my interiors design schemes and my clothing. I mean, I’m sat here wearing emerald green blazer and trousers! Mind you, I avoided wearing green for years when my hair was dyed red because I thought green made me look like a leprechaun. But since I went blonde, I can’t get enough of it.

Green has also made quite an impact in quite a few of my interior schemes, from the beautiful green island from my big 2019 project to this sitting room. It’s a family home in Ilkley where painted walls in particular have totally transformed the home.

I truly believe that painting the walls is the easiest and cheapest way to bring colour into a room. Plus if it doesn’t feel right – and it does happen – it’s relatively easy to change. But if you find the idea of painting a wall a colour other than pale grey or a neutral off-white scary, here are three thoughts to keep in mind.

‘Painting the walls is the easiest and most cost-effective way of transforming a space and bringing colour into a room.’​

1. Go for a bold wall colour

Welcome to the family living room in this latest Ilkley project, which is a riot of deep green and teal blue. I chose an intense green (Dulux 97GY 07/135) for three of the walls which is a bold choice, but it looks stunning. The room has light flooding in through the windows while the white ceilings, pale carpet, botanical print feature wall and grey sofa all work together to break up the intense green.

And I love teal blue and green together, which is picked up in the cushions and armchairs and echoed in the rug and artwork on the wall. 

Unexpected colour pairings

Teal blue may be not a colour that you’d immediately think of pairing with the dark green, but I love it precisely because it is unexpected.

And the pictures below show another example of dipping your toe into colour , this time in the master bedroom. This time it’s the eye catching padded, pink headboard which acts as a foil to the dominant wall colour, a deep navy, Scotch Blue by Farrow & Ball.  It brings softness, opulence and luxury to the room.

Contemporary living room, green walls, botanical wallpaper and rug reflecting the greens and blues in the room
Master bedroom with cream walls and simple grey divan bed before being transformed

2. Look at the whole room

The thing to remember is that there are three surfaces in a room. Walls, ceiling and floor. Often, we just focus on the walls, but ceilings don’t have to be white (as I showed in last month’s blog). And flooring doesn’t have to be restricted to beige carpet either. Rugs are a fantastic way to bring an immediate jolt of colour to a room. Did you spot the rug in the living room of the Ilkley home?

Vibrant yellow stools add a jolt of colour to this industrial style kitchen

3. Don’t forget the woodwork and radiators

Skirting boards, panelling, doors and architraves can all be painted the same colour as the walls. This is great if you want to create a more contemporary feel to a room. For example, my navy living room has the walls and woodwork all painted in the same Dulux Heritage Oxford blue. But the woodwork, in my pink living room is white. Talking of which….


A collection of antique mirrors above a well loved Chesterfield makes for a cosy sitting room

From grey brown to salmon pink walls, mistakes do happen

I’m going to let you into a secret. My pink living room didn’t start out pink. It was originally painted Mouse’s Back, a grey brown shade from Farrow and Ball. Not a colour you’d associate with me. Looking back I can see that I got it wrong because I chose the colour without having thought about the rest of the room. I thought it would work with the background colour on my patterned sofa but combined with the off-white carpet and oak floors, it just looked a bit meh.

And that’s why my ever so patient decorator ended up repainting the walls, this time in Pink Nevada 2 by Dulux. So, I do know that the interiors choices we make in our homes don’t always go to plan. But believe me when I say that painting a wall is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to ring the changes in a room.

Rich colours, antiques and collectibles and a patterned sofa bring personality to this busy family home

‘I love colour, but I also know that breaking it up can also really

let it sing and let you breathe.’

The Great Indoors – colour chat with Matthew Williamson

I really enjoyed the latest edition of The Great Indoors podcast, featuring fashion and interiors designer Matthew Williamson.

‘Pink and green are my neutrals’ Matthew says, and I agree but I’d also add in leopard!

During the chat he said that sometimes he just walks into a room and knows that it has to be green (or presumably some other colour!). I’ll be honest, I squealed when I heard this, because I do the same but hadn’t really heard anyone say that out loud before.

I think it’s because colour comes naturally to me. But more than that, I work with colour every day so I feel comfortable around it. Plus I’ve seen the results when clients, with my guidance, have found the confidence to be brave and embrace colour. That might be agreeing to paint a living room wall a deep green, or it might be adding a colourful rug. Either way, it’s all about designing homes and interiors that reflect the personalities of the people living there. And seeing the smiles when a project finishes is the ultimate reward.

So here’s to having the confidence to embrace more colour in your life and home!

Photography by Heidi Marfitt, Colin Poole and Mark Harrison.

If you want to add a gallery you can do that here. Otherwise, right click on each section to delete it.

Vibrant yellow stools add a jolt of colour to this industrial style kitchen

Concrete floors, stainless steel countertops and pops of colour mean this kitchen has plenty of personality

Rich coral walls and a turquoise sofa give personality and life to this family home

Parquet flooring perfectly complement the marble tiles in this glamorous en suite bathroom

Two oversized mirrors bring drama to this elegant double sink

A space where you can sit for a few moments after a busy day is a great addition to a bedroom