how to test new paint colour ideas

I get a lot of people ask me how I'm willing to take such risks with my home decor. I think they're expecting me to say 'oh, it just comes naturally' but I have to be honest my friends, that would be a lie! 

Ok, over the years my eye for colour and statements has improved and my confidence has grown, but that's due to spending time learning the rules of interior design and the processes involved over a space of time. And let me tell you, there were plenty of mistakes back in the early days of renting our first flat! 

But, assuming you don't have hours to spend pouring over design techniques, I'm here to give you a little shortcut on how to test your new paint colour ideas and see if they will work in your room in 5 easy steps. 

1. Find inspiration
If you're feeling a little bit scared of colour or just lacking some inspiration, use popular sites like Pinterest or take a look through some interior design magazines (I love Elle decoration and Living etc for contemporary looks), and start making a scrapbook or pinboard of any wall colour ideas that you are attracted to. At this point, don't worry about if they are 'right' for you or your home. Just go with what you are drawn to. This is the best way to get your creative juices flowing without limitation. 

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2. Order colour charts
Whilst you are working on creating some inspiration references, go online and order paint colour charts from all of the major and designer paint suppliers. Some you may have to pay a small fee for, but they are great to keep and reference back to again and again. It's also a great way to see how colours from differing brands sit next to each other WITHOUT having to paint them into your wall.

3. Create a colour palette
Now that you have a selection of images that you are attracted to, start to narrow it down. Which colours will work best with the furniture that you already have in the room? Do you want a dark, atmospheric look, something statement or just bright and clean? Even if at this point this is all you know, that's great. Think about the trim of skirting and woodwork, as it's likely you will want to have this in another shade.

how to test new paint colour ideas

4. Try in differing light conditions
Use your paint charts to pick out your colour selections, even if they are rough. Now hold up each colour to each wall. You will start to notice that on walls that are reached by natural light the paint will take on a different colour to those more in the shade. Make sure a colour you like then doesn't come across too light or dark in different areas of the room. Also try this at different times of the day, one in natural daylight and one in evening artificial light.

5. Make testers
You should now have an idea of some shades you'd like to try out. The old fashioned way was to order paint tester pots and paint them on small sections of the wall. STOP! Small sections of paint only on one wall will not give you an accurate representation for all of the reasons listed in step 4. Instead, paint sheets of A4 or even better A3 card or paper, wait for them to dry and then try bluetacking them to the different walls again in differing light conditions to see how they work.

After these 5 steps you should have a great idea of what colours will work in your room and feel more confident in making your selection. Don't rush this process, choosing the right colour that will work in different lighting conditions, inspires you AND fits with your already existing furniture takes a little research. But once it's right, it'll last a while and save you from repainting in a few months time when you realise the colour doesn't quite sit how you thought it might from the shade on the can. Trust me, I've done it!

Sarah x