Advice from a Colour Consultant

Updated: May 13, 2019

#home #interior #exterior #paint #advice

Choosing colours for your home project can be a difficult decision. It's a highly complex process as there are so many options! Where do you start? What if you get it wrong? What if you waste all that time, energy and money?

By having a little insight into how Valspar colours work with each other, you'll be able to make your decisions with confidence. It will certainly take away some of the pain - and maybe even save some arguments!

Valspar Colour Wall with colour chips. In general cool colours (blue, violet or green base) are on the left side, warm colours (red, orange or yellow base) are on the right


First of all be aware that deciding on the right colour is the most difficult part of the painting process. Don't rush this stage. It may seem overwhelming at the start, after all there's around 800 colours to select from - but really it's just a process of elimination.

If you have no idea, allow time to get some inspiration, websites, magazines, driving around looking at exterior paint combinations etc. You can bring in a favourite item of clothing or a cushion cover and Valspar can match colours from your life with leading technology.

Pinterest is fantastic for collecting colour combinations and palettes like below. Get inspired and follow us on Pinterest.


Once you've narrowed down your options to 2 - 4 colours, come in store and purchase a test pot. Why an in store visit? Colour is not well represented on a screen - there are many factors that impact how the the paint looks in your home and a store visit can replicate those conditions and paint experts can also give you personal advice. Check with them about surface preparation and coverage for the size of your project (how many litres you'll need).

For interiors, paint 2 layers over a large piece of card and move it around the room. It's good to see how the paint reveals itself, so you see the effect during daylight, evening light and with artificial lighting. You'll also see how the colour works with your furnishings/floor or outdoor space.

For exteriors, you can paint 2 coats directly on the surface you are changing.

By answering some of the following questions - you'll be on the right pathway.

Interior Projects

How much natural light is in the room? If there's lots - move towards cooler colours. It not, head for warmer shades.

What sort of mood are you trying to create? Relaxing? Stimulating? High impact? Neutral? Think of the emotions you want to feel in that space. I have a blog on the psychology of colour which helps.

Do I want the room to appear bigger or more cozy? Lighter colours open up a space, dark colours make a room cozy.

How/should I make the 60:30:10 rule work? Understand that 60% of colour in a room comes from the walls/floor/ceiling. Usually a light/muted colour to ground the secondary and accent colours.

30% comes from furnishings. Usually a secondary colour and perhaps a feature wall.

10% comes from accents (cushions, linen, artwork. flowers etc) and is usually the strongest colour.

A room looks balanced when this rule is applied. However, this is really a beginners guide. It doesn't mean you need to follow it strictly. Mixing and playing with textures and colours in your own style is what matters.

Exterior Projects

What style/period is the home? Modern or character can help you decide on colours.

What colour are the permanent fixtures that I can't change? Consider roof, driveway, fences, neighbours, nature.

Is there an an architectural feature or plant/garden that could be accentuated? You can contrast or work in similar values (lightness/darkness). Front doors always look great if you select the correct accent colour.

I hope this helps you get on track. I'm always happy to answer questions via my website and you can also book an appointment - virtual or home visit - to get a complete colour palette for your home.

Have fun.


Wellington | New Zealand

  • Pinterest - White Circle
  • w-facebook
  • Twitter Clean

© 2023 by David Cam.

Proudly created with

Website Design by Beth Strickland and

This site was designed with the
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now