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Be inspired every day with Living North
blue kitchen wall with art
September 2022
Reading time 5 Minutes

We all know that paint is an excellent way to reinvent a room. It’s inexpensive, relatively quick and something you can do yourself with minimum skill. Here, Emily Henson shares an abundance of ideas for creating a fabulously bold home with imaginative us

From mildly daring to super dramatic, there is something for everyone. Unless, of course, you want to play it safe with calm, muted neutrals. In which case, you’re in the wrong place!

Featured Image: An unapologetically vibrant saturated blue shade enlivens Zoe Anderson’s dining area. The gleaming Tom Dixon copper pendant light and simple modern furniture balance out the boldness.

I want you to think about the colours you like and want in your life (later we can talk about adding colour and pattern in the form of textiles, furniture, and accessories). Nine out of the twelve homeowners we visited for Be Bold have used colourful paint to customise their homes, each of them creating totally different looks. (The other three made up for the lack of bold paint treatments with some very gutsy wallpaper and furnishings). 

You can test the waters by spray-painting something small – an old lamp base or a wooden stool perhaps. Usually people get hooked on the satisfyingly immediate results and begin spraying everything in sight! Tatty old furniture or new pine flat-pack pieces can be completely transformed with a coat of bright paint.

Read More: The Pink and Green Colour Combo That'll Look Great in Your Home

bright paint interiors

Six different paint colours plus an acid yellow sofa! Daring doesn’t even begin to describe this homeowner. She spent some time getting the colour combinations right before painting each different area. The colours are bright but not offensively so, and the overall effect is a little like looking through a kaleidoscope. 

shelfs on a bookcase

When adding colour to your rooms, you have options. If you don’t want to cover the whole room, try painting part-way up the walls and leaving the top half white. If you discover an interesting plaster finish beneath ancient wallpaper and leave this exposed, so much the better.

I prefer this look to a feature wall, which has had its moment. Alternatively, you could use two different colours on a wall – either complementary or contrasting hues – to create a simple graphic block. Another option is to create a contemporary mural, using masking tape to mark out a graphic design and painting only within the taped areas.

< Painting the inside of bookshelves the same colour as the walls and cabinet fronts immediately transforms an often overlooked space into a display case, framing the contents beautifully. Suddenly a casually arranged pile of books, a lamp and a simple jug of flowers look thoughtfully curated. 

Read More: Create a Cool Contrast of Colour With This Interior Design Trend

For those of you ready to dive in at the deep end, just go for it! What’s the worst thing that can happen? You won’t like it and you’ll have to repaint. That’s not the end of the world. Choose one shade and paint everything – walls, ceilings, doors, woodwork, radiators – for an intoxicating and enveloping effect. If this sounds like too much, choose a main colour for the walls and ceiling and one or two accents for doors, shelves and so on. Bear in mind how colours in different rooms complement each other when you look from one space to the next. I don’t mean they should ‘match’ (whatever that means), just that they should appear pleasing side by side. Notice colours that work together in fashion, nature, and art, and try them at home. Navy and orange, chartreuse and bubblegum pink, and fuchsia and olive are examples of unexpected but exciting combinations. Do some research, make a moodboard and find out what evokes a positive emotional reaction.

Read More: Take a Peek Inside This Former Vicarage on the Market for £1.8 Million

L:The architecture of this townhouse has been used to create a graphic painted swirl effect in the stairwell. The colours are rich and sophisticated and the design is simple but dynamic, leading the eye up and down the staircase. 
R: Kitsch is the name of the game in a corner of Amy Exton’s home, with ceramic cherub planters spray-painted in jazzy colours and placed alongside a tropical mural. 

Read More: Meet the Yorkshire Couple Who Set Up a Boutique Interior Design Company Inspired by their Time in Australia

Painting wooden floorboards isn’t a new idea, but rather than opt for white, why not try something more daring? Keep in mind that if your floors are bright green, you may want to tone down the furniture, going for earthy neutrals rather than strong shades. Consider painting one area only – a graphic design can delineate an area, rather like a rug. 

Lastly, don’t forget often-overlooked areas such as the interior of kitchen cabinets, window frames and stair risers. Often they are an afterthought when decorating, getting the traditional white paint treatment. Why not think of them as another opportunity to express yourself and personalise them with colour?

Be Bold with Colour and Pattern by Emily Henson, published by Ryland Peters & Small (£25) Photography by Catherine Gratwicke © Ryland Peters & Small

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