Choosing paint and wallpaper for your home is not a simple task. There are endless things to consider, like the colour schemes of neighbouring rooms, the architecture of your home and your goals for the space. While there aren’t any hard and fast rules in terms of colour and pattern choices, below are some starter tips to help you make solid design decisions the first time around.
1) Spend some time mulling over what you like and what you want. What are your favourite colours? What colours make you feel good and why? Are you looking for a colour palette that reminds you of your childhood in the Rockies? Are you inspired by the muted tones of the New Mexico landscape and want to bring that feeling into your home? Are you excited to embrace bold, saturated colours after years of sticking with beige and eggshell white?
2) Think about the purpose of the room. What are the main activities you plan to do in this room? If you’re excited about wallpaper in the kitchen, for example, make sure you plan for the effects of heat, steam and food spills. “We’ve been noticing a lot of people wanting to place wallpaper in the kitchen,” says Jessica Wright, design assistant to Janise Saikaley at Uproar Paint and Paper. “To protect the wall from cooking residue or whatnot, we put a high-gloss finish on the paper,” which allows you to clean a wallpapered area as if it were high-gloss paint.
3) Consider feeling and function. Think about how you want the room to feel — and how you want to feel when you’re in it. Make sure your goals and needs for the room are being met and that your choices are functional in terms of what you need from the space. As a rule, high-traffic, high-mess areas like the kitchen and the bathroom tend to need higher-gloss paint for ease of cleaning, but other rooms can go with a flatter finish. Trim tends to be done in a higher-gloss paint, as well.
4) Accept what you can’t change about your space: how one room flows into the next, for example, or the architectural style of your house. While a major reno might transform these aspects, at this stage you’re only looking to spruce up your colour scheme. It’s best not to work against the features and style of your home in your paint and paper choices. This often backfires and makes for awkward visual contrasts.
5) Less is more. When choosing paint, try to limit your choices to one or two colours per room. While this isn’t a hard and fast rule, it does tend to keep things looking clean and uncluttered. “I would say no more than two colours, but it depends,” Wright says. “Often people will paint their trim a lighter colour than the base colour. We tend to paint ceilings a bit lighter, as well.” It’s important, also, to choose colours or patterns that complement the colours or patterns in neighbouring rooms.
6) Test a sample. Before finalizing your choices, bring home a sample and see how it looks. The quality or intensity of the light in the room might transform the look and feel of your selection, and it’s best to test it out before you go to the trouble and expense of painting or papering the whole room. “A certain paint might look like it’s off-white at the store, but when you bring it home, you can see the true undertones of the colour,” Wright says. “We recommend that people take a sample pot home and paint directly on the walls.”
7) Buy quality brands. “You’ll notice the difference,” Wright says. “Our wallpaper is pricy, but it’s really good quality. It’s all made with Farrow & Ball paint, so the paint has been brushed on the blocking, and the block print is hand-pressed onto the paper. Other wallpapers are printed with ink, but with ours, you can see the texture of the paint. It’s like a work of art, and people treat it like that.” Also, try to select products with little or no chemicals to limit your exposure to off-gassing.
8) Don’t be afraid of wallpaper. There are some interesting things happening with how wallpaper is used in home décor. “Right now, people are often doing a room all in one colour with a feature wall in wallpaper,” Wright says. “We’re also seeing people wallpaper the interiors of closets and the backs of bookshelves. People want it as an accent that their guests can appreciate.”