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Colour is one of the strongest elements in home decorating. For most of us planning colour schemes for the different rooms can be rewarding exercise. Before even thinking about colours, have a good look around the area that you will be decorating. Is it small or big? How much natural light will it get? Which furnishings will stay in the room and what colours are they? These thinks will all influence your choice of colours and tones. Now decide what kind of effect you want to create in your home. For a cool, spacious effect, you will tend to choose blues and greens. For a warm, and inviting feeling, colours derived from red, such as pink, apricot and some, beiges will be what you require. Yellows tend to be bright and sunny while gray is elegant and sophisticated. But what about combining colours, once you have chosen the basic effect? One of the simplest ways of creating an interesting colour scheme is to use two or three colours which, are similar, such as peach, pink and apricot. This is called harmonious colour scheme because all the colours combine comfortably. On the other hand, small amounts of colour introduced for emphasis are known as accent colours. Generally, accents are light against dark, cool against warm, pure colour against a weaker tone. If you want a dramatic combination, then contrasting colours taken from opposite ends of the colour spectrum will be what you require. Again these are light against dark, cool against warm, but used on larger surface areas than accents.

Lounge & Dining Rooms

Lounge and dining rooms are places to relax, so before making your colour choice, it's important to carefully consider the mood you want to create for these rooms. Be aware of the amount of light in each room, particularly the lounge, which tends to be used during the day more than dining room. You may not have the luxury of completely redecorating these rooms, in which case it will be important to take account of existing furnishings when choosing paint colour. Pick out architectural details in accent colours to give the room a lift or, if you feel that it is busy enough already, go for an overall harmonious colour scheme to extend the feeling of space. You can make a feature of particular areas such as fireplaces or by windows to draw attention to details an anusual combination of colours is always a refreshing change.

Kitchen & Family Rooms

Today, kitchens and family rooms are the focus of the home. Colours are important in influencing the mood of a room, and how we feel about being in it. Colour I the kitchen can be so exciting! And there are no rules about choice. Just ensure that you will be comfortable spending a lot of time surrounded by your colour selection, because kitchens are one of the most used rooms in the house. Don't be afraid to select vibrant colours, Such as red or yellow, particularly if a kitchen is smol. Family rooms are usually adjacent to kitchens, so you will need to ensure that the colours in both rooms work well together. Perhaps you can take your inspiration from the curtains or furnishings in the family room, or the colour of your kitchen bench-tops. Then select a theme for the room - do you want a warm mood, a bright and airy feeling, or a cool theme. Remember to consider the amount of available light too.

Bathrooms

As bathrooms tend to be humid, and water is often splashed on to paint work you should use paints with low sheen, semi gloss or gloss sheen levels to ensure durability in the wettest room in the house! When choosing paint colour for bathrooms, let your imagination run free. Although often one of the smallest rooms in the house, the bathroom is not a room where people spend a lot of time, so you can afford to be more daring in your colour choice. Dramatic or subtle, any colour choice can look right in a bathroom. The only limiting factor will be the colours of existing bathroom fittings such as baths, basins and of course, tiles. By repainting walls and ceilings and, perhaps, purchasing new towels as well, your bathroom can receive a dramatically different appearance!

Bedrooms

For adults, bedrooms are often a private retreat. For children, a place to play games with friends. Depending on which bedroom you are painting, the mood you want to create may therefore vary greatly. When painting a bedroom, don't forget to consider the colours of existing bed linen, curtains and floor coverings, as these can be very dominant in setting the tone of the room. You may wish to buy new bed linen and achieve a complete redecoration at fairly moderate expense, but it is important to ensure that your furnishings and walls combine for a satisfying colour effect. Adults may wish to choose cool, relaxing colours such as greys or blues, together with a flat finish. By contrast, children my select brighter colours for their bedrooms and sheen levels will be important to give the durability and wash ability you think is necessary.

Hallways

Hallways are an introduction to your home. They establish first impression and set a level of expectation for the rest of the decor. Do you want to make a bold statement by choosing a dramatic colour for your hallway, or do you want it to become an extension of the rooms opening off it? I f you want to be dramatic, choose colours which, while bold and imaginative, still complement or harmonise with those of other rooms visible from the hallway. Remember too, that hallways tend to be darker than other parts of the house and this is always an important consideration when selecting colour. Think about painting the ceiling a lighter colour than the walls and, because hallways are often high traffic areas, select a washable paint to ensure long life and durability.