Colour it up
Ella Leoncio for Dulux - Blur Palette

Take your pick from spring's pretty palette and update your home with these five paint ideas.

1. Accent-uate the positive

"Feature walls may be gone but accented areas are in," says Essence Interiors' Simone Gillespie. "Pick an architectural feature, such as a chimney breast, stairwell, a corner nook or a long passage and highlight this area with colour."

Fireplaces are also prime candidates for a splash of colour, according to Kristie Castanga from Elements Stylish Interiors. "If it is a flat fireplace, use a strong colour to make it stand out," she says. "If it is a fireplace which has a back wall, use a neutral colour for the front and then use a block colour for behind."

2. Furniture facelift

Freshening up well-worn timber furniture with a lick of paint is an economical way to breathe new life into daggy or dated pieces, according to Christine Jones, interior designer and Laura Ashley design consultant.

"Find a cabinet-maker who can apply a slick, sprayed sheen or get crafty and dig out the paintbrush for a more rustic finish," she says.

"Continue the revival by adding new cabinet hardware."

When selecting a colour, Brush Interiors' Jo Lively says to go bold or go home. "Consider painting one feature chair in a bright, standout red or bold turquoise to add spring vitality," she says.

Ms Gillespie is also a fan of statement shades for furniture. "Paint the old dresser fire-engine red, the wooden chair canary yellow or the old cane chair hot fuchsia pink," she says.

3. Take a dip

The graduated (also known as dip-dyed or ombre) trend is not restricted to homewares, says Dulux colour expert Bree Leech — try it on your walls, too! Though difficult to perfect, the result is show-stopping.

Ms Leech says it can be done using two or more colours.

"You can achieve a more subtle effect using shades or tints of the one colour or choose more contrasting colours," she says. "You will need to allow plenty of time to achieve it and require a good soft-hair paintbrush. We recommend a badger-hair brush."

Start by selecting three colours, she says — working tonally up a scale is a good way to choose them — so a light, medium, and darker shade.

"Paint the entire wall with the lightest hue using a roller and cutting in around the edges as required," she says. "You may require two coats to cover.

"Once the paint is dry, draw a light freehand line on the wall to indicate where you would like the medium colour to blend into the light colour — to get the dip-dye effect you need to have an uneven line between each colour.

"Paint in the medium colour, finishing at your freehand line (you may require two coats).

"Then while the paint is still wet, blend the colour from the medium to the light hue with very light soft strokes in one direction (in this case upwards) using a dry badger-hair paintbrush.

"When the middle section is dry draw your freehand line that will indicate where the darkest colour blends into the medium colour and paint the bottom section with the darkest colour up to this line. Again using a dry badger-hair paintbrush, blend the colour from the dark to the medium hue."

4. Stripe it rich

From chevron to classic stripes, painting a striped wall adds sophistication and definition to a room, according to Ms Leech.

"Bold colours work especially well as stripes," she says, pointing to brights such as yellow (which looks brilliant paired with white), turquoise and aqua.

Ms Leech says horizontal stripes can make a room feel more spacious, while vertical stripes make a room's ceiling seem higher.

"After masking up the edges and corners of your feature area with painter's tape, apply your base coat which will usually be the lightest of your stripe colours," she says.

"To determine the width of the stripes, attach strips of coloured paper to where you think the stripe should be.

"Once you have decided on the desired stripe width, determine the placement of the stripes and mark it with pencil.

"Apply the painter’s tape just outside each pencilled line so the painted stripe will cover the pencil line. Fill in each stripe with your chosen paint."

5. Get a handle

For a simple and unexpected pop of colour, Ms Leech suggests painting the doorknobs in your home.

"If you have a neutral interior and want to add that pop of colour to your home, door handles are a simple way to do it," she says.

"If you're looking for something bright and cheerful try Dulux's Green Buoy or Clare Valley," she says.

TIP: Clean furniture thoroughly and follow with a light sand to give paint something to 'grip' to, recommends Jo Lively, and remember old furniture may have defects that will enhance its appeal.

TIP: Bree Leech says it's important to practise the dip-dye method of blending on a board or piece of heavy card before attempting it on your wall.

The West Australian

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