Creative Kitchens
Beautiful Baths
Dynamic Dining Rooms
Beautiful Bedrooms
Colourful Kids Rooms
Home Office Hideaways
Animated Hallways
Likeable Living Rooms
Livable Laundry Rooms
Sensational Sunrooms
Creative Craft and Hobby Spaces
The ABC’s of Planning A Colorful Nursery
Colourful Kids Study Spaces


Creative Kitchens

The kitchen continues to be one of the most frequently used living spaces within the home. As families spend an increasing number of hours together in the kitchen space, both function and style play imperative roles when tackling a design or renovation project. The innovative use of colour will help your kitchen space to shine!

Kitchen paint requires selections that are hard working and focus on stain and grease resistance as well as washability. Practical choices include durable paints that feature low sheen, semi-gloss or gloss sheens. Several paint manufacturers offer kitchen/bath paints that have been designed specifically for these spaces.

Depending upon your individual colour preferences, kitchens offer an ideal opportunity to let your colour imagination soar! For those homeowners that prefer bright colours, kitchens offer a blank canvas for applying colourful paint and wallpaper border combinations to wall coverings. "Colour conservative" folks may opt to inject a soft palette of personality with the clever addition of painted stencil borders and motifs (including currently popular themes such as garden and natural designs) that coordinate with existing kitchen themes. Kitchens that feature interesting collections (such as standing pottery or hanging baskets) often sport monochromatic colour schemes (which feature various tones of a particular hue) visually emphasising the collection, rather than the wall coverings and other design elements. Add new life to worn or dated cabinets by applying a complementary paint colour to update the existing appearance.

The kitchen represents a venue for an unlimited number of ways to incorporate unique colour within the space! Consider coordinating a decorative paint treatment, such as ragging, combing, etc. (See Decorative Techniques section) with a contemporary wallpaper border. Or, if you love the look of decorative paint but lack the time to complete such a project, explore the possibility of adding a "faux" wallpaper border (that mimics decorative paint techniques) to a painted, solid colour wall. Add colour and pattern to a plain, white tile backsplash by applying colour with a freehand or stenciled painted design. Inject a splash of colour to ordinary beadboarding with the clever application of paint. Camouflage a damaged floor by selecting colours that are prevalent within your kitchen colour scheme and painting a "faux" tile design. Unify a mismatched dinette set by painting the table and chairs using one cohesive colour. Customise furnishings by applying a whimsical stamp or stencil to seats or seatbacks.


Beautiful Baths

Although bathrooms are private spaces, they are usually heavily trafficked rooms in any home. Depending upon the number of bathrooms that you have in your home and where they are located, bathrooms can range from strictly functional areas to inspirational retreats. Paint permits the homeowner the luxury of experimenting with innovative colour ideas by providing surfaces that are easily cleaned and simply revised.

Due to the high moisture levels that are present within the bath, this space is prone to mildew and surfactant leaching. Therefore, experts at the Paint Quality Institute recommend the highest quality sheen or semi-gloss paints that contain mildew protection as well as stain resistance. Several paint manufacturers have designed special kitchen/bath paints that are specifically designed to accommodate these spaces.

Consider the décor and style of your home when designing a bathroom space. The appearance of the bathroom should blend harmoniously with the rest of the home interior. If your home contains only one bathroom, consider designing the space using a neutral colour scheme. Neutrals allow the opportunity to decorate the bath seasonally, and permit the flexibility of injecting contemporary coloured accessories into the bath space. Consider establishing complementary colour schemes within master baths, ‘jack and jill" baths or any baths that connect to bedrooms. (When applying a complementary colour scheme to connecting spaces; one hue would be utilised within each distinct space.) Examine the overall size of the bath when selecting colour. Deeper, rich hues tend to create a more dramatic ambiance. Should you opt for a darker tone within a small bath space, brighten the space by supplementing the dark hue with dashes of a bright or striking colour, to lighten up the area.

There are an unlimited number of ways to allow colour to add distinctiveness to the bath space. Add colour to wall coverings with painted bead boarding, combining paint with wallpaper borders and stencils. Add contrasting colour to bathroom doors and moulding by painting doors and trim in deep tones that accentuate wall coverings and highlight tile colours. Decorative paint finishes add tantalising texture and stimulating colour to the bathroom space. Consider a decorative paint finish to enhance one larger accent wall within the bathroom. Add colour to plain window coverings by painting wood shutters or cornices using colours that appear within the existing colour scheme.


Dynamic Dining Rooms

Depending upon your family’s lifestyle, dining rooms traditionally exist as formal entertaining areas or as an active, everyday part of the home. The way in which your dining room functions will help to determine the area’s style as well as décor. The use of colour can help to define the tone of the dining room.

Highly used, active dining rooms require high quality paint that contains a higher sheen that can be easily cleaned. If the informal dining room is attached or open to the kitchen, you may wish to consider implementing a monochromatic colour scheme or incorporating the grouping of colours that appear within the kitchen. The use of a complementary colour scheme (see Choosing the Right Colour section) would also be appropriate in this situation, to provide for a balanced combination of colour within the adjoining spaces.

Formal dining rooms provide an ideal space to utilise faux and other highly decorative paint finishes. Deep, rich colours are often used to create dramatic formal dining spaces. For added drama, consider a decorative paint treatment that portrays the appearance of an elegant fabrication (such as leather or suede) to grace the walls of your formal dining space.

Colour can be used to stimulate the dining room space through a multitude of creative projects. Create a visual division of space within a two story dining room by adding moulding at ceiling height, then painting two distinct colours (above and below the moulding). Update the timeless look of wainscoting within the dining room with a coat of stylish paint. New acrylic high gloss paints or traditional gloss alkyd paints are excellent choices for mouldings and wainscoting. The acrylic high gloss paints will have lower odour and dry much faster. Decorative paint finishes can be used on wall coverings, accent walls or ceiling space to provide stimulating colour and interesting texture to the dining area. Create a focal point for built-ins that showcase treasured collectibles by painting the interior using a contrasting colour that highlights the featured collectibles.


Beautiful Bedrooms

As the first and last place that we see each day, bedrooms are reflective of our distinct personalities. Indicative of a personal and private space, the bedroom space particularly signifies a creative place where our individual tastes and needs are outlined. Representing a private sanctuary, there is more flexibility with regard to style, décor and colour within the bedroom space.

Bedrooms are typically low traffic rooms; therefore they do not require the same level of durability for paint finishes, as do other areas of the home. Velvet finishes; HQ Velvet Flats, low sheens or soft sheens are all appropriate paints for the bedroom.

Quiet, muted hues are favorite bedroom colour choices, as they tend to be more comforting and relaxing. Cool colours (blues/greens) provide a soothing feeling that adds everyday livability to the bedroom space. Cool colours also contain the added bonus of visually expanding small bedrooms and making the space appear larger. Choosing adjacent colours on the Colour Wheel for a bedroom colour scheme allows for a particularly well-blended space. Neutral colours are another favorite choice for bedrooms, as they allow the occupant to inject a dash of unexpected colour throughout the space. Neutral tones also provide for easy rearranging of accessories as well as seasonal decorating within the bedroom. Maximise neutral colour schemes and monochromatic colour schemes in the bedroom by adding sufficient texture, via interesting bed linens, window treatments, floor coverings and wall coverings.

Colour can enhance your bedroom retreat in a number of imaginative ways! Painted accent walls, stenciling and ceiling treatments are a few examples of transforming non-descript space into exciting wall coverings. Decorative accents such as painting a faux fireplace to serve as a bedroom focal point lend warm ambiance and charm. Painted doors and moulding allow for the impact of contrasting paint colours. Using new acrylic high gloss paints gives you the look of traditional alkyd paints, but with lower odour and shorter dry times. Traditional acrylic high quality semi gloss paints are also excellent choices for doors, moulding and trim, if you prefer a lower gloss look.

Texturing paints and glazes inspire do-it-yourself decorative painters to devise innovative "faux" paint techniques that blend particularly well within themed bedrooms. Painted headboards and other furnishings unify colour schemes and promote a cohesive colour palette in the bedroom space.


Colourful Kids Rooms

Welcoming children’s rooms are spaces that encourage a growing child’s imagination. Consider allowing your child to choose a bedroom theme that expresses their unique personality. Once the theme has been selected, the bedroom colour scheme will naturally follow.

As growing children’s rooms can be decorated and redecorated up to five times during their years at home, it is practical to opt for an inexpensive method of decorating. Paint affords an easy, inexpensive decorating tool that provides a rainbow of exciting colours and creative possibilities for children.

As children’s room tend to be heavily used, it is imperative that a high quality, washable paint be used in order to remove handprints, food stains, crayons and markers. Manufacturers have designed "child-friendly" children’s paints that feature bold colours, chalk paints or other specialty products.

The use of bright, bold colour is especially attractive in children’s rooms. Primary colours are classic favorites for both boys and girls. Contemporary colour favorites include purples, vibrant blues, pinks, yellows and greens. If your goal is to select a colour scheme that your child will not soon outgrow, consider taking the "neutral plus colour approach", which presents neutral wall coverings with bold painted trim. In this case, the trim colour can feature any hue from traditional favorites (such as navy or red) to trendy newcomers (including the "sherbet" brights).

There are endless colour-related projects that help to create inviting children’s rooms. Decorative stencils and stamps that coordinate with a designated theme can be applied to all design elements including window coverings, wall coverings, floor coverings and furnishings. Free hand painted murals accentuates a theme and serves as a dramatic focal point within the space. Painted ceilings (the rooms "fifth wall") can highlight a theme or serve as a point of interest, depicting everything from soft clouds to bright stars and interesting maps. Wall coverings can be transformed into functional design elements, including chalkboards for drawing, corkboards that display calendars and notes or "magnetic" painted walls which highlight artwork.


Home Office Hideaways

Steadily increasing in popularity, the home office is a practical necessity for many homes. Regardless of whether the space is used for meeting with clients or simply writing household bills and e-mail, the home office can be designed in a sensible yet stylish manner.

Particularly active are home offices that "share" their living quarters with other functions, such as a guest room, master bedroom, kitchen or study. It is essential that wall coverings within these multifunctional areas be easily cleaned, particularly on the walls that adjoin computer equipment, desks and other work surfaces. Low sheen or washable flat finishes offer beauty, stain resistance and wash ability. High quality acrylic gloss paints boast a practical balance of glossy appearance and ease of water cleanup.

Individual or family workspaces provide the luxury of creating an area where it is possible to express your distinct décor and style preferences. Homeowners with offices that function strictly for business use may consider opting for neutral tones that convey a more serious tone. Home offices that share family business as well as function as a guest bedroom may consider choosing cool colours that present a serene tone- practical for family matters as well as restful for visiting overnight guests. Various areas of multifunctional home office spaces can be designated by the creative use of blocks of colour to identify the workspace as a separate unit. Using splashes of bright colours such as oranges or yellows inject a stimulating environment for all family members who utilise the space.

Consider implementing any of these creative ideas within your home office space:

  • Painted wainscoting is an elegant addition to offices that are more formal in nature.

  • Painted shelving (including built-ins) adds colourful storage space to any home office area.

  • Painted furniture (including unfinished, dated or flea market find pieces) can instantly unify the home office space through the exciting use of colour.

Animated Hallways

Hallways within most homes are quite often overlooked. The combined square metreage of hallways in some homes is greater than the total space that is apparent within the largest room! Use hallway space to your greatest advantage. Transform underutilised hallway space into a focal point with the creative use of colour! Using paint to add colour to the walls, ceiling and floors within a hallway space can turn what was once meaningless space into warm, welcoming areas within the home interior.

The deliberate use of colour can alter the appearance of hallways. For instance, light shades of colour make compact hallways appear larger. Visually "shorten" the feel of a long hallway by selecting a darker tone, and paint the end wall using this colour selection. To create a hallway that is wider in appearance, paint the ceiling and floors in a hue that is darker than the wall coverings. Odd shaped hallways can be given the illusion of greater balance by painting the ceiling and floors in darker shades to create a squared appearance. (Consult the "Maximising Benefits of Colour area of the website for specific colour specifications.) Remember that for hallway colour choice to blend harmoniously, colours should blend with the surrounding, existing colour scheme and overall décor.

As hallways are very heavily used areas, (children and pets enjoy leaving their handprints and paw prints on every conceivable spot!) it is necessary to apply durable and washable finishes such as Low Sheen or Low Luster finishes.


Likeable Living Rooms

More often used for family relaxation than formal entertainment, today’s living rooms reflect comfortable, stylish spaces. An ideal location to highlight a unique decorating "persona", colour choices for living rooms can be as bold or relaxing as the individual preferences of the homeowner.

Decorative paint techniques utilised in living room spaces demonstrate a homeowner’s preference for added texture, colour and style. Utilising a "Combing" or "Dragging" technique, for instance on one representative accent wall that is within in a small, square living room area can lend the illusion of added length and space. Consider decorative techniques that provide fabric like appearances such as leather, suede and silk to impart an elegant appearance for living rooms that portray a formal air. Denim, chambray and chenille fabrications can also be achieved through the use of decorative paint techniques for the more casually styled living room space.

Neutral colour selections provide a soothing effect and blend graciously with furnishings and fabrics that contain bold patterns, as well as featured collections within the living room space. Neutral colour schemes also conform quite easily to living room interiors that feature seasonal changes in décor.

Consult the Paint Quality Institute’s Colour Wheel for assistance with colour schemes that feature bold complementary colour choices. By introducing one or more bold hues to the living room space, it is possible to create an environment that stimulates energy and excitement.

Low Sheen paints are particularly desirable when living room spaces are used for family relaxation, as they contain low angle sheen combined with durability. Depending upon the look you desire for your living room, matt paints are also available which possess good wash ability and stain resistance.

Consider adding distinctive flair to the living room space by incorporating colour by means of painted picture frames used as decorative accents, painted "faux" fireplaces add ambiance and charm, or contrasting painted mouldings and trim within the living room space.


Livable Laundry Rooms

There are many ways to realize the benefits of the compact laundry room space- part of the home interior where we spend more of our time than we realise. With a bit of resourcefulness, there are several innovative options that offer a pleasant and more enjoyable laundry room area.

Consider treating your laundry space to a facelift! For all of the hours that are spent sorting and folding clothing, why not furnish the space as any other small space within your home? Decorative enhancements such as window treatments, wall coverings and decorative accessories do not require a large financial investment, but add a personalised touch to the laundry area.

Explore the possibility of creating a theme for your laundry room space. Start by selecting a specific colour scheme. Stencil or paint a freehand border around the windows that demonstrate the laundry room theme. Botanical and garden motifs are popular contemporary laundry room themes. Create imaginative and inexpensive wall art by matting and framing various leaves (from your own backyard!) using inexpensive wooden picture frames. Unify the framed grouping by painting frames using an existing hue from your chosen colour scheme. Using the existing colour scheme, paint inexpensive containers in solids, floral and other patterns. Use containers to store cleaning supplies and other laundry necessities.

Splashes of water, detergent, spray starch and bleach require paints that contain excellent wash ability and stain resistance characteristics. Keep these factors in mind when selecting and purchasing paint for the renovation of your laundry room space. High quality semi gloss paints work well; low sheen finishes can also be used for good stain removal properties, but with a softer sheen. Kitchen/Bathroom paints supplied by your paint retailer would also be good choices for laundry rooms since high moisture will also contribute to mildew growth.


Sensational Sunrooms

Most sunrooms are designed with the purpose of allowing increased light to enter the home, via multiple windows, skylights, glass block or full pane doors. Creating optimum natural lighting characteristics within the designated sunroom space allows for the experimentation and implementation of numerous colour options.

For those who are opting for a tranquil and spacious sunroom, consider utilising calming blues and greens are part of your sunroom colour scheme. Popular garden motifs and the concept of "bringing the outdoors inside" highlight a soothing colour scheme that is comprised of a soothing blue and green colour palette. In contrast, yellows and oranges impart vibrant energy to a space and lend themselves toward the creation of a stimulating sunroom space. Consider these types of brilliant and vivid hues when the goal is to establish an exciting sunroom space.

Allow colour to assist with appealing to all five of the senses when designing a sunroom. Texture, for instance, can be incorporated through the use of lavish accent rugs and cozy quilts and throws. Fresh flowers, candles and potpourri add continuous heavenly aromas to the space. The clever use of colour imparted to all design elements including wall paints, other painted accents and floors assist in uniting the sunroom.

Since sunrooms ‘encourage’ sunlight to come into the room, the use of a 100% acrylic exterior paint is very desirable since they will have excellent colour fade resistance. Exterior paints can be tinted to a full range of colours, so you can enjoy the colour you want with the performance you need. Exterior paints are also available in flats, sheens and semi gloss finishes.

Painted ladders to be used to hold flower pots or as end tables; painted screens hinged together make wonderful corner accents and be painted solid, stenciled or distressed - depending on the motif of your sunroom. Floors of sunrooms can also be painted - either with designs to simulate a rug or in patterns to simulate tile. Special floor paints are available that will have maximum adhesion to the surface you’re painting and maximum wear resistance.


Creative Craft and Hobby Spaces

Often created by ‘borrowing" underutilised or unconventional space within the home interior, today’s hobby and craft areas continue to surge in popularity. As the nature of these spaces represents an area where creative juices are endlessly flowing, let your imagination run wild when designing the space!

The enormity of hues offered by existing paint manufacturers provides an unlimited amount of colour combinations, depending upon the ambiance that you wish to display within the hobby space. If your particular hobby lends itself toward a specific colour or combination of colours, why not incorporate the colour grouping as the basis for your room design? For instance, outdoor activities such as camping, hiking and fishing all lend themselves to earthy, natural colours. Forest green, sandy brown and sky blue would be an example of a preferred colour grouping for a nature enthusiast that prefers the outdoor landscape.

If your hobby space is "shared" as part of an existing room there are a couple of colour options to consider. One idea is to incorporate a similar (or non-competing) colour scheme that is apparent within the room. In this case, the hobby room takes on the colour persona of the room where it exists. A second option would be to highlight the craft space by means of a decorative divider, using colour to designate where the existing room ends and the hobby area begins. In this case, a folding screen or shutters can be painted and serve as a focal point, representing the entrance to the hobby or craft space.

Whatever your hobby or craft preference, allow your distinct style to shine by incorporating stylish colour within your distinctive space.

Since Hobby and Craft walls tend to ‘attract’ marker and crayon marks, handprints and other stains, using high quality low sheen or washable sheen paints offer real advantages for keeping the surrounding areas clean and looking new.


The ABC’s of Planning A Colorful Nursery

When preparing for the arrival of a new baby, plan for safety and function first, then plan for fun! Create a nursery theme that your baby will not soon outgrow. Themes such as jungle animals, sports, outer space and floral are creative and timeless choices.

As for nursery colours; instead of pastels (the traditional choice for a baby’s nursery), opt for primary colours, updated neutrals or harmonious hues (colours that are next to each other on the colour wheel) to represent the colour palette for wall coverings, window treatments and linens.

Explore offbeat ways to impart colour within the nursery space. Stencil a border on a wooden headboard, paint a verse from a favorite poem or song above a closet, or apply a decorative paint technique (such as sponged clouds) on the ceiling.

Freehand, painted stripes add interesting pattern and a touch of whimsy to the nursery space. Consider thin, vertical stripes as a choice for smaller nurseries and wider stripes for more expansive nursery spaces. Customise the nursery space further by using the same colour scheme to paint coordinating stripes on lampshades, headboards, bedside tables, chests of drawers or shelving.

Remember that as your little one begins to walk, handprints will eventually grace the windows and walls in the nursery. Consider semi-gloss and high gloss, quality paints that promote durable and easy care cleaning.


Colourful Kids Study Spaces

With a bit of imagination, it is possible to create a study space where your child will look forward to spending time. First, maximise function and storage. Next, plan for an original and innovative workspace! Allow colour to set the tone of the workspace.

Warm colour schemes are an appealing option for a child’s study space. Warm colour schemes are filled with cozy hues such as oranges, reds and yellows, which help create a cheerful atmosphere. Painting walls a few tones deeper than the colour of carpet, for instance, will make the study space appear more inviting. Warm colours are particularly practical for north-facing exposures that receive limited light, or spaces that contain few windows. Moderate warm colour schemes with the addition of a neutral accent colour, such as ivory, sand or sage.

Personalise furnishings and decorative accessories with the desired colour scheme. Painted desks, hutches and chairs can serve as bold focal points within the study space. Painted shelving and desk accessories, such as file cabinets, pencil holders, framed photographs and trash cans act as handsome enhancements that help to unify the space with the desired colour scheme.

Celebrate your child’s individuality! It is possible to select a durable, easily washable paint (such as semi-gloss or gloss) that satisfies Mum, while also choosing a colour palette that will reflect the child’s unique personality. You and your child will be pleasantly satisfied with the appearance of the colourful, new study space!