Over the years, I’ve received so many questions asking about the paint colours we’ve used in our homes (and renovations). So, I thought it was time I shared my favourite paint colours, and the paint brand I LOVE, that you’ve most probably never heard of! I also wanted to share my tips for selecting paint colours as it’s a dilemma that so many people seem to struggle with. And yet it’s a decision I personally make very easily and quickly; often without even doing a single paint sample.
I know many of you are curious to know my favourite paint brand. It’s Aalto. Aalto Paint to be exact. Wondering why you might’ve never heard of them? Because it’s a New Zealand paint brand. I fell in love with Aalto Paint in 2013 and have been using it ever since. From the first two colours we painted in our very first home, to our last modern farmhouse renovation, and now in our current little cottage renovation. Aalto have paint colours and palettes that have always resonated with me.
You see, I know what type of colour person I am. That might sound strange, but I’m aware of the the fact that I enjoy colour; I just prefer soft, murky colours over bright or intense ones. And yet, I definitely love more than just a white/grey/beige palette.
Subtle colours with black tints (making colour look “murky”) are my jam! Aalto have so many of these colours that it’s just really easy for me to pick one and go with it. Most of the time I don’t even feel the need to do a test patch. In fact, many years ago I created my own Aalto paint palette as a quick reference guide for when I need to choose a colour quickly. I still use it to this day! That’s actually how I selected our new kitchen colour, which I’ve just shared with my email list!! I can’t wait for you all to see it.
One of my most requested paint colours of all time, is that of our master bedroom in our last home. I also just shared this colour with my email subscriber list when I revealed My Top 5 Favourite Paint Colours. But I’ll share that bedroom colour here too. It was Aalto “Gillflash”. The loveliest soft greeny grey, that changes from grey to green to blue throughout the day. I cannot tell you how much I love this colour. It’s neither masculine nor feminine; it’s just soothing. The perfect bedroom colour, in my opinion.
Of course, since you can’t buy the physical Aalto paint here in Australia, we get it colour matched in whatever paint brand has matched the code (usually Haymes or Dulux). It’s not a 100% exact match but I’d say 99.5%. I should also say that not every Aalto paint colour is able to be colour matched, so selecting paint colours this way won’t suit everyone. But I personally love using colours that aren’t so widely available as they feel a bit more like my own – without the hassle of creating my own formula!
Over the years, I’ve had interior design clients almost burst an artery getting so stressed over selecting paint colours. But I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that hard, or stressful! As I tell friends all the time who call me with ‘paint-xiety’, it’s just paint and there is no wrong colour. Still, I’ve rounded out my top 5 tips for selecting paint colours below in the hope it helps take some of the anxiety away!
Tip #1. Figure out what TYPE of colour person you are.
And what colours in the wheel you actually like. For example, I’m sure you all know I clearly love green and blue, and all shades in between; however, I’m not a fan of purple, so you’ll never see me choosing a very cool blue (one with purple/red in it). I’m also not averse to trying new colours, but I do tend to stick to a certain tone of colour. Once you know what type of colour you like (e.g pale, murky, bright), it should help eliminate about 547,260 choices! If you’re painting your house to sell, then always err on the side of caution; choose colours that are universally appealing and won’t put buyers off.
Tip #2. If you’re going to do paint samples, never paint them right next to each other.
Colours change depending on what you put next to it, so give your paint samples some space. Do text patches in both shade and sun, because ALL paints change with the light. If you love a colour in the warm sun and the cool shade, then that’s a good sign!
Tip #3. If you like the “all white” look, but still want warmth, choose a warm white and paint everything in that same white.
For example, my favourite Aalto white (the one I shared with my email list), I also use on the ceiling and woodwork/trim. I use a flat finish on the ceilings, low sheen on the walls, and semi-gloss on the woodwork. That way your warm white walls won’t look obviously creamy white, because you’re not pairing your wall colour against a stark white ceiling or trim. In our last house all our interior white was Dulux ‘Vivid White’, which is a stark white. It’s a great “white white” but be aware that you may need to do 4 coats to get full coverage. For that reason alone I may not use it very often.
Tip #4. Don’t pick colours based on photographs because photos are often edited and won’t always give you the true representation of a colour.
Get advice from others on their favourite paints, or better yet choose one that you’ve seen in person. But remember, how much natural light you space gets, your exterior surroundings and reflections, and what you pair your paint colours with, will all affect how it looks.
Tip #5. Remember it’s just paint!
Everything can be re-painted or sprayed if you really don’t like it, but never forget there truly are bigger and more important things in the world than paint. I’ve only ever had one colour which I didn’t love: our previous kitchen island colour which ended up being a far-too-pale-sage-green colour. But I never let it bother me because, it’s JUST paint. You have to keep things in life into perspective.
Final word of wisdom, there’s actually no wrong colour. It’s what you pair it with and how you decorate around it, that matters!
I hope you’ve found this helpful. I’d be interesting to hear what some of your favourite paint colours are!