My Favourite Paint Colours and Why You’ve Probably Never Heard of Them

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 some of the paint colours I love and use regularly! 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.

My Favourite Paint Brand And Why You've Probably Never Heard Of It

I know many of you are curious to know my favourite paint colours. From the first two colours we painted in our very first home, to our modern farmhouse renovation, and our most recent little cottage renovation. New Zealand paint colours have always resonated with me.

My Favourite Paint Brand And Why You've Probably Never Heard Of It

My Favourite Paint Brand And Why You've Probably Never Heard Of It

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! In fact, many years ago I created my own paint palette as a quick reference guide for when I need to choose a colour quickly and most of these colours came from Dulux “Colours of New Zealand” range, Aalto Paints and Resene who also have a beautiful and enormous range of paints and colours. I still use it that paint guide 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.

My Favourite Paint Brand And Why You've Probably Never Heard Of 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 (a NZ paint brand), colour “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. A very similar colour is a Dulux colour Pukaki (which is lovely in full or half strength). That’s in their Colours of New Zealand range which is my “go-to” paint samples.

My Favourite Paint Brand And Why You've Probably Never Heard Of It

My Favourite Paint Brand And Why It's One You've Probably Never Heard Of - Cottonwood and Co 

I personally love using colours that aren’t so common 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!

My Favourite Paint Brand And Why You've Probably Never Heard Of It

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 rarely see me choosing a very cool purple blue. 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!

Nicki xo

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  1. Jo-Anne Hamilton says:

    Hi Nicki, I have used Gillflash and love it. So much depth yet softness to it. I have joined your mailing list a few times, yet never seem to receive emails. I would love to know your 5 favourite Aalto colours.

    1. Hi Jo-Anne, Oh i’m so glad you love Aalto Gillflash! I think it might be my favourite colour ever. Sorry you’re not receiving emails. That’s very strange. I haven’t sent one for a couple of months though (very bad but not enough to email about, ha) but I did send one tonight – did you get that? N xo

  2. Jenna Trizzino says:

    where is that lovely looking linen sofa from?

    1. Hi Jenna, our sofa is from Molmic 🙂

  3. Thanks so much for this post. I went out and purchased the Aalto Master palette and it is fantastic. Can I ask which white you used your board and batten house. I love it! Thanks again xx

    1. Hi Lauren, Aalto is fabulous, isn’t it?! I just love all their beautiful muted colours. Our white we used Aalton Unison. It’s my favourite white. 🙂

  4. I have to refer back to this post when we decide to paint our house. I tend to be drawn to blues and greys and the warmth in colours and like you, I’m not a fan of purple. Thanks for the info and tips. I definitely won’t be picking from photos in future (something I tend to do:)). What are your thoughts of using the one colour throughout the house and using accessories to give each room its own personality?

    1. Hi Amanda, sorry I’ve only just seen your comment! I’m not sure why it didn’t appear on the backend.
      Sounds like we have similar taste! Regarding using the same colour throughout the house, this can surely be done to great effect and then you can customise each room with fabrics, soft furnishings and accessories. The only problem is unless you really do buy different fabrics and make a real effort to differentiate the spaces, it can tend to feel a bit boring and bland. But I am a big fan of using the one colour throughout a room (i.e having no contrasting trims or ceilings). With all of this there is no “hard and fast” rule however. Hope that helps! Nicki 🙂

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