From Lake Tekapo's icy blue glacial waters through to Rangitoto's bright red Pohutukawa blossoms; from the lush emeralds of the Greta Valley through to the rich russets of Mt Tongariro, there's no doubt about it, we're truly spoiled for colour in New Zealand.
From Lake Tekapo’s icy blue glacial waters through to Rangitoto’s bright red Pohutukawa blossoms; from the lush emeralds of the Greta Valley through to the rich russets of Mt Tongariro, there’s no doubt about it, we’re truly spoiled for colour in New Zealand. What’s more, every new season transforms our favourite landscapes with magically fresh and inspirational hues from vivid autumnal poplar-tree yellows, through to glowing burnt oranges, and rich ruby reds.
If you’ve ever tried to pick a colour for a room while standing in front of a colour wall in a paint store, you know that the prospect can be rather daunting. It’s best to come prepared. “A good starting point for choosing a wall colour is to find out which colours make you feel good on a regular basis,” advises Louise McKenzie-Smith, colour and design expert at Dulux New Zealand. “Often, that’s reflected in your artwork or wardrobe. In fact, we took many cues from the fashion industry when we compiled our colour forecast for 2012. The important thing is to pick a colour scheme that you really adore.”
After all, renovating is all about creating spaces that you love living in. However, few people consider right from the beginning that their choice of colour can have a dramatic impact on how they will feel in certain spaces. “Not all people will react in the same way to the same colours,” says Louise. “But there are some basic facts regarding the psychology of colours.
“Reds and pinks, for example, are warm sunny colours that can create a cosy, welcoming atmosphere when used as highlight colours. They’re said to be appetite stimulators, so you could try Dulux ‘Matakana’ or ‘Napier’ in your kitchen or dining room.” On a feature wall you could pay homage to New Zealand’s bright red Pohutukawa or Rata flowers with Dulux ‘Red Jacks’.
If you’re looking to add autumnal warmth to a room, the vibrant Dulux ‘Mangatainoka’ may be just what you need. Louise recommends using orange tones as a feature in rooms that need warming up, and in bedrooms where you would like to create a cosy feel. She says: “You can go for a strong dramatic effect with a hue like Dulux ‘Moorehouse Street’ – it always reminds me of the Champagne Pool in Rotorua. Or select softer hues such as Dulux ‘Roxburgh’ or ‘Mercury Bay’.”
Pick a lemony yellow such as Dulux ‘Fitzroy’ or ‘Otorohanga’ to add some zest to your room – much like you would pick a lemon from your tree to spice up the catch of the day. “Yellow is such a happy colour – the epitome of warmth and light,” says Louise. “Soft shades can create a sunny feel in cool rooms or dark hallways. However, it can make warm rooms feel hotter than they are and the wrong shade of yellow can actually be quite overpowering.”
Green is perhaps the most versatile colour of them all and can be used pretty much anywhere in the house. Relaxing and restful to the eye, shades like Dulux ‘Hakatere’ and ‘Wadestown’ create a cool, fresh and relaxed atmosphere. You can display your very own shade of the New Zealand bush with Dulux ‘Waiheke’, or show your love of greenstone with Dulux ‘Shotover Street’. These rich greens work well as trim colours.
For a calming effect and to bring home a touch of the country’s various lakes, rivers and bays, you can add a splash of Dulux ‘Hanmer Springs’ or ‘Island Bay’. As a cool colour, blue creates space and can make us feel tranquil and serene. “Dulux ‘Huntly’ is popular for bedrooms and the lighter, brighter Dulux ‘Lochmara Bay’ is often chosen for family rooms,” comments Louise.
Browns and beiges are colours of the earth and are very much inspired by nature. Take, for example, the sand-coloured Dulux ‘Sandymount’, the cool-toned ‘Kauri Cliffs’ or the golden ‘Waihi’. Louise says: “In their soft versions, these natural hues are very easy to live with as they create a classic and elegant look that works really well with natural surfaces.”
From beige shades it’s not a huge shift to tans, creams, whites and greys – in other words: the neutrals. They’re an ideal main wall colour as they create a clean backdrop and allow you to show off your favourite New Zealand colour as a highlight. You have options of cooler or warmer tones, which means that neutrals are not really neutral – they have different proportions of base colours and so will have a very slight red, green, blue or yellow tinge to them. That’s also true for neutral carpets and wooden flooring. Take existing tones into consideration when selecting a new colour for your home, so that the shades or tints you choose blend in.
A few handy hints can help you get the most from your paint, ensuring that your favourite New Zealand colours and autumnal hues look their best on your walls.
The experts at Dulux recommend that you paint your walls when the house temperature is just above 10 degrees Celsius – avoiding extremely hot or cold conditions. It’s important to prepare your walls well; you can remove dirt and grease by washing them with sugar soap.
Before applying paint, stir it well according to the instructions on the can. Although Dulux matches shades very well, if you order several cans of the same colour they still recommend mixing up the contents from all cans in a large bucket. You can then refill your cans or start painting right away. This ensures that you’ll get one consistent colour for the whole project.
Work your way from the ceiling down and reserve skirting and trim for last. To cover large wall areas, first use a brush to paint the edges and then apply paint with a roller. If you wish to cover large areas with a brush, Dulux suggests painting in squares of 50 centimetres by 50 centimetres – brushing the paint in horizontal strokes and then finishing the squares off with light vertical strokes in one direction to even the paint.
Masking tape is invaluable to protect window and door frames. To avoid lifting or breaking paint, make sure you remove it before the paint is too dry.
Once your walls are aglow with the nature-inspired Kiwi hue of your choice, remember New Zealand’s beautiful landscape once again and don’t pour leftover paint down household or stormwater drains. According to Dulux, it’s safe to dispose of water-based paints via your household rubbish collection – mix them with shredded paper, cat litter or other absorbent materials and allowed them to dry first. Any left-over solvents and solvent-based paints should be taken to a hazardous waste collection facility.
Colours are influenced by the colours that surround them, by the amount of available light, and by the actual light source. Fiona Small, owner of Sienna Design, believes in finding the right balance between your colour preference and the colours that would enhance the ambience and features of your rooms.
“Every space has its own unique light influences and specific needs,” advises Fiona. “Colours can look totally different throughout the day, as well as on different walls in the same room. Use these changes in colour and tone to your advantage by playing with different shades.
“If you choose to use the same colour throughout your house, then (generally, as there are always exceptions), use lighter tones in smaller rooms and hallways to make them appear larger, and deepen shades in cosier areas.”
This article featured in the Issue 002 of New Zealand Renovate Magazine - New Zealand's first and only magazine solely dedicated to home renovations. Article by Stephanie Matheson.
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