Give your home a lift with colour

Dunga reacts during Brazil's game against the Netherlands. Photo by AP.
Dunga reacts during Brazil's game against the Netherlands. Photo by AP.
It seems New Zealanders are yearning for the simple life, and this is reflected in home decor trends. Kim Dungey reports.

New Zealand homeowners love neutral colours.

In fact, delving into test-pot sales, paint retailer Resene found its top 20 is dominated by whites and neutrals.

But colour's power to lift the human psyche is well recognised.

In its forecast for 2009, the company says there is a definite warming trend as bronzed yellows, burnished oranges, earthy and tan browns, nature-inspired greens, vivid reds and reddened purples meet slate blues and soft neutrals.

Fewer daring bolds are seen, compared with earlier in the decade.

The company says as we have become increasingly surrounded by gadgets, there has been a desire to reach back to artisan and natural designs.

This yearning for the simpler life has also been seen in the move towards organic foods, handmade products and the exodus of city dwellers to lifestyle blocks: electronic gadgets once seen as a luxury are now commonplace, so much so that handcrafted items are the new luxury.

An environmental focus underpins a variety of the latest hues, with healthy greens drawn from landscapes and agriculture, and even the reds and purples tending towards vegetal colours.

Blues are watery and calm, while neutrals are grey-inspired.

Pastels are only sparsely seen.

Homeowners now have a range of tools to help them choose the right paint colour, from traditional charts and fandecks to test patches, test pots and virtual painting software.

Top tips

We asked Resene for their best painting tips for keen do-it-yourselfers:

• Don't skimp on accessories. If you use a cheap, poor-quality brush with a high-quality paint you will not get the best performance out of the paint.

• Allow plenty of time for surface preparation.

• Don't paint when it is very hot or very wet. If it is too hot, the paint will dry too quickly, giving a patchy result. If it is too wet, the paint will not be able to cure and long-term performance may be affected.

• If your paint is drying too fast in summer, add hot-weather additive. This will slow down the drying and give you a longer wet edge.

• When taking a break at lunchtime or overnight, wrap brushes or rollers that have been used with waterborne paint in clear food wrap or place in a sealed plastic bag. This will keep the paint fresh and save you having to wash out your tools.

• Always use a test pot in the area you are planning to paint in. If you think a paint on a colour chart may be too dark, choose a lighter one. Colours will look more intense when painted on to a large area.

• When choosing colours, don't forget to factor in the gloss level. Most colour charts are produced using low-sheen chips. If you use a gloss finish, it will look brighter and cleaner; if you use a flat finish, it will look darker and more intense.

• If your surface is less than perfect, use a lower-sheen paint.


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