‘Worst’ paint colours to ‘avoid’ for small rooms – ‘boxy and bland’

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Styled UK share tips on best interior colour combinations

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Choosing your colour palette is the very first step to take when redecorating any room in the house. Just like buying a piece of furniture – or even a property – paint choices are instinctive. However, when it comes to certain rooms, particularly sizes of rooms, there are some colours that are “not a great idea”, according to experts at The Good Painter. They have shared an insight into their five worst colours to decorate a small space with. The painting pros said: “Keep these worst paint colours in mind and you can save yourself a lot of trouble.”

1. Brilliant white 

White may seem like the perfect paint colour for a small room because it can brighten up dark corners and reflect light all around. 

The dated idea that small rooms should only be to be painted white thankfully has been replaced with an unlimited palette of colours. 

The experts said: “Against all the odds, painting and decorating your flat brilliant white is not a great idea. It makes rooms look boxy and bland, and it also makes shadows and corners more visible – something you want to avoid.”

For those who are in favour of this colour, they suggested it being used as an accent colour instead.

The pros continued: “Brilliant white can also create a restless feeling many experience in hospitals, which is not particularly welcoming. 

“If you really are a fan of white, the best solution for you is to paint your interior in a chalky white to visually open up the space.”

For those looking to pair white with a dark colour Aaron Markwell, COAT’s Colour Curator, warned that brilliant white should not be used. He told Express.co.uk: “The most common mistake when painting with dark colours is using a brilliant white on the ceilings and woodwork. 

“Unless it’s a pure black and you’re creating a monochromatic palette. It’s always best to softly contrast a little with an off-white, such as COAT’s Pampas, that has the same undertone as the dark you love.”

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2. Red

Red is a gorgeous colour and has been the go-to paint colour choice for dining rooms for years. The truth is that most red paint colours are totally wrong for decorating a small space.

The paint gurus said: “A bright red can be quite a dramatic choice when painting and decorating. It heats up a small room and might appear too overwhelming, making spaces feel unpleasant and uncomfortable.” The way red is perceived often depends on its intensity as the experts highlighted that a bright red “may seem aggressive, lead to headaches and make rooms look smaller”, while muted reds make a room “more energetic and welcoming”. 

As red is a vibrant colour, it’s always easier to bring it into a room using decorations and accessories. This also makes it easier to balance out the colours in the room, but “it must be used with care”.

Instead households are recommended to use rusty reds or oranges instead for a splash of colour that’s a little more subtle.

3. Bright orange and yellow

According to the pros, bright colours should be avoided as they tend to draw attention away from furniture and accessories and often feel endangering and alarming. 

They said: “While being cheerful and happy colours for a child’s room, in small spaces they can quickly lead to exhaustion and eye strain. Bright colours like these also make it difficult to find complementing decorations and often provokes frustration.”

Bright colours can also become tiring after a few years. Accent walls, painted furniture, and home accessories are a stylish way to use specialty colours but can be easily changed if you’re ready for a new look in your small space. 

4. Wrong neutrals

While neutral paint colours can be wonderful for small spaces, households shouldn’t assume that any neutral colour paint will work in their small space.

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The experts said: “Neutral colours are a rich combination of other colours with pink, orange, blue and green undertones that may clash with your choice of interior decoration, furniture and accessories. 

“They are also the most difficult to choose from when painting and decorating. We recommend you use colour swatches and ask your painter to paint directly onto the walls of your property.”

Trendy colours or colours of the year

Before households settle on a new paint colour they should be sure that they’re choosing one they can live with. For those who’ve found a new funky hue, don’t choose it just because it is trendy. Find a paint colour in a similar shade but in a colour that you can be comfortable living with for a while. 

The experts noted that your home should reflect your personality rather than just be a carbon copy of trends that soon fall out of fashion.

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