Renovation & Design

Bring the outside in with garden-fresh paint

Bring the beauty of the outdoors inside this summer by painting walls in lively shades.

I'm fairly good with colour but I'm no expert. I didn't spend years researching and studying colour like the specialists at paint manufacturers would. It's sometimes a 'hit and miss' process, but luckily so far, mostly hits for me.

Not everyone has flair with colour so it's great to get advice on hot trends and detailed steps on how to use these colours in a methodical, logical way that will produce a desired outcome.

The current colour trend according to DULUXÆ paint entails a "Garden fresh" palette that gives an entirely new meaning to summer. Once associated with the culinary world, the concept has branched into home décor, infusing outdoor freshness into living spaces.

According to the DULUX brand, this season's hottest hues -- becoming firmly planted in all areas of the home -- include floral pastels, bright reds, yellows and oranges, and field greens.

"After a long, cold winter, warm garden-like colours are quickly gaining popularity on Canadian walls as well as in furniture and accessories," said Martin Tustin-Fuchs, brand manager for DULUX paint. "The trend moves consumers away from the comfort zone of whites and beiges towards brighter tones that emit a feeling of renewed energy and help lift spirits."

Topping the list of favourite paints are tomato reds such as Tender Rose (10YR 16/407), spicy oranges such as Pagoda (60YR 36/468), pastel yellows such as May Yellow (50YY 75/254), and meadow greens such as Potpourri Green (50GY 66/111).

I chose May Yellow for the living room/dining room and kitchen of our new condo and am delighted at how gorgeous it is. It's the perfect yellow in my opinion and I've had lots of compliments on the colour palette. It's works well with the new, wider white baseboards we installed but also works well with the medium brown IKEA cabinets we chose as well.

If you really don't know where to begin, the paint experts suggest you choose a main colour for a room and then add in other hues in unequal amounts. "A good rule of thumb is to use the dominant tone in about two-thirds of the room and the other colours in lessening quantities," said Tustin-Fuchs. "For example, if you select a soft green as the dominant colour, you may want to paint your trim, doors and ceilings in varying shades of that green or another colour of the same concentration."

When painting more than one room in an open floor-plan space, Tustin-Fuchs recommends planning your entire colour scheme before starting the job. "Paste paint chips of the colours you've chosen for each room on a piece of white cardboard to make sure they work well together, and adjust your choices accordingly, keeping in mind that the shades will be more intense on a large wall."

I'd also recommend you view the paint chips in the room in which they are intended for at various times of the day in order to see how the natural light works with main colour. If you have a room with small windows and not much natural light, then a dark brown wall colour may not be the best option.

To make the paint selection process easier, DULUX paint has introduced several online tools that help take the guesswork out of choosing colours, he explained. The DULUX paint colour visualizer, accessible at, enables users to virtually paint sample rooms or their own uploaded photos and explore different colour combinations before picking up a paintbrush. Visitors to the website can also upload photos of their favourite sites or vacation hotspots, and the DULUX paint software will automatically help recreate the feeling of the image in a room by suggesting a paint palette based on the colours in the particular photo.

I have to admit I used this tool extensively when choosing colours for our condo. It gave me the confidence to go bolder with colour than I may have otherwise done.

A great colour palette can do wonders for your décor and your outlook. Consider a fresh, new palette to infuse some life into your décor. Paint still gives you the most bang for your decorating buck and is easy to update down the road. A great base colour will inspire you to create a wonderful new space.


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