Money Property How to transform your home with a quick splash
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How to transform your home with a quick splash

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If you want to transform the main living area in your house but are short on the folding stuff there is an inexpensive solution.

Lisa Marklew, of Colours Interior Design, believes you can improve a shared living space without major building works. Ms Marklew says all you need is a smart use of colour, and

Your choice of paint colour can make or break your home.
Your choice of paint colour can make or break your home.

of course, some paint.

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She recalls a recent case where a client wanted to make her living room “dramatic and more contemporary and with no structural changes’’.

The interior designer says the room had a “dominating” dark brown and charcoal brick open fireplace with plaster walls either side of the fire. The rest of the walls had dado pine lining boards to the lower half and plaster to the upper half.

The room also featured good-size windows in two walls with white colonial-style panes and dark stained timber window frames. The floor was carpeted in a neutral putty colour and the sofas comprised dark brown leather.

Lisa Marklew.
Lisa Marklew.

“It is usual for people to paint out timber dado walls, either in the same colour as the wall above or in a feature colour,” Lisa says. “But I was looking to take your eye away from the dado walls, not accentuate them. As the fireplace was the dominating feature in the room we could have painted over the bricks but we decided to select a paint colour for the plaster walls beside it instead.

“The feature colour in the brick wall was a dark charcoal and thus this became the basis for our contemporary colour scheme of charcoal and white.

“The plaster walls each side of the brick fireplace and then continuing around all the plaster walls above the dado panelling were all painted in Dulux Domino (a very dark charcoal). The ceilings, the dado walls and the window frames were painted in Dulux Whisper White, as was the door and architrave. This scheme provided a lovely play of light and colour giving a dramatic effect. At eye level the charcoal walls now have ‘holes of light’ punched through them and are framed in white.

“At the lower level the dark sofas sit against the white dado panel walls. The texture of the brick fireplace wall warms the neutrality of the charcoal and white palette.

“And a neutral palette means we can add colour with cushions, lamp shades, a rug and decorations/artwork.”

Ms Marklew believes with the makeover the room went from “dated dado to contemporary chic”.

Top tips for spicing up your living space

From the ground up

“The dominant areas of your room will set the scene for your colour scheme. Start with the flooring. If it is remaining, then your walls need to work with the flooring.”

Time to get painting.
Time to get painting.

Splash out

“Be adventurous. A neutral colour scheme can be anything but dull. The contrast of a black and white colour scheme is a bold statement, the rich hues of charcoal greys or chocolate browns add drama and personality, and the soft greys and off-white tones are a calming backdrop to loud splashes of colour in your décor.”

Complimentary shades

“Visit your paint store. Many paint manufacturers have shades of colour that work with each other. Use these as the basis of your neutral palette.’’

Smoke signals

If you have a wood-burning brick fireplace, the bricks are best left unpainted so smoke-staining from the fire is not an issue. Alternatively, some gas appliance companies offer gas log fireplace inserts for open fireplaces.’’

Team with the theme

“Continuity of colour is important. Window frames, architraves and skirting boards, all painted in the same shade, will lift and accentuate wall colours. Wall colours that traverse more than one wall allow the eye to flow through the room and accentuate your furnishings.”

Visit Marklew’s website here


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