If you’re lucky enough to own a home, it is probably your greatest asset. The first impression that visitors get of your property is the exterior colour scheme, so it needs to be carefully selected given the considerable cost of repainting every 10 or more years.
But it is not just the paint colour that has a major impact on the appearance of a house; the garden, lawn, driveway and fences or walls are also part of the overall presentation and ‘street appeal’.
So how do you start the daunting process of choosing colours to use when there are many different options?
Looking at colour schemes on similar house styles will help you visualise your own home repainted. You can also find inspiration on websites and in design-related magazines. Collect photos and paint swatches in an ‘Ideas Book’ to clarify colour combinations you like, which work well together. Then decide what will suit your home.
You’ll generally need to consider a minimum of three main colours for an exterior scheme; one for the roof, one for the body of the building, and one for the joinery. An additional accent colour can be used to highlight window trim, shutters, doors, fences, and architectural features. Undesirable features or elements such as downpipes can be painted to match the colour of the house so they blend into the background.
If you’re repainting an existing home, your paint options may be limited by the colour of the roof, brick or schist cladding, aluminium joinery, and pre-coloured metal spouting, downpipes and garage door. The challenge is to create a cohesive scheme that pulls the colours together.
Once you’ve narrowed down the choices, it’s time to paint out large samples of each colour in the scheme. Hold them proportionately as they will appear on the house, and view them outside in sunlight and shade.
All colours used on the exterior of a building will look lighter in bright sunlight. Whites and off-whites have a high light reflectance value (LRV) and last longer than darker colours because they reflect most of the sun’s harmful rays.
Darker colours have a low light reflectance value and absorb most of the sun’s heat. This can cause the substrate to warp and damage the surface paint coating, so they are less suitable for large surface areas like the body of a house. Dark colours are best used for accent trim and decorative features which can be easily repainted more frequently.
CoolColour paints are an alternative to standard dark paint colours because they are more durable. Due to their technology they reflect more of the sun‘s energy, and therefore help to reduce the build-up of heat.
When it comes to finalising the colours, aim to achieve a well-coordinated exterior scheme that looks visually pleasing, harmonious and timeless, with no one colour standing out and overpowering the balance.
The trend for floor to ceiling glass in modern homes creates stunning light-filled spaces, but our harsh sunlight can cause extreme fading and damage to interior fabrics and floor coverings, particularly on the north and west facing aspects.
New Zealand has one of the highest ultraviolet ratings in the world; with direct sunlight, reflected sunlight, temperature and the angle of the sun all adversely affecting the contents of our home. As a consequence, any upholstered furniture, carpet and hardwood flooring directly exposed to the sun will usually fade over time. The only way to combat damage completely is to block the sun at its source, the window; but it is possible to reduce the intensity of ultraviolet light by installing one or more of the following options:
- Tinted film on windows
- Sheer drapes
- Sunscreen, venetian or wooden blinds
- Wooden shutters
- Externally fitted canopies or awnings
- External louvres
Tinted film is the least obtrusive because the view through windows is not partially obscured. It is available in a range of tint colours to suit different environments, and can block up to 99% of the powerful ultraviolet rays. It minimises fading, and in addition, reduces heat absorption which causes leather to crack and wooden flooring to dry out.
Selecting appropriate fabrics to use in sun-drenched rooms can also dramatically decrease the amount of fading on furniture and window treatments. Although no fabrics are guaranteed to be completely fade-resistant, acrylic and polyester fabrics are some of the most durable in the marketplace. The use of fabrics woven with 100% natural fibres such as silk, cotton and linen should be avoided in rooms exposed to sun for most of the day, because they will fade and deteriorate more rapidly than any manmade or composite fabrics.
No matter where you live in New Zealand, an outdoor room provides an extension of your interior living space, whether it’s an apartment with a small balcony or a rural retreat with unlimited space.
As summer approaches, we all want to spend more time outside relaxing, dining and entertaining. Why not add enjoyment and value to your property by building a deck or patio to create an outdoor room which can be used for many months of the year? When planning, keep in mind that it will be viewed from both inside and out – think about how it will be accessed and the different activities it will be used for. Regardless of your budget, you need to plan and consider the following:
- The style of your home
- Creating a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor spaces
- How you will use the outdoor space
- Proximity to living area & kitchen
- Protection from the sun as required
- Shelter from the prevailing wind
- Optional heating from outdoor fireplace, patio heater or brazier
- Outdoor lighting
Once the structure and sun shade is in place, select durable outdoor furniture and accessories to link with the style, colours, textures and patterns used in the interior living space. Have fun sourcing decorative outdoor cushions made from solution dyed acrylic fabric, citronella candles, co-ordinated table settings and plants in colourful pots to create a haven which reflects your style and lifestyle.
Arrange furniture both inside and out to ensure that there is clear access through doorways, and landscape around your deck or patio to soften the boundary between the house and garden. In addition, a water feature, sculpture or art installation can provide a stunning focal point.
When temperatures drop we’re drawn to warm, inviting interior spaces that feel intimate, relaxed and welcoming. What is it that pulls us in – the interior paint colour of a room, the size of a room, the furniture arrangement, or fabrics and finishing touches? A well-balanced peaceful space is created when all of these elements work together in harmony, but colour has the greatest influence on the mood and atmosphere.
Introducing warmth to your living room can be easy and inexpensive. Start with the selection of a paint colour for the walls, then use accessories to add layers of accent colour and texture. Choose warm colour tones, and if you prefer a neutral colour scheme, prevent blandness by using tonal variation and different textures for visual interest. Link them together with striking artwork and accessories. For more of a punch, add richly coloured, textured cushions, throws, floor rugs and enveloping drapes to suit your style – think rich autumnal tones of red, orange and yellow or fresher warm spring colours.
Comfortable rooms exude personality and reflect the style of those who live in the home. Add interest and character by displaying your favourite family photographs, personal treasures and travel memorabilia. Arrange furniture around a focal point such as a fireplace or view, and if the room is large, use rugs and other furniture groupings to define zones for other activities within the same space. Use diffuser sticks for a subtle background fragrance, and create a relaxing environment where you want to spend time with family and friends. Enjoy scented candles or dimmed lights for a cosy, softer and more restful atmosphere in the evening.