Painting your home: this season's best-selling colours and new spring shades are out

Even posh paint only costs about £40 for a can that will coat the walls of a smallish room, so don't be afraid to pick up a brush. There are hundreds of colours out there, so choose a brand, do some tests and get cracking. 

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Papers and Paints: pitch-perfect and traditional

Get superb-quality paints and exquisite colours from Papers and Paints ( which has been going for years in Chelsea and has a deservedly devoted fan base.

Premium firms make sublime paints using very good pigments, and sell hand-painted colour cards so you can be sure you like the shade. This saves painting your own swatches, so it’s worth it.

Papers and Paints, run by Patrick Baty, who advises historic houses and palaces on colour, divides its pitch-perfect paints into ranges.

The Historic range has some incredibly vibrant colours with evocative names such as Della Robbia Blue, Pale Majolica Yellow and Sèvres Green. Its Thirties and Fifties selections are so gorgeous that the hand-painted swatches look edible. These are fantastic if you love strong colour.

The Traditional range features colours used by English house painters over the centuries, including superb neutrals. Lovely to work with, the paint costs from £38.40 for 2.5L of matt emulsion. Its paints are water-based, though eggshell and gloss also come in oil.


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Keep it modern: Edward Bulmer's Fine Grey priced at £40 for 2.5L, will give you an on-trend, clean finish  (


Edward Bulmer: gorgeous greys

Edward Bulmer’s ( well-chosen range of 72 oil-based paints and distempers go on like a dream. Compared with other brands, these well-made paints are, as a group, chromatically relatively sober. There are some really lovely greys — bang on trend at the moment — that work well in both historic and modern interiors. Fine Grey is worth a look. 

If you want your home to recall a Dutch still life, this is the brand for you. The website is very good. Prices start from £40 for 2.5L of matt emulsion.


Striking effect: Paint a two-inch band along the top of a skirting board for a splash of colour. Walls in Grey Teal, complemented with a bright Marigold stripe, both hall and stairs matt from £26.49 for 2.5L ( 


Little Greene: Architectural Paints

Until recently, the paintmaker Little Greene was not on most people’s radars. Now it has a smart new showroom in New Cavendish Street, W1. 

Next month it will relaunch the Paint and Paper Library, with its so-called “Architectural Paints”, which were developed by David Oliver, from whom Little Greene bought the company last year. 

The architectural range has five tones, marked I-V, of each of its 19 basic colours, so that you can use grades of one colour for particular effects. 

Paint a wall one tone, a cornice another and the ceiling another yet. The system ensures that they harmonise. 

Among Little Greene’s regular paints, its five best-selling colours include sizzling, orangey Atomic Red and the soft, deep, warm Hicks 

Blue, fantastic in a bedroom with crisp white bed linen; or use as a feature wall. 

Paint the guest loo Atomic Red — visitors will love it. From £38 for 2.5L (matt emulsion).


Farrow & Ball: Shadow White No. 282 and Peignoir No. 265 (


Farrow & Ball: nine fresh new colours

Farrow & Ball has launched nine new colours to celebrate its 70th year. This widely loved brand (, which sells only water-based paints, revealed the new additions to its appealing 132-shade range last month. 

Available in all finishes, the new colours have an emphasis on freshly fashionable drabs and greys. The darker tones work well on their own for elegance, or counterpoint them with whites or brights — in both paint and furnishings — for a contemporary look. 

The names of the new nine are historic and British, and include Drop Cloth, Worsted, Cromarty (a misty green-white), Yeabridge Green (a Georgian green, good in a bathroom or sitting room), plus a good strong teal called Vardo.

The wide range of Farrow & Ball finishes includes estate emulsion at £39.50 for 2.5L, through to gloss and floor paint. The company also makes casein distemper — a traditional milk protein-based paint with a soft, chalky finish — from £47 for 2.5L, and limewash, from £46 for 2.5L.


Dulux has some great ideas for children’s rooms that anyone just a bit artistic can try


Dulux: tough paints for kid's rooms

Dulux Magic ( offers a really tough new water-based paint suitable for children’s rooms and play areas. Called Endurance+, it is 20 times stronger than regular emulsion, and even crayon wipes off it. It comes in 14 “playful” colours, so use it for simple murals in children’s bedrooms. From £20.99.

Dulux has some great ideas for children’s rooms that anyone just a bit artistic can try. Each uses a maximum of four colours. Try its Superhero, Jungle, or Storybook bedroom designs. The company’s clever Magic White, meanwhile, goes on pale pink and fades to white in an hour. So if you’ve ever had trouble seeing where you just painted, this is the answer. From £18.98.


Crown’s Sun-Drenched City range: yellows accented with pink, copper, grey and charcoal flashes


Crown: using colour to contrast

Crown (, a tried and trusted and also an innovative brand, has some good ideas for using contrasting colours.

It suggests painting a piece of furniture in a geometric pattern of different tones for instant upcycling, using masking tape to get the lines straight. Or paint a two-inch band along the top of a skirting board for a striking effect in a hall. A niche or alcove painted a darker colour than the rest of the room creates a mini-office area for a desk. 

Crown’s new Hall and Stairs matt is, like Dulux’s Endurance Plus, “20-times more scrubbable” than ordinary emulsion. From £26.49 for 2.5L.


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