When it comes to decorating, poring over paint charts is undoubtedly one of the most exciting things, and the moment when you first take the lid off that tin of paint is even better. Colour can create moods, and even, many people believe, improve your mental well-being.
It doesn't seem that long ago that the choice for colour was either magnolia or 'tint with a hint'. Nowadays there are endless possibilities and, as with clothes, the major companies bring out new colours each season. One minute acid green is all the rage, the next it's the 'new neutrals'. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the choice. Even sticking to tried and tested white can have its pitfalls.
You may know exactly which colours you want to use but you can still hit a stumbling block. Why does the colour that looked so great in the tin look insipid and lifeless on the walls? What's more, you've spent hours trying to get everything to match exactly, but your room has just ended up looking bland.
Planning and carrying out your own colour schemes is easy once you understand the principles of colour. Interior designers often seem to have a built-in instinct for what goes with what, and it's true, relying on your instincts and playing around is one of the best ways of learning. But although paint is relatively cheap, doing out a whole room with soft furnishings and accessories only to realise it doesn't work, can be an expensive mistake. Designers have been trained and many use a simple colour wheel to make sure their designs are going to work.
If you're confused about colour, follow our simple rules and you need never leave colour to chance again. And once you know the rules, have fun breaking them.
Colour is a deeply personal thing - what makes you swoon, might make someone else sick. If you've ever wondered why you feel listless in your lounge or happy in your hall, delve into colour psychology.