How To Choose The Perfect Paint Colour For Your Home

By Leanne Moore
Colour is the practical magic that plays a vital role in transforming a house into a home, says Leanne Moore. Photo / Bonnie & Neil

In this design series, A Space For Being, interiors expert Leanne Moore explores what it takes to transform a house into a home. Follow along for more tips and tricks for creating your dream space at home, including savvy storage solutions, the best indoor plants, and how to style your how to turn a house into a home.

We all see colour differently. It’s a deeply personal thing. That’s okay — it’s what makes the world an interesting place. The most important thing with colour is knowing what you like and having the confidence to surround yourself with your favourite tones. Here’s our guide to finding the right colour story for your place.

Be true to yourself

When it comes to selecting colours, you have to be honest with yourself. Don’t sublimate the colours you really want to decorate your home with because they’re not on trend.

Get to know the colours you’re instinctively attracted to and note them down. Look in your wardrobe, this will give you a big clue.

Once you figure out what you’re drawn to — and the colours you don’t like — then max out on the colours you love and minimise your exposure to the colours that don’t bring you as much joy.

Feel confident in your choices and stay true to your colour story. Don’t worry if your neighbour or best friend does not like the colour combo you’ve selected. A zesty yellow living room or a pink bathroom might not be everyone’s cup of tea but as long as you like it, that’s all that matters. You’re not decorating for your friends and family — it’s your home, not theirs.

Warm tones create a cozy atmosphere, while blues evoke calm. Photo / Kip & Co
Warm tones create a cozy atmosphere, while blues evoke calm. Photo / Kip & Co

Continuity is the key

Always keep your focus on the overall look and feel you’re going for. Whatever style of home you have, whether it’s a resort-style beach house, a high-rise apartment, or a design-savvy compact space, the aim is to deliver a distinct point of view that captures how you want to live.

Colour is the practical magic that plays a vital role in transforming a house into a home. If you’re not naturally colour confident opt for soft-toned neutrals as a starting point.

Keep it simple — perhaps work with no more than three or four colours. Any more and the result can be chaotic and busy. With a restricted colour palette, you can then go ahead and mix a floral with a stripe, or a geometric print with a textured plain.

Throughout the process, remember repetition is your friend. Visual echo is a design principle that involves the repetition of visual elements to create a sense of unity, balance and harmony. It’s like an echo in sound, where a certain sound repeats itself, creating a pattern.

Soft-toned neutrals are ideal for those less confident with colour. Photo / Cave Bureau
Soft-toned neutrals are ideal for those less confident with colour. Photo / Cave Bureau

Finding the right white

Colour is complex. You can be obsessive about colour but it doesn’t mean you enjoy being surrounded by bright colours, or shocking colours or daring combinations. White on white can be just as beautiful as an eye-catching combo. White is quiet and passive but still speaks volumes about the function that colour and textiles can serve in an environment — and can be equally as challenging to pull off as a dynamic duo of lilac and burnt orange.

When it comes to the quiet combinations, the key is exploring the nuances of tone within the context of light and space. Cool-toned whites like Resene Sea Fog, which has a hint of grey, work well in a sun-drenched north-facing space.

South-facing rooms need a warmer alternative to pure white, such as Resene Bianca, to compensate for the lack of direct sunlight. For kitchens and bathrooms, Resene Black White is a popular option.

Stick to three or four colours to avoid overwhelming chaos. Photo / Cave Bureau
Stick to three or four colours to avoid overwhelming chaos. Photo / Cave Bureau

Play with colour and colour combinations

Colour can inject energy into a room, impacting the ambience and functionality. For instance, using warm grounding tones like reds and earthy browns in communal areas can foster a sense of stability and connection. You might opt to play it cool by introducing serene blues. The colour of tranquillity and peace, blue is the most-liked colour universally.

If you’re drawn to exuberant colours and vibrant pattern, take your time to create a well-thought-out colour story that works beautifully together. Look for colours that play well off each other. Successful combinations are born of experimentation and careful consideration. Even the boldest colours can feel approachable if you rein in your colour palette so that common shades run through your interior scheme.

Add some spice to your colour recipe

Finally, throw in something to spice it up. Introduce an unexpected piece, such as a pouf in an eye-catching colour that makes the space sing. Decorating is not just the big picture, it’s the little things that make a big difference. Your goal is to express yourself and it’s rigorous attention to detail that will make your home feel special. When you get it right, it will be a haven you enjoy, love returning to and can’t wait to share with friends and family.

Where to shop for paint colours


Resene has a “find a colour” tool, colour matching, as well as a suite of online tools such as ColourHelper and electronic renders.


The Dulux Colour Forecast 2024 spotlights popular colours and trends as well as providing inspiration on colour combinations and usage.

Aalto Paint

The Explore Colours section has a Colour Filter online tool.

Natural Paint specialises in VOC-free paint for interior and exterior painting.

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