Spotlight: Creative Stories from Around Ireland

Choosing a colour palette – the first step to a beautifully finished room

Lindy Duffy of MakeandDoDIY shares her insights on how to choose the perfect palettes for your home

Let's talk about colour! It's of monumental importance when it comes to the interior of your home. So important, that when Moda by Dulux contacted me and asked me to partner with them to talk about it I leapt at the chance. 

Disclaimer: This is a paid post. I only work with brands I love and respect, and I think you'll love too, and everything is always 100% my own opinion, just so's ya know. 

One of the questions I get asked most frequently is: I painted and got new furniture, but my room still doesn't feel like it's "done". What am I missing?! Nine times out of ten, what those rooms are missing is depth. 

It might sound strange, and you might not have ever thought about it before, but I've put together a few points to break it down and I promise if you follow them they'll help you achieve the interior of your dreams!

Accessorising with plants

1. Think about depth

What is depth? Simply put, it is decor that goes beyond the essential; art and objects that are personal to you, and a colour palette that contains more than just one or two colours. A successful room needs layers, and all these things added together will definitely elevate your room and make it feel more like the millions of pins you probably looked through on Pinterest before you even started!

2. Choose a palette

So, where do you start? Choosing a palette is always the first thing to do. Decide what kind of a feel you are looking for first, and if you're not sure what colours you're into, I suggest pinning (a lot!) of rooms that appeal to you on Pinterest. When you look at them all together later you should be able to see a theme emerging, whether that be light and bright, dark and moody or somewhere in the middle. From there, taking into consideration the colours of any furniture that is staying, pick your main colour. 

Now, this is where a lot of people think the paint part of the job is over, but that is where they are wrong friends, dead wrong. I go on to pick a further three or four complimentary colours that I will bring in to add depth to the room and make it feel "finished". 

I've done this so often that I'm pretty confident creating a palette from colour cards, but if you want some guidance then Dulux has put together many different colour schemes that you can use to help you figure out your own room, and I picked out a couple of my favourites.

Him and Her Capsule Collection

Mineral Glow Capsule Collection

Both the Moda Him and Her Capule Collection and the Moda Mineral Glow Capsule include the type of intense, moody colours that I've been drawn to recently. What I love most about these suggestions is that it's absolutely up to you how you use them. Feeling brave? Then paint all four walls in Amaranth or Gatsby Blue. Not sure? Then choose one of the lighter colours for the walls and go dark with your curtains and cushions (see my next point about how to accessorise). Whatever you choose, you're sure to end up with a beautiful room, full of character and depth, and that's exactly what we're all after!

Open plan dining room

3. Accessorise using the palette

Take my open plan dining room/kitchen, for example. At first, it might seem like the palette is a very basic, white/grey combo, but actually there are two different shades of white, as well as grey on the floor, pink in the soft furnishings and artwork and gold and green in the decor and plants. Yes, I consider plants part of the colour scheme, and that also goes for the wood tones in the furniture. Each of these colours and tones is adding a layer to the overall scheme in here and making it feel cohesive and "finished".

A palette

Another way of getting big splashes of colour into a room, and a great way of using intense colour if you love it but are a bit wary of having it on your walls, is to paint a piece of furniture. I will often upcycle furniture to fit in with my scheme, and this is a particularly great way to furnish your home if you are on a tight budget, as pretty much any piece can be made to fit in after a few coats of paint!  And honestly, having a few individual pieces in a room instead of the usual items from the bigger furniture stores makes the room feel like it's been pulled together over time and that's exactly what you want.

This vanity unit started life as a stained pine hand me down dresser, which was then painted pink and used in my daughter's room before getting chopped up, repainted and fitted with new handles to take pride of place in my bathroom. Look at pieces with an open mind and I bet you or your family (or your local charity shop!) have many pieces that could be put to great use.

As my kitchen and living room are both open to the dining room I kept the same overall scheme in both of those rooms, but I played around with it, using more of the darker colours like the grey and green in the living room against blush pink walls, and sticking to black, white and grey with gold accents in the kitchen. In this way I kept the rooms looking distinct, while ensuring that they all flow into and complement each other, which really helps to make this relatively small space feel spacious.

Black fireplace, blush pink walls, gold feature wall and a charity shop sideboard serving as a tv stand. All adding character and depth to my living room.

Once you have your palette sorted and the room painted you're on to the fun part of every room makeover, the soft furnishings and accessories! Curtains, cushions in a variety of complementary colours and patterns, plus inexpensive art and accessories will really tie the whole room together. Charity shops are a treasure trove of great accessories and with a little luck and some imagination you can find some really great stuff. 


If I need to bring in particular colours to a scheme, I often do it with diy art. This one was done by letting the kids loose with a potato stamp and my selected paint colours.

So easy right? If it seems scary it really doesn't need to be. You can do it, I promise you. Colour can completely transform a space, and painting a room is a cheap and easy way of totally changing how a room feels, so start there. Be on the lookout for inexpensive throws, cushions and curtains that tie in with your palette, and check sites that offer free downloadable images and art that might incorporate some of your colours. You can have a beautiful home, and with a little creativity you can do it on any budget. Good luck!


More Spotlight

Search