Use lighter colours to give a sense of space, but beware of painting your entire house magnolia or beige, whatever you see on TV, as vast expanses of these colours will look cold and dull in the British autumn and winter. A clever way to choose colours is to pick a paint chart in a DIY superstore where colours are grouped and themed, and use these colours in different rooms around your house or flat. For example, you might choose a particular green for your living room, and the related blue for your kitchen, with the yellow from the chart for your hallway. Upstairs you might choose the lilac from the chart for your bedroom. This gives a sense of flow and cohesion to your home. If money is tight, consider using cheap developers’ magnolia throughout, but with the modification of a feature wall in each room to lift the mood, where one wall out of the four is painted in a different colour. If your furniture has a period look, it might be worth spending a bit more and choosing ‘historic’ paints for the feature walls, as this will complement the wood. These are produced by many manufacturers, but the leader in the field seems to be Farrow and Ball, a niche British company. If you do decide to use their products, I would choose the modern emulsion for normal walls and the water based eggshell for kitchens and bathrooms, as the other paints can be difficult to work with to get good results. Their paint is very expensive, so the feature wall principle works well here. Remember that wall preparation is crucial. Even expensive paints will look cheap if your walls has cracks and lumps. Spending a little time on getting a good finish is an important part of the austerity philosophy, and it will be well worth it in the end.
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