Blues and bright hues take centre stage, even in small spaces

By Jennifer Brown , Toronto Star

If you’re planning to decorate your new home, consider choosing shades from the cool colour palette. Dark blues will be hot for 2013 according to colour experts; think dark blue jeans infused with violet and purple-tinted deep sapphire.

Violet is a “very calming and intriguing colour, ” says Martin Tustin-Fuchs, brand director for Dulux Paint. “This is one of the deepest colours we’ve ever chosen.”

Studies conducted by paint companies show that blue is the most popular colour worldwide, identified as the favourite colour of more than half the world’s population and the colour least disliked by most cultures.

If bluish-purples don’t do it for you, there are also a range of fresh colours to choose from for 2013. From papaya oranges and light mustard yellows, to spruce greens, deep blues and saturated neutrals, there’s probably something for everyone’s taste.

Last year’s hottest shade – red – has moved from tropical to warm pink. Deep watermelon, blackberry and red-infused neutrals are also in vogue.

Rounding out the 2013 colour palette are warmer, sandy neutrals – like “Fog Grey” from CIL ( – which are creamier and richer than last year’s light taupe. Cool, light neutrals, such as CIL’s “Universal Grey, ” a silver, feathery grey, will also be in style.

Whatever your taste, paint is definitely one way to approach spicing up your home, even if you think it’s too small to go big on colour.

“Considering how inexpensive paint is, it’s the cheapest way to change your living space these days, ” says Tustin-Fuchs.

Mustard yellows, corals and deep purple are being touted as big for 2013, but bright colours don’t tell the whole story – there are also some variations on neutral that are gaining popularity.

“Grey is very hot, no question, ” says Alison Goldman, brand manager with CIL paint.

All of the colours being touted for 2013 are doable, says Goldman, if you have the right accessories and furniture to go with it. However, if you have lots of antiques, hot coral or hot purple are probably not the best choice.

Condo apartments with floor-to-ceiling windows are perfect for bright colours.

“If it’s an open-concept living room with floor to ceiling windows, then you might just be looking at two walls as part of your living area. When you have a multi-functional space you can go to town and have a lot of fun with all that colour, ” says Goldman.

You can also consider painting a high loft ceiling with a deep colour.

If you’re in a home with wood trim be careful to use a colour that co-ordinates with the trim; most of the brighter colours look better with white trim.

Practical things to think about before starting a paint project include the state of the walls you’re working with – bright colours don’t hide flaws in walls as well as lighter colours.

Imperfections will draw your eye so spend the time to prepare your walls by sanding and making sure stains or oily patches are covered.

“Bright purple can be more difficult and probably won’t cover in one coat. Be prepared to prime and buy tinted primer or grey primer. So rather than needing four coats of paint, you get a coat of primer and one or two coats of the other and it’s not as daunting a task, ” says Goldman.

A flatter sheen of paint such as matte is better than eggshell or semigloss.

“If you’re going to do the work it’s nice to get a really great result out of it. Be sure to take off the light switches – if you don’t do it you’ll regret it, ” advises Goldman.

First published in the Toronto Star on December 1, 2012.

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