Fewer is better when it comes to paint colour choice

A collection of open paint cans with soothing neutral colours

Cottage living is meant to be a calming antidote to high-pressure environments, hectic schedules, and daily decision-making—including the decorating process, which can be filled with a dizzying amount of choice. That’s especially true of paint. That you can’t go wrong on colour is the promise of new paint line that combines the technical expertise of Rust-Oleum with the creativity of Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault, one of Canada’s best-known colour, DIY, and design personalities.

Leigh-Ann’s own origin story with paint goes way back. “I was raised by upcyclers, before it was even used as a term,” she explains. “My parents—especially my dad—would shop the curbside for treasures.” Watching them lovingly revitalize rescued pieces taught her “to look at things through the lens of potential.”

Paint expert Leigh Ann Allaire Perrault in a blue demin jacket against a hot pink background.
Leigh-Ann has long been fascinated with paint colour

The family’s medium of choice was paint and stain. “I didn’t always realize how much of an influence that was on me. But I guess have always known paint is the easiest way to change spaces and things,” she explains.

By university, Leigh-Ann found herself deeply interested in design and particularly invested in colour theory and history: a national media career in colour and design consultation, lifestyle, DIY,  and décor followed.

All that experience and knowledge has been poured into Colour Spark, a carefully-chosen palette of 13 paint colours made under the Rust-Oleum brand. “We’re taking a new approach with a hyper-curated collection. It starts with a baseline from which you can easily steer your own ship.”

Paint comes in eggshell and semi-gloss. Eggshell has just a hint of subtle lustre, while semi-gloss reflects more light and brightness. Easy to clean, both are suitable for high-traffic areas.

 “You get one navy,” laughs Leigh-Ann, “but like the rest, it’s a quintessential neutral.”  These sophisticated colours are versatile enough, she adds, that you can close  your eyes, pick any three, and find that they harmonize.

All perform well as what Leigh-Ann calls canvas colours. “I’ve always believed colour on the walls is the most integral supporting actor to the lead actor, which is the focal point, whether that’s a fireplace or furnishing.”

It’s also among the least expensive ways to make an impact in a room. Colour Sparks’ 3.78 litre of two-pack costs at $129—online at Home Depot, Rona, or Lowe’s and online and on the shelf at Walmart, although in-store availability across banners will increase. A full-set sample card sells for $13, and an online visualizer lets consumers see how a colour will look in a room.

Product is pre-tinted, so there’s no standing around at the store, and the risk of mis-tinting paint colour is eliminated. Especially useful for cottage country spaces with moisture issues—the formula has anti-mould and mildewcide properties.

Site orientation probably matters most when choosing paint for cottage country, Leigh-Ann says. “Colour will change, not just the course of the day, but from season to season. Think of the leaves in summer reflecting into your space. In winter, you won’t have that reflection on the walls. “

Neutrals with tonality—meaning there is some grey in them—are agreeably flexible. “There’s a level of absorption from light, as opposed to the stark bold high-concentrated colour. These chameleon colours are easier to work into your space.

An open paint can with a lid showing the paint colour, and a p[aint roller beside ir

Colour psychology should also guide choices for recreational properties, says Leigh-Ann. “Colour affects vibe and moods. People who want that level of relaxation should tap into neutrals with blue and green undertones, for example, because  they lower blood pressure, and cool the body.”

Visualizers and real-life samples can further narrow choices. “But don’t just stick up a sample and go, oh yeah that looks good; leave it there for a few days. Look at the colour when you will be using the room. If you like to sleep in until 10 a.m. on the weekend, see what it looks like at 10 a.m. Think about the way you live, and how to make it most relaxing.”

Vicky Sanderson

A self-confessed Opinion-ista, Vicky Sanderson has been writing and talking about décor, design and lifestyle issues for almost two decades, and has tested just about every home product known to humankind.

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