Seven top tips from Joa Studholme on how best to use paint in country houses

Joa Studholme of Farrow & Ball has lost count of the number of times that people have asked her opinion about painting a room in a certain colour. Here are her top tips for using colour to brighten and lighten your home.

More than two decades spent working in the interiors industry has taught Joa Studholme that colour confidence comes from appraising the details. Here is her advice for those wishing to tackle using colour in a country house on their own:

Experiment. You won’t ruin anything by painting mouldings in a chalky white or, conversely, by painting a room and all its architecural details in one colour. Start small – try using the colour on the inside of a bookcase or a cupboard.

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Colour is about distraction – to counter a low ceiling, paint it the same colour as the walls. A pure-white ceiling will often make a room look darker, so choose an off-white.

‘I would counsel only that colder greys don’t sit well in a country home – lilac-toned greys are more flattering’

People often make the mistake of keeping their wardrobes or radiators white. Paint the wardrobe in the same colour as the wall and it will instantly blend in.

Treat radiators with an eggshell version of the colour on the wall and you’ll never think about them again.

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Try using a slightly stronger tone on the shorter wall of a long, thin room. It will have the effect of squaring it up.

‘A room comprises a lot more than walls; it’s about considering the ceiling, the skirting, the mouldings, the window frames’

You can’t change what Nature has given you. If a room doesn’t receive much light, go bold with your colour choice.

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‘Preference Red was inspired by the Baroque trimmings of a Venetian palace and yet it looks amazing paired with walnut cabinetry’

If you’re unsure about using colour, start in the hallway. Either opt for a simple treatment opening out to even lighter rooms to draw the eye or go for a bold approach that leads on to paler rooms.

‘Farrow & Ball: Recipes for Decorating’ by Joa Studholme is published by Mitchell Beazley (£30)