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Consider these questions before rushing out to choose your favourite colour to paint your apartment.


Making your new rental feel like home can be as simple as choosing the right colours to complement your pieces and lifestyle. Furniture or artwork that you may be growing tired of can seem completely new and different against the right backdrop. If you’re unable to paint the walls in your new apartment, paint the furniture! You can breathe new life into old wood or metal pieces by simply slapping on a coat of paint. It’s an afternoon project that can change the whole atmosphere of a room!

But before you rush out and choose your favourite colour, there are a few things to consider first. What sort of mood are you looking to create? Do you want your space to match your energy, or counter-balance it? Some colours promote calming feelings while others excite and stimulate the senses, so it’s worth doing a little research before diving in! 

If you want your apartment to POP, choose a deep and vibrant hue. Using a vibrant colour means your furniture and other décor should be minimalistic—allow the colour to dominate the room and inform the overall style. Choose pieces with clean lines and sharp edges; they will stand out nicely against a vibrant background. Neutral furniture looks amazing against a bright background. 

If you want your space to be one of tranquility, consider more muted tones. Anything too bright will overstimulate the mind, so consider a toned-down version of your favourite colour to create a calming space. Neutral colours, while often overlooked or considered boring, can be your new best friends. Creamy browns or cool grays on the walls allow you to constantly change the whole atmosphere of a room by simply replacing or updating accent pieces. If you grow tired of things quickly, a neutral tone may be your best bet. Express your style with funky textiles or dramatic art pieces. 

White and black accents are essential no matter which colour(s) you choose to work with. Bright, vibrant colours are beautifully complemented by white trim or accents (a ceiling fan, light fixtures, electrical coverings, throw pillows, etc.) and muted tones look great with black accents. Black, especially in a smaller space such as an apartment, is best used in small doses. Stick to small accents or save black for the curtains, tablecloth or throw pillows. Another great way to incorporate black is to decorate with black photo frames. In today’s digital world, there’s nothing as charming as actual framed photos in a home. Too much black will make a room appear smaller, so be sure to use in small doses only. 

Consider the ceiling! This space represents one sixth of a room, yet it is often overlooked or placated with yet another coat of off-white. Get creative! For example, if you’ve chosen a deep blue colour for your walls, try a (much) lighter version of the same colour on the ceiling! To ensure a perfect match, you can have the paint specialist at your local home renovation store tone down the saturation so you maintain a consistent flow between wall and ceiling. 

Unsure how colour can affect your mood? There is a whole colour psychology that you could get lost in for hours, so here’s a quick rundown of the colours and their mood-altering qualities:

Red

The most emotionally-charged colour, just looking at red stimulates a quicker heartbeat. Red is the colour to choose if you want your space to be unforgettable; it makes a powerful statement. Red is great on walls if your furniture is neutral in colour; a beige, black or white couch will appear revitalized against a red backdrop. The colour of passion and love, consider using red accents in your bedroom. Red is also an appetite stimulant and works beautiful in even the smallest kitchens. 

Orange 

Orange is a social colour and represents friendship. While overwhelming for an entire room, orange can make a lovely accent wall in a living room or kitchen. Lean towards pumpkin or carrot shades, as anything brighter can appear garish or gaudy. Orange makes for a lovely accent colour when decorating with earth tones. 

Yellow

Cheerful, optimistic and energetic, yellow is one colour that never seems to go out of style in the home. While it may seem like a friendly choice, it should be noted that yellow is the most difficult colour for the eye to take in, so use it sparingly or choose a soft shade. Yellow aids concentration and would be a good choice for a home office or other work space. 

Green

Arguably the most popular decorating colour choice, green is as versatile as it is pleasing to the eye. Appearing all over nature, the human eye relaxes at the very sight of green, which produces calming effects. 

Blue

Like green, blue is naturally easy on the eyes and promotes feelings of tranquility. With deep calming properties, blue is a natural choice for bedrooms—but be careful! The wrong shade of blue can appear cold or stiff, so take your time in choosing the right one. Blue is also the least appetizing of all the colours, so maybe best to leave it out of the kitchen and dining areas!

Purple

Elegant, timeless and sophisticated, purple can work in just about any room. It’s a little warmer than blue looks beautiful in the bedroom. It’s associated with royalty and will play up gold or silver accents nicely. If you’re going for a plush, luxurious theme, purple is the way to go. The only thing to consider is because purple appears rarely in nature, it can feel artificial if over-used or used incorrectly. 

The most important thing to remember when choosing your palette is that this is your space and should therefor reflect your unique personality. Don’t be afraid to break convention—there are exceptions to every rule, so dare to be adventurous when decorating your new apartment! 

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Paramount Properties is Ottawa's second largest residential property management company. With more than 7500 Ottawa apartment rentals available in some of the city's finest locations, we're your #1 choice for an Ottawa apartment.

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