Interior Design

Kelly Hoppen tells us how to avoid paint color mistakes – and why we get it wrong

Never pick the wrong paint color again

Moodboard - Kelly Hoppen paint color mistakes
(Image credit: Future)

Celebrity interior designer Kelly Hoppen has revealed why we so often get paint colors wrong with tips that might just stop you from making those decorating mistakes in future. 

The celebrated British designer and TV personality shared her secrets on This Morning – a UK-based chat show – where she appeared from her West London home. In the interview, Kelly revealed her expert tips on getting paint color choices right – and why we so often make mistakes when picking our chosen shades.

See: Living room paint ideas – stylish ways with paint, and your questions answered

Moodboard - Kelly Hoppen paint color mistakes

(Image credit: Oliver Gordon)

Holding up a vast array of different grey paint samples, the designer said it was a mistake to experiment with different colors by painting samples directly on to a wall, as we may have practised in the past. 

Instead, Kelly suggested painting your chosen colors on to separate pieces of A4 paper, saying her technique will give a clearer sense of how the shade will look in a different light because you can move it around the room.

See: Grey living room ideas – inspiring neutral schemes that you'll love for years to come

Moodboard - Kelly Hoppen paint color mistakes

(Image credit: Future / Davide Lovatti)

‘The problem is, people tend to paint it on a wall, but because the color changes so much in your room depending on whether it's night or day, you actually need to paint it on a piece of paper, so that you can see the different tones you’re going to have when it’s night time and when it’s day time,’ Kelly began. 

She also suggested using this technique with different shades of the same color to help you compare and contrast.

The designer then focused further on the importance of natural light and its power to transform shades on certain surfaces. 

‘If you’ve got a lot of natural light, then it’s brilliant to have something a little bit darker or more colorful. If you want that cozy feeling, it doesn’t really matter,’ she shared. 

Moodboard - Kelly Hoppen paint color mistakes

(Image credit: Future/Polly Wreford)

‘But,' she continued. 'There are so many tricks that you can use with paint that are really important.' 

For example, traditionally, we tend to paint architraves, doorways and skirting boards in a different color to the wall, when actually, it should all be the same color as the walls. 'The biggest expanse in your room is actually the walls, so that should all be one color,’ she shared. 

See: Decorating with neutrals – 5 things you should never do – and the secrets to success

'Otherwise, it's like wearing a pair of short trousers with the wrong socks,' she said. 'Your eyes are going to go to that – so it should all be the same color, and often the same with the ceiling, too.' 

These tricks, she suggests, can help make your rooms feel more coordinated and calmer. ‘You’re putting in your sofa, chairs, lighting – if the walls are plainer, it’s a better base to start with,’ Kelly concluded. 

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.