Even though paint swatches such as Farrow and Ball or Dulux seem extensive with a dizzying choice of colour schemes for your Victorian house, if you require an exact hue, chances are that it will not feature there. If you choose a paint colour that is even a few shades away from the perfect complement to your other elements, your room will just look plain wrong and you will never be happy with it.
How do you create your own bespoke paint colour?
The easiest method of doing this would be to find an object of the required colour and take it to the paint shop where they will scan this colour and reproduce it for you.
However in the more likely scenario where you cannot find a suitable object, you will need to create an example of this colour yourself. To do this you would need to have a pantone swatch or similar that shows very subtle changes of hue, Photoshop or a similar photo editing program on your computer and a camera.
In our example we are trying to create a grey paint that complements our Triad wallpaper in mid grey and gold.
We first tried using a grey paint below the dado line that was a similar shade to the grey on the wallpaper. From close up this didn't look too bad.
However viewed from the other side of the room this looked completely wrong.
The reason for this was simple. The wallpaper is approximately 50% gold and 50% grey. When standing back, the reflection of the gold and the blurred pattern creates a green bias to the overall colour impression. The same result would occur with a blue and yellow pattern wallpaper once the eyes are blurred and it's viewed from a distance – the overall impression would be of a green hue. So the mid grey chosen ended up looking blue in comparison to the wallpaper.
How to pick the correct paint colour
Taking a digital camera (we used an Iphone), take a photograph of your target area, in this case the wallpaper. Make sure there is no Flash enabled as this will distort the colour temperature (amount of daylight) and affect the finished solution. Make sure you do this in daylight and with no artificial lights switched on.
Import your image into a Photo editing program such as Photoshop. Select the wallpaper and blur the image. This will give you a more realistic colour for you to match. Find out what the colour values of that colour are in CMYK .
Find a match on your pantone swatch and take this colour to the paint shop for the colour scanning machine operator to scan. Most specialist paint shops will have a colour scanner at their disposal in order to create any bespoke paint colour you might require.
Voila - you will find that your bespoke paint colour just belongs with your other elements, like a hand in a glove! A result worth a little extra time and effort to create that ideal Victorian colour scheme.
You can read our ultimate guide to period property renovation here.