132 – How To Choose The Best Colours For Renovations

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renovation colours

Renovation colour is a great opportunity for you to get innovative. Choose the best renovation colours to reflect your personality and style.

Listen to Episode 132: How To Choose The Best Colours For Renovations


Podcast: Download (Duration 44:33 — 40.8MB)

 Watch Episode 132 on Video:

How To Choose The Best Colours For Renovations


  • [02:14] Get to know more about Adam Scougall
  • [04:20] Why is it important for renovators to be confident in choosing renovation colours?
  • [07:00] How to choose the right renovation colour scheme?
  • [12:35] Know the popular renovation colours and trends
  • [18:02] When should you go “All White” for a renovation colour?
  • [24:03] Renovation colours for bathroom projects
  • [30:16] What’s the view on external paint renovation colours?
  • [32:21] Apps you can use for renovation colour selection
  • [34:09] How to fix bad renovation colour decisions?
  • [38:03] What is the best for a feature wall?
renovation colours

A lot of people are not confident about the colours they choose… You need to consider how it’s going to work before you make a selection.”          ~ Adam Scougall

Adam Scougall is a Sydney-based interior decorator, artist, and designer known for his bold use of colour. Adam’s work celebrates everything bold and beautiful about Australian interior design.

Here you can get to know more about Adam Scougall, the self-named “minimal maximalist”.

Thanks to our friend and The School of Renovating advocate, Deborah De Jong,
from Caroma Australia for introducing us to Adam.

adam scougall

Get To Know More About Adam Scougall

Adam studied design and decoration at Sydney’s International School of Colour & Design and has over 18 years of corporate management experience in the financial sector. After creating a much-needed sea change in 2018, Adam now shares his passion full time to a life lived with colour and creativity.

He had set up his business years before he finally left corporate. He only left in 2018 for good. He was enjoying this side hustle for a long time. As he went to see clients, he would just see all the colour opportunities.

If you look into his projects, you’d see there are lots of splashes of colour around. He realised that colour is not the go-to for every renovation when you’re trying to sell a property. In terms of long-term enjoyment, you need to express yourself fully. Colour can help you do that.

Why Is It Important For Renovators To Be Confident In Choosing Renovation Colours?

For Adam, it’s the colour that tends to speak to him. People come to him and say they have a preference and this can sometimes be a starting point for his designs.

Bernadette Janson to Adam…

That’s why you’re here, because you have such a flare with colour. 

We’d like to talk about how to choose the best colours for a renovation. I agree that our renovations have to have broad appeal, but there are times when you can still be a bit courageous. For instance, one project I’m doing is not colour but a black interior because I’ve got artwork that I think will really pop.

The other thing that we have where we need colour is our Airbnb hosts. One of the strategies we use a lot is for short-term rental. You would probably know that you want your pictures to jump off the page when people are scrolling through listings. So that’s where the design comes into play.

Adam to Bernadette Janson…

Airbnb is a great example of your point of being able to use it because it’s like going to a great hotel. I remember going to places that gave me an experience. You want to have that experience for a short period and enjoy it. At the same time, I do understand if you’re living in your own home. Many people don’t want to have so much drama happening in their own home, in terms of all of that stuff going on, and particularly bright colours and patterns. Airbnb’s a fantastic idea for expanding on doing something a bit different for people.

How To Choose The Right Renovation Colour Scheme

Colour is such an important thing to Adam. People living in the kind of homes that may not be their forever homes, but they could be for quite a few years. There’s just not enough colour, and there’s not enough sort of risk in picking just a straightforward colour scheme.

People can be too scared if they pick the wrong colour or if they put together a bad combination.  ~ Adam Scougall

“They commit to it like it’s a chair or a sofa where you can just take off the pillow and throw it in the bin because it was the wrong colour choice. That stuff is harder for most people.” 

Adam is currently working on an online colour course that will put all of the tools together and how to pick them. 

You don’t need to have a degree in interior design to be able to put colours together. There are just a few fundamentals you do need to get. However, it’s not as difficult as people think if you follow a few simple strategies. 

Know The Popular Colours And Trends

Adam to Bernadette Janson…

“I know of the colour trends, but I don’t follow them because I feel like it is my job to be looking at things a little bit more holistically for my client.”

When working for a client, they often have a  lot of stuff that needs to be used. It could be a sectional L-shaped sofa in a particular colourway and you have to work with that.

Talking about trends with clients, you might decide on how Green is really in, especially with kitchens, whereas previously it was just white or you’ve got the Hamptons blue-white – a colour that’s on-trend at the moment.

You’ve also got a lot of the salmons you see in the watermelon colours and the peach; it feels a bit the eighties, back in the Pastels.

You try to read the line between being on-trend and doing it in a way that you don’t have to live with it forever. Such things as cabinetry, you have to live with it for a long time. It might look spot on the day you buy the property. Five years down the track, you’d be looking at this thinking to change it. And so it’s a big expense. You have to be a little bit practical about what you think about black tapware and coloured metal tapware.  

Adam to Bernadatte Janson…

I also like black and white altogether. I think that black and white is a much-needed sort of punctuation point. I don’t see it as a colour in terms of blue or orange or whatever, but it’s black and white. I think using black doesn’t ever date.

When Should You Go “All White” For A Renovation Colour?

Bernadatte Janson to Adam…

 If you’re going to go for white, what would be your favourite white? 

Adam to Bernadette Janson…

I like Gallery white; it’s obvious. But not if it’s a little bit cooler compared to a vivid white. I love that angle and it’s versatile. I don’t like cool whites generally. 

If you want to warm things up a teeny bit, let’s not talk about yellow or cream or the antique whites. We’re not going there with antiquey creams, but there’s a couple of colours I don’t mind. Natural white from Dulux. You might find it a bit too creamy, cause I know you would know about your whites, Bernadette, or popcorn.

Porter’s has less white, less cream than natural white if you look at your white on white and you look at natural white together. You’re going to go – natural whites, yellow and white on whites, a true art gallery white. Popcorn is a little bit less than that. With the natural white, I like a little bit of warmth.

Bernadatte Janson to Adam…

The last project that we used it on was within an apartment we did in Chalmers street. I felt that it was a tiny bit too clinical though everyone loved it. It could have just done with being a little bit warmer. 

Big brands like Woolworths and Coles spend so much money on their brands and getting the colours right. Colour impacts how people feel about their business. 

renovation colours

Renovation Colours For Bathroom Projects 

When you go into the bathroom area, you just want to wash out the tension of the day or refresh yourselves in the morning and not have too much going on. However, we do see some funky bathrooms out there.

Adam to Bernadatte Janson…

I don’t like to see a whole lot of patterns. Moroccan Tiles I like a little bit of, but I don’t want to see it all over the walls. I probably would have a little detail. 

renovation colour

Apps You Can Use For Renovation Colour Selection

Adam doesn’t personally use apps because he likes to get in there and look at the actual paint. But he came across Canva and did all the graphic design stuff there.

There’s a link in Canva where you can actually go in and you can type in a complementary colour or you can type in analogous colour, which is colour combinations. If you are thinking about colour palettes using deeper colours, something like Canva can help you.

You can also check Google or Pinterest and search for “What are the colour palettes for gunmetal, grey?” It will show results that you might not have even been thinking of.

How To Fix Bad Renovation Colour Decisions?

Admit it. Sometimes you make bad colour decisions when something’s on sale. For example, you haven’t got your room scheme figured out but you think it will work. Then when you get it home, you realise that it’s Petrol green leather. So you look to answer your question, whether it’s paint or leather or whatever you have to keep going with it and end up using the colours that you don’t like. 

What you can do is add a complementary colour in with whatever the colour is. If it’s too cool, you can use blue, then you have to go, you have to keep using the blue. So in terms of furnishings, you can pick a fabric and continue to incorporate that too cool blue colour in other things, whether it’s window treatments. The key is not to try and forget. You’ve done it. Keep going with it and keep adding complementary colours to that article.

What Is Best For A Feature Wall?

I prefer to do a room in a whole colour. I like playing with different strengths of the same colour paint and maybe do walls.               ~ Adam Scougall


Ten years ago, everyone was doing Suede paint as a feature wall. Remember to do it with a specific colour and then do the variation like maybe a half strength.

The other thing I like is colour blocking, opposed to one wall. Especially if it’s a chic colour or even a really lovely tonal colour that isn’t deeply saturated. Do it on one half, then do it on one side of the apartment as a colour block. 


Whenever we’re talking about a feature wall, to me it’s a little bit – especially if it’s just white walls around the feature colour… you can just point it out. ~ Adam Scougall


“The furnishings have to be cool to be able to cut with that. But I like your idea of painting it in that colour and then maybe doing a half-strength or a quarter strength.”

What’s Your View On External Paint Renovation Colours? 

For external paint colours, you need to consider what’s happening in the street around us. This influences our colour choices. ~ Adam Scougall

There’s flamboyance and there’s being individual. But when it comes to external paint colour, it needs to be on-point. It needs to be something that’s going to last. Maybe 10 years just with general colourways can survive that long. It’s such a huge expense. You want to make a sophisticated choice. You and your neighbours have to think of how you connect. 

You’ve got to be strategic. Like anything else with the external paint. It’s such a huge investment of money and you’re not going to generally repaint it. It’s really important to just keep it simple and keep it sophisticated with the external palette. Live up to the architecture of the building and follow a colourway that will work the way that the house is being built.

She Renovates Free Facebook Group

And then if you’re not a member of our free Facebook group, please come over and join. I come into that group every Thursday and do a FB Live and let you know what’s going on in our community. And I love to see you there.

Wonder Women Renovators Program

You may like to consider The School of Renovating Wonder Women Renovators program which provides training, mentoring, community, and joint venture opportunities for creative women, wanting to replace their income with renovating and Airbnb either now or at retirement.

If you want to know more about our Wonder Women program, you can download our Wonder Women magazine at www.theschoolofrenovating.com/wonderwomen 

She Renovates Free Membership 

If you’re not a member it’s very easy to sign up and it gives you access to all the resources and the notes from every episode we have ever created. You may sign up here

Apple Podcast 

If you’ve got a minute, I’d really love you to come over to the Apple Podcasts platform or and leave us a review.

She Renovates Free Facebook Group

If you want to meet up with a group of savvy renovators. I would say come over and join She Renovates Facebook Group. It’s a completely FREE Facebook group and it is growing at the rate of knots. We hit over a thousand members just recently, and now it seems to have picked up momentum. They are all savvy renovating women and men working their little hearts out to live a better life through renovating.

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