Little Greene Paint & Wallpaper Blog

  • An Interview With Our Colour Specialist

     

    Simon Hutchinson

     

    Our Colour Specialist, Simon Hutchinson has a vast knowledge of producing and mixing colours for projects that require a more tailored approach. Using spectrophotometry and a detailed understanding of pigments, he formulates both bespoke colours and colour matches for historic shades.

    Here, Simon shares his advice on painting a period property and how to create a beautiful home whilst retaining its history.

     

    What should people consider when embarking on a decorating project in a period property?

    One of the most important things when you are starting a project is to make sure you are using the right product. There can often be many pitfalls with ‘older’ houses, especially when it comes to the use of lime in plaster and renders and how to paint over them. It’s always best to get advice before you start the project just to double check.

    Also, check if your house is listed or in a conservation area before you begin any exterior paint work. There can often be limitations on the colour and finish you can use so it is good to check this beforehand.

     

    'Normandy Grey'

     

    Are there any common mistakes that people make when decorating a period property?

    It is quite common to see colours being used on the exterior of a property that aren’t quite in keeping with the age of the house. For example, brilliant white is often used on exterior joinery but really this colour wasn’t available until the 1960s. A softer, more complementary colour to use would be Little Greene’s ‘Lead White.’ This colour was initially matched to lead carbonate which was the primary white pigment used before the turn of the 20th century, it is warmer and softer than a brilliant white so blends really well with traditional stones and bricks.

    Black is a colour that is often used on exterior railings and front doors. Prior to the 20th century this colour wouldn’t actually have been used on exterior metalwork. If you have a Georgian property, some different options would be ‘Dark Lead Colour’ and for Victorian buildings, ‘Invisible Green’ or ‘Deep Brunswick Green’ are perfect.

     

    Ceiling: 'Blush'
    Wall: 'Sir Lutyen’s Sage'
    Below Dado: 'Invisible Green'

     

    What are some of the key interior design trends from different periods?

    A Georgian trend which is still perfect for the contemporary home was the use of ‘common colours’ in the main parts of a house and the use of more expensive colours in the best rooms. For example, you could use a stone colour such as ‘Stone Mid Cool’ in the hallway and corridors with the introductions of ‘Pea Green’ or ‘Light Peachblossom’ in a living room, it certainly gives a nod to Georgian interiors.

    During the late Georgian and Regency period, the panelling below a dado rail would often be painted in a natural stone colour such as ‘Stone Pale Cool’ with a contrasting colour like ‘Blue Verditer’ or ‘Yellow Pink’ on the walls above which would create a classic, period feel to a home of that age.

    By the Victorian period, interiors had taken on a much more multi influential look due to the availability of exotic artefacts and the mass production of wallpapers. It is certainly an era that we can look to for inspiration and there are some wonderful, rich colours from this period such as ‘Ashes of Roses’ and ‘Brunswick Green’ that give a beautiful eclectic feel.

     

    Walls: 'Ashes of Roses'

     

    How important is it to use colours that are in keeping with a building?

    One thing to remember when painting a period property is that it is your home and not a museum. It is really important to choose colours that you are naturally drawn to and that you feel comfortable living with every day.
    You can really complement a period property by just being sympathetic to the period and architecture. It may be something quite simple like limiting your palette to only a handful of colours or keeping your woodwork in the same colour throughout the house that really draws attention to the natural features within your home.

     

    Simon Hutchinson

     

    How do you recreate historic shades?

    When matching and recreating historic shades for projects, I need to make sure that the modern colour has the same feeling and response to different lights. With an understanding of the pigments used at the time, these can be paralleled with our modern pigments and I can recreate and match these shades perfectly.

    If you think a consultation with Simon may help with your decorating project, click here to find out more about our Bespoke Colour Consultancy or email Simon on simon@thelittlegreene.com

  • Exploring 'Grey'

     

    Wall (left): Grey Teal 226
    Wall (right): Inox 224
    Flooring: Shallows 223

     

     

    Our 'Grey' colourcard is an easy-to-use collection of 28 grey shades grouped into four tonal families.

     

     

    Walls: Loft White 222
    Skirting (from top to bottom): Urbane Grey 225 & Lamp Black 228
    Flooring: Shallows 223

     

    The colour grey has been at the root of historical decoration for centuries and, even now, remains a timeless staple. It is a signature shade for the most sophisticated interior design, working equally effectively in a classic or contemporary setting. Records of the earliest decorative paint samples show colours based only on carbon black (soot) and iron oxide pigments. These subtle grey tones can be seen on the walls of fine stately homes, from drawing rooms to servants’ quarters, in townhouses and important industrial sites across Europe. Modernist architecture has openly embraced nuances of whites and greys, which have served as an accommodating backdrop to the interplay of light, textural contrasts and accent colours that have subsequently become intrinsic to contemporary interiors.

     

    Wall (panelled): Scree 227
    Wall (above): Shallows 223
    Flooring: Shallows 223

     

    Our ‘Grey’ card represents a proven palette of graduated greys, which have been formulated using four naturally-occurring pigments as standard: verdigris, umber, ochre and red oxide. These pigments have, for many centuries, been used to create harmonious, balanced and tranquil interiors.

     

    Wall: Flint 236
    Fireplace (dark): Chocolate Colour 124
    Fireplace (pale detail): True Taupe 240
    Stripe on wall: Furrow 241

     

    Request your complimentary 'Grey' colourcard here.

  • Inspiring Green Schemes

     

    Green is the true colour of nature, one that we feel comfortable with in the home. It is a shade that we associate with the tranquility of the outdoors. From earthy, muted tones such as ‘Boringdon Green' and 'Ambleside' to the bold brightness of 'Sage & Onions' these shades are both elegant and reassuring.

     

    Bold And Beautiful

     

    Marlborough - Glacé, Sage & Onions

     

     

     

    'Sage & Onions,' the surprisingly bright green is the original colour of the garden gate at Hill Top, Beatrix Potter’s farm in the Lake District, which features in The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck™. It adds an element of vibrancy and energy to this contemporary kitchen scheme, complemented by natural greenery.

     

     

    Serene

     

    Aquamarine - Mid, Ambleside

     

     

    Utilise colour blocking to pair the muted tones of 'Ambleside' with the classic blend of blue green, 'Aquamarine - Mid.' Accompany with natural wood and rattan furnishings for a tranquil environment, perfect for bedrooms.

     

     

    An Element Of Drama

     

     

    Pique, Jewel Beetle, Chocolate Colour

     

     

    These deep, sumptuous hues can be used as in all-over scheme to create immediate impact and warmth. Pair 'Jewel Beetle' with dark, rich shades such as 'Chocolate Colour' and use delicate, pale greens in place of white for ceilings and trim.

     

     

    A Natural Pairing

     

     

    Blush, Sir Lutyen's Sage, Invisible Green

     

     

    Gentle pinks such as 'Blush' and 'Confetti' work alongside earthy greens to create an interior scheme that is inspired by nature.

     

    Browse our 'Green' collection.

  • Choosing Colours For Your Kitchen

    Wall (main): Lamp Black 228
    Side wall: Loft White 222
    Flooring: Shallows 223

     

    The kitchen is often the heart of the family home. A place you can utilise colour to create a vibrant, inspiring space to reflect your interior style.

    Be bold with dark shades or produce a simple, neutral scheme with a highlight of colour to reflect your personal style.

    Our range of finishes provide a durable, beautiful effect for walls and woodwork including kitchen cabinets and have been specially formulated to withstand busy family life, little hands and even pets.

     

     

    Walls and cabinets: Hicks’ Blue 208
    Stool: Green Verditer 92

     

    When choosing colours for your kitchen, try to decide what sort of style you are looking to achieve, taking into consideration colours that already exist within the space. Furniture, flooring and artwork are all elements that should be included as colours within your palette.

    If there are any architectural features or areas of interest that you would like to draw attention to, consider using colour to highlight these.

     

     

    Units up to and including Shelf: Harley Green 312
    Above Shelf: Tea with Florence 310

     

    When selecting paint for your kitchen, you can choose from both water-based and oil-based paints.

    Our Intelligent Paints are breakthrough water-based paints which are quick and easy to apply. They are completely washable and can be used with utmost confidence on most surfaces including plaster, woodwork and radiators.

    Our Intelligent Paints are also certified as ‘Child Safe’ so are completely safe to use in all areas of the family home.

     

     

     

    Upper Wall: Aquamarine – Pale 282
    Lower Wall: Aquamarine – Mid 284
    Island: Aquamarine 138
    Worktop: Livid 263

     

    Water-Based Paints

     

    Intelligent Matt
    A totally matt, yet completely washable alternative to a traditional emulsion paint, perfect for busy homes, particularly on walls and ceilings. The finish has an extremely low gloss level of 5%, providing a beautifully flat, matt finish.

    Intelligent Eggshell

    Intelligent Eggshell is the perfect water-based finish for painting kitchen cabinets. Formulated to resist moisture, staining and general wear and tear, Intelligent Eggshell has a tough yet subtle finish and is perfect for woodwork and both kitchen and bathroom walls. It has a low-sheen level of 15% and is available in the full Little Greene colour palette.

    Intelligent Gloss
    For a high shine finish, Intelligent Gloss is a quick drying alternative to Oil Gloss. It is ideal for use on interior woodwork in rooms that require frequent cleaning. The gloss level is 85% and it is available in all Little Greene shades.

    Oil-Based Paints
    With a nine hundred year pedigree, oil-based paints have long been recognised as the classic finish for woodwork. By forming a deeper bond with the surface than is possible with a quick-drying paint, traditional oil-based recipes are renowned for their increased longevity, excellent flow and smooth finish.
    All our oil-based paints have been reformulated using naturally occurring vegetable oils to replace solvent ingredients.

    Flat Oil Eggshell
    Flat Oil Eggshell is a low-odour, modern oil-based paint which resists staining and general wear and tear making it perfect for woodwork and primed metals. It has a gloss level of 15-20% and is surface dry in just 4 hours. Designed specifically for interior use, the formula has been developed to give superior, glide-on application characteristics with extended workability and open time, making brushing out a real pleasure, even for the least confident of painters.
    The formulation provides a smooth, low-sheen finish, suitable for woodwork including kitchen cabinets. The finish is extremely durable, making it the perfect choice for a busy kitchen space.

    Floor Paint
    For wooden or concrete floors, our Floor Paint (also oil-based) is one of the hardest wearing paints available for domestic use and, like all our finishes, is available in the full spectrum of Little Greene colours.

     

    Brickwork: Confetti 274
    Cupboards: Lamp Black 228

  • 19th Century Wallpapers

    The 1800s were a key period in the evolution of wallpaper production.
    During this century, the introduction of continuous paper reels (from France) and subsequently roller-printing in 1840, replaced the traditional technique by which individual rolls were printed by hand.

    The flamboyant, decorative style of the Regency period championed the use of wallpaper. In particular, a fashion for striped papers emerged as they became commercially available, a direct result of this era’s innovative production methods.

    Lower George St - Carousel, Ambleside

    Lower George St

    Despite its contemporary appearance, this abstract design dates back to the early 1800s when such patterns were hugely popular. The original colourway, featuring orangey stars on a pinky yellow ground was discovered on the upper floor of a commercial property.

    Lower George St - Carousel

    Lauderdale - Stone, Lamp Black

    Lauderdale

    Lauderdale was found in a property overlooking Hampstead Heath, this design results from stencilling as oppose to block printing. A plain green paper would have been cut up on a hessian scrim, stretched over the wall and then stencilled in situ.

    Lauderdale - Stone, Lamp Black

    Wrest Trail - Pink Plaster, Perennial Grey, Lamp Black

    Wrest Trail

    A structured wandering stem is adorned by rather relaxed almost sketch like interpretations of leaves and fruit. Particularly noteworthy for the relaxed quality of drawing used to create the all over trail effect, this design is more mid-twentieth century in style than its actual origin of 100 years earlier.

    Wrest Trail - Pink Plaster, Perennial Grey

    Brodsworth - Empress, Marine Blue

    Brodsworth

    Based on early 18th century French textiles encompassing panels, scrolls andcross hatching -the pattern was originally designed to imitate stamped leather. Unusually, it was used in both the library and the morning room at Brodsworth Hall in reverse colourways.

    Brodsworth - Empress, Marine Blue

  • Embrace The Colour of Spring

    Mister David

    Spring Shades

    Refresh exterior woodwork and metalwork this Spring and bring colour to your outdoor space.

    Our range of exterior finishes are specially formulated for the long-term protection of exterior woodwork and metalwork. Choose from quick-drying intelligent finishes or traditional oil-based versions. Our eggshells have an elegant low sheen whilst gloss paints are extremely smart.

    James

    Intelligent Exterior Eggshell

    Use this superb quick-drying finish on any exterior joinery, it needs no separate primer on bare wood.

    • Available in all colours
    • Virtually odourless in application
    • Extremely durable
    • Inhibits mould and algal growth
    • Weather resistant
    • Low sheen

    Lead Colour

    Intelligent Gloss

    This tough, high sheen, quick-drying finish is a smart choice for exterior doors and windows.

    • Available in all colours
    • Suitable for woodwork, plaster walls and primed metals
    • Fully washable
    • Virtually odourless in application
    • Environmentally-friendly

    Goblin

    Tom's Oil Eggshell

    This oil-based finish benefits from excellent flow during its application and superior penetration, making it extremely hard-wearing. The connoisseur's choice for exterior joinery and great for a low sheen finish.

    • Available in all colours
    • Can be used on all suitably primed exterior woodwork and metalwork
    • Extremely durable, flexible finish
    • Weather resistant
    • Fully washable
    • Virtually odourless in application

    Juniper Ash

    Traditional Oil Gloss

    A traditional oil-based paint with a low-odour, use this as a high gloss alternative to Tom's Oil Eggshell.

    • Available in all colours
    • Suitable for woodworks and primed metals
    • Fully washable

    View the finishes.

    Inspiration

    Normandy Grey, Turquoise Blue

    Celestial Blue

    Lamp Black, Turquoise Blue, Trumpet

    Normandy Grey

    Deep Space Blue, Spearmint, Pale Lime, Carmine, Purpleheart, Garden on Dark Lead Colour

  • Three Hundred Years of Wallpaper Production

     

     

    Wallpaper Manufacturing

     

    The manufacture of Little Greene wallpapers employs a range of traditional and modern print techniques, each chosen to best serve the reproduction, scale, surface quality and gravitas of the individual pattern.

     

    Wallpaper Manufacturing
    Wallpaper Manufacturing

     

    Some of our production methods haven't changed in hundreds of years. First commissioned in 1892, the machine used to surface-print many of our papers is capable of placing up to twelve colours over a variety of grounds. These include matt, mica and metallics, bringing a contemporary subtle interplay of light to a historic pattern.

     

     

    Browse our wallpapers.

     

  • Colour Spotlight: Yellow

     

    Wall: Light Gold, Radiator: Urbane Grey, Architrave: Scree, Chair: Heat, Window Frame: White Lead

     

    Yellows have an inherent brightness, freshness and warmth that makes them an ever-popular colour all round the home - there are perfect yellows for kitchens, dining rooms, hallways and bedrooms.

    A timeless Victorian shade, 'Light Gold' is strong yet impactful, yet equally muted and easy to live with.

    It will project an all-day glow in a south-facing room, but it's also worth considering the dramatic warming effect this colour will bring to an east-facing room in the morning or a west-facing room in the evening.

     

     

    'Mortlake Yellow' contains less green and black pigment, whilst 'Mister David' is cleaner and brighter and perhaps better used as an accent colour. 'Trumpet' is a pure, zingy, acid yellow, whereas 'Middle Buff' exists somewhere between neutral and orange, and can look great in a larger expanse.

     

    Door: Mister David

     

    Walls: Trumpet, Chair: Sky Blue

     

    Wall: Middle Buff, Detail Stripe: Hammock

    Browse our yellow shades.

     

  • Using Carlton House Terrace - Blue Plume

     

    Carlton House Terrace - Blue Plume
    Carlton House Terrace - Blue Plume

    'Carlton House Terrace' is a flamboyant peacock feather design which was found in the attics of 18 Carlton House Terrace, a beautiful stucco-faced London town house overlooking The Mall. Originally machine-printed in green on a yellow background, the surface-printed technique used to recreate it accurately reflects the feel of the original, whilst a judicious splash of colour in the feather provides something on which to anchor the rest of your scheme.

     

    Little Greene Colour Consultant, Jenny Luck

     

    Little Greene Colour Consultant, Jenny Luck from our Marylebone Showroom suggests using the design alongside grey-green shades to allow the wallpaper to remain the main focus.

    She says:

    'Carlton House Terrace - Blue Plume pairs really well with 'Putti' and 'North Brink Grey' from the 'Green' colour card for a coordinated look. If you wanted to create something a little bolder, you could use highlight tones and accent shades such as 'Mischief' or 'Orange Aurora,' perfect for adding a pop of colour to woodwork or furniture. '

     

    Putti, North Brink Grey, Orange Aurora

     

     

  • Combining Colour - 'London Wallpapers V'

     

    Marketing Director, Ruth Mottershead

     

    Our Marketing Director, Ruth Mottershead has selected two colour combinations to help you use some of the designs from our new wallpaper collection 'London Wallpapers V' within your home.

     

    Marketing Director, Ruth Mottershead

     

    Ruth says: 'Combining paint and wallpaper can sometimes feel quite difficult, particularly when using bolder designs. When you browse the wallpapers in one of our books, we always give three coordinating colours that you can use with each colourway, these are sometimes colours used within the design or complementary tones picked to create harmonious combinations.'

     

    Carlton House Terrace - Pompon

     

    Carlton House Terrace - Blue Plume

     

    Carlton House Terrace - Pompon

     

    Carlton House Terrace is a flamboyant peacock feather design, this wallpaper was found in the attics of 18 Carlton House Terrace, a beautiful stucco-faced London town house overlooking The Mall. Originally machine-printed in green on a yellow background, the surface-printed technique used to recreate it accurately reflects the feel of the original, whilst a judicious splash of colour in the feather provides something on which to anchor.

    To create an impactful scheme, Ruth suggests using 'Ceviche,' 'Middle Buff' and 'Marine Blue.'

     

    Carlton House Terrace - Pompon

     

    For something a little more subtle, try a pairing of grey with an off white for a delicate contrast. 'Serpentine,' 'Cool Arbour' and 'Wood Ash' compliment the blue tones within the paper. Wood Ash is an off-white which is ideal for ceilings and walls in warm rooms.

     

     

     

    Brodsworth - Consort

     

     

    Brodsworth - Consort

     

    Brodsworth - Consort

     

    Brodsworth is a lively and engaging design featuring striking birds and delicate floral motifs. Slightly raised and incorporating rich gilding detail, the pattern was originally designed to imitate stamped leather. Based on early 18th century French textiles and furnishings, encompassing panels, scrolls and cross hatching, this wallpaper was found at Brodsworth Hall in South Yorkshire. An elegant, Victorian home, it was built between 1861–1863, privately owned and inhabited until 1990, and has since been conserved by English Heritage. The paper was certainly a family favourite – unusually it was used in both the library and the morning room in reverse colourways, and can still been seen in situ today.

    Combine with 'Portland Stone' and 'Portland Stone - Pale' for a feminine scheme that exudes elegance. A highlight of 'Tea with Florence' on skirting or a piece of furniture adds an element of vibrancy.

     

    Brodsworth - Consort

     

    Brodsworth - Consort

     

    For a brighter combination, use alongside 'Hellebore,' a dusky pink, providing the right amount of prominence and sophistication with 'Green Verditer,' a strong colour highlight that instantly adds a playful touch.

     

    Lansdowne Walk - Ash

     

    Lansdowne Walk - Nordic

     

    Lansdowne Walk - Ash

     

    Lansdowne Walk is an Arts & Crafts motif in the manner of Voysey, a leading light of the movement who was perhaps more famous as an architect than as a wallpaper designer. Although this colourful wallpaper was removed from a 19th century house in Kensington, its actual design dates it to the early 20th century.

    Pair with the sumptuous 'Chocolate Colour,' a deep shade for woodwork and furniture with walls painted in 'Mortar,' a very tranquil backdrop for this strong, colourful design.

     

     

    Lansdowne Walk - Ash

     

    If you're looking for a colour that will bring instant brightness to a room, combine with the warm golden yellow, 'Mortlake Yellow' and a shade of the same strength such as 'Sage Green,' a muted colour that pairs with the leaves in the design and adds harmony and balance.

     

    Lansdowne Walk - Ash

     

    Request your London Wallpapers V samples here.

    If you are struggling with combining colour or selecting shades for a project, our Colour Consultancy service will guide you through the process. Find out more.

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