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Pastels, bright colors and natural hues; what are the best colors for summer? In conversation with two professionals from Tikkurila

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Summer and all that it has to offer – lazy days spent by the sea and the bright colours of fresh fruit and vegetables – is here. We sat down with Yvonne Karlsson, color designer at Tikkurila and Tikkurila’s Senior Researcher Ilkka Vehmaan-Kreula to map out the colours of summer and give tips for refreshing a summer home. 

What are this summer’s best color combinations? What about forever favorites?

Yvonne Karlsson: There are some timeless combinations for summer houses like crispy white combined with dark navy blue that is classic. Pastels in all their shades  soft pinks, light greens and sky blues, paired with lots of white, natural-looking wood, rattan and thin cotton fabrics  come back every summer, too, as they feel intuitively very summery. They are light and bright, just like summer.

Ilkka Vehmaan-Kreula: We shouldn’t forget bright red both indoors and outdoors. It’s very summery, especially as a color for summer cottages. Some people are naturally drawn to very earthy colors and muted tones in the summer. The softness of wood is key here: old wood, fresh wood and the slight yellowness of wood all play well with summer colors.

What are the best colors for summer

Are there any trends that spring to your mind when you think about colors for summer cottages and summer houses?

YK: Like Ilkka, I have started to see a lot of stained, waxed and painted wood in interiors. Using wood feels quite natural, as it increases the feeling of being close to the nature, which I think we long for in our digital city life today. In a summer cottage or summer house, you can for example use driftwood and blue tones or shades of sand beige and create a feeling of beach life. Or how about creating a feeling of nature indoors. Paint in tones of green and add a lot of plants, it creates a connection between outside and inside.

IVK: In Nordic countries, we often look to nature and borrow colors from our surroundings: the seaside and the forest. If you want to use braver colors, you could take inspiration from flowers in your garden or in nearby fields. The hues of natural flowers are balanced – a good fit for a summer house.

YK: To be inspired by flowers is a very good advice! Nature is the best color designer!

What should be kept in mind when thinking of repainting a summer house or cottage?

IVK: You should first ensure that everything is okay: that there are no dirty or broken surfaces. After that you can go ahead and choose colors. You could look for inspiration from the house’s surroundings or the town in which it’s located. Or, you could start by diving into the history of the house. Find pictures of houses from the same era, do color research, ask older local people what your cottage looked like years ago.

YK: It’s a nice idea to respect the house’s roots and its history when you’re starting to refurbish it. You can push a bit more with decorating your interior but that also depends on the style and size of the cottage. If you have nice high trimmings and doors with mirrors, you can tweak the colors by toning them down – or the opposite!

What kind of advice would you give to someone who’s about to repaint their summer house?

YK: Remember that sometimes we think that we’re tired of the colors around us but it’s only a matter of tweaking a few details: changing the colors of the house’s trimmings or repainting a door. You don’t always have to repaint everything in order to refresh it all a little. A small change can go a long way.

IVK: If you’re painting a large surface indoors, always go for the lighter hue. Colors often look deeper and darker when they’re on a larger surface. And, most importantly, it’s just color! You can always repaint if it wasn’t exactly what you wanted.

YK: Dare! Have more color in your life.

A summer cottage painter’s checklist for outdoors:

1. Colors tend to look lighter and brighter on big surfaces. Choose muted, darker colors – that’s how you’ll get closer to the color you were envisioning in the first place.
2. Look around. Colors look different depending on where you stand. Darker surfaces melt into their surroundings, while light hues stand out. Dark forest landscapes can house darker hues, whereas open spaces are better for lighter colors.
3. Always choose colors from outdoors color charts, as all aspects of how that color works outdoors have been considered.
4. Trust yourself. Never forget to have fun with it and embrace your new colors.

A summer cottage painter’s checklist for indoors:

1. Take inspiration from the scenery outside; the beachfront, the forest environment or the open landscape. Find the color palette and bring it in.
2. Or find nice color combinations from a favorite painting or fabric
3. Paint the large surfaces in neutral base colors so you can more easily vary the color range with accent colors.
4. Paint details such as moldings and doors in a color other than white, it makes a big difference and is easy to restore if you get tired.
5. Be brave in your choice of color.

For more information, please contact:

Tikkurila Oyj

Paula Barriskell, Communications Specialist
Tel. +358 40 922 5886

Sustainable Nordicness
Tikkurila is a leading Nordic paint company with expertise that spans decades. We develop premium products and services that provide our customers with quality that will stand the test of time and weather. We operate in around ten countries and our 2,700 dedicated professionals share the joy of building a vivid future through surfaces that make a difference. In 2018, our revenue totaled EUR 562 million. The company is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki. Nordic quality from start to finish since 1862.