Paint what you wear
Eleanor Flegg ponders the theory that the colours we wear are the colours we should surround ourselves with
JENNIFER Maguire says she loves being bold. "Sometimes you have to shock people," says the tall red-head who sprang to fame on Alan Sugar's 'Apprentice' and has since kept it up on our own 'Republic of Telly'.
"If we all kept on doing the same things Ireland would be a very boring place to live. We need to shake things up a bit and you have to be a bit bold and brash to do it."
This time, she's talking about colour. Maguire (entrepreneur, TV and radio presenter, and self-confessed best-salesperson-in-Europe) happens to be figure-heading this year's Dulux "Let's Colour" campaign. She's also prone to wearing some very bright attire and Dulux tells us that what we wear helps tell us what we should paint on our walls, but more about that later.
Let's Colour has been around since 2011 – offering free paint to worthy causes, like schools, colleges and community centres. This year the scheme has been opened up to those whose homes are in need of a lick of paint.
Here's how it works. If you're interested you have to go and make a short video of the rooms that you want to paint, describing how and why you'd like to change them, and then upload the video to www.letscolour.ie before May 2 (that's next Friday).
Dulux will shortlist the videos and then open them to a public vote. If your project is selected, Dulux will provide the paint. In a select number of cases they'll also provide the painters.
The campaign's slogan is "Change Your Story", based on the idea that colour can have a positive effect on how people think and feel. This, I do believe.
But Dulux is also making some pretty colourful claims. "We want to encourage people to change their own life stories, or the lives of others, by using colour as a catalyst," says the company's Damian Hughes.
Nice sentiment. Realistically, though, we all know that changing the colour of your house is not going to solve anything if you are ill, depressed, or broke. But at least the house will be painted. And it might cheer you up. Worth a try?
"Years ago I used to play it safe but now I like things a bit brighter," says Maguire. "I think that Dulux asked me to get involved because I've had so much change happening in my life.
"Change can be a bit scary and it takes time before you begin to feel comfortable with it," she says having just kicked off with 'Breakfast Republic', Ireland's new early morning programme.
The presenter has just finished decorating her Ranelagh home. "It's not like a rainbow but I have got more adventurous with colour. I love yellow. One of the bathrooms has yellow walls, but I've restrained myself to yellow cushions in the living room."
"Don't be afraid to apply. We're not just looking for the saddest cases – we want to have a bit of fun," says Avril Murphy Allen one of the interior designers working on the campaign. "But if your house is getting you down it will have a bearing on everything else in your life. It's like going out wearing a shabby dress."
When it comes to choosing colours Murphy Allen, presenter of 'Desperate Houses', feels that people shouldn't be driven by trends. "Don't go for what's fashionable – go for what you like," she advises.
If you don't know what you like, Murphy Allen suggests that you take a look in your wardrobe.
"In all the houses that we did for 'Desperate Houses' I chose the colour that the person who owned the house was wearing the first time I met them," she explains. "It wasn't a conscious thing at first – but I noticed that they had all made an effort to look nice and wear were wearing colours that worked well with their personalities.
"The first person that we met – she was wearing a cardigan with jeans and it was a great colour on her, it went really well with her complexion, so I used it the bedroom walls."
Once you've chosen a colour it can be difficult to imagine how it will look on the walls. In fact, only an estimated 7pc of people have the ability to visualise a finished colour scheme from a sample. Those of us in the remaining 93pc need a bit of help.
"There's a new app from Crown Paints that may be of interest. MyRoomPainter is designed to help with colour choices. Once you've installed it (free from the App Store and coming on Android in mid-May) you can take a snapshot of the room that you want to paint and experiment with colour on the screen of your phone or tablet.
"There's also a colour match function. This means that you can photograph your favourite cardigan, use the app to match it to a paint number, and then virtually paint your room in that colour.
"It's meant be useful but it's also a lot of fun," says Darren McIlroy who designed the app for Crown Paints. "Apps have to be fun or nobody uses them. You can photograph and paint your room, but you can also photograph and paint the dog."
So when your holiday is interrupted by your flatmate sending you horrifying photos of your home re-painted in lurid colours – don't panic. They may have used the app.