Sarah Cole, Director of high quality paint producers Farrow & Ball, shed light on the renovation of windows and walls in yesterday's Telegraph.
She comments that the most traditional style is to use a colour on the walls and white gloss on woodwork, often the same as that on the ceiling. She suggests that this is a clean, but sometimes hard look. In order to soften the contrast she suggests selecting a 'complementary neutral' that is more sympathetic to teh colour on the walls which wil make the contract more gradual and help to make the room feel bigger.
In Cole's opinion, ceilings don't have to be white. She suggests taking inspiration from luxury hotels and painting the ceiling in a fresh, contrasting colour to the walls and the woodwork. If rooms allow for a modern look, she suggests getting it tiled with slightly metalic tiles which create an illusion of space by reflecting light around a small room.
Using one colour, according to Cole, on both walls and woodwork is popular in contemporary settings as it creates a strong, clean look. Another good way to create light and space is to use the lightest colour on the largest surface area (eg walls) and the darker tone on woodwork. This works particularly well if you are using a neutral scheme. The use of a darker colour on skirting boards makes the walls appear lighter in contrast, making the overall feel of the room lighter.
Cole concludes that, in general, cool colours make a room feel larger and give it a more formal look. However she warns against making a room feel cold by using strong shades of blues and greens. Warm colours make a room feel smaller and give a more relaxed feel.