Using a Photograph

If you are planning to redecorate a room in your Georgian, Victorian or Edwardian period house and you have a computer, film camera and computer scanner, or a digital camera, you can experiment with a photograph to see the general effect of different colours.

The steps are:

  1. Take a photo of the room, taking in a section of wall from the floor to the ceiling and perhaps the fireplace or another important feature or item of furniture.
  2. Scan the photograph into your computer, or load the picture from your digital camera.
  3. Open the photograph into a paint program such as Photoshop, Paintshop, or PhotoImpact.
  4. You now need to create a 'mask' of the wall area; most of these programs have a 'wand' tool which makes this easy.
  5. You can now fill the mask area with a new colour. And then refill with a different one.

In these graphics programs, colours are coded using one of a range of colour models. A common one is 'RGB' ie red-green-blue'. Each colour is represented by three numbers from 0 to 255. Thus black is 0-0-0 whereas pure red is 255-0-0, and white is 255-255-255.

If you have a manufacturer's paint card, scan it in and use the picker tool in your graphics program to find out the code for a colour you like.

If you have a drawing program, like Xara Xtreme or CorelDraw, rather than a paint program, you can trace the edges of, for example, the wall, and then fill it with the new colour.

Note that this is not an exact science; the colour on your computer screen will not match a swatch exactly because of the screen and because of the swatch printing process. And the colour on your wall will look different depending on the base coat and on lighting in the room. However, it will give you an idea!

These colours are typical of the Victorian period. These and others are shown below:

R G B  
081 087 109  
196 205 202  
067 088 073  
168 168 134  
094 076 076  
234 210 162  
170 064 066  
049 125 061  
130 052 094  
193 044 082