The PPG Voice of Colour app allows you to order swatches right from your phone.

(NC)—We know intuitively what paint colours we like to have around us, but combining those colours into harmonious palettes can seem daunting.

It is not surprising then that white, off-white and beige account for approximately 80 per cent of all paint sales. The irony, colour experts say, is that great colour combinations are everywhere. You do not need to invent them. You just need to discover them.

Some are sitting—literally—right under your nose. Look inside your closet, at the combinations of colours you like to wear. We tend to be much more confident pulling together the colours to wear than colours to paint, but nothing prevents you from applying this same wisdom to walls and furnishings.

Now, if everything in your closet is black, it may mean that white is your favourite wall colour, or it may be that you like a lot of colours and cannot bring yourself to play favourites.

If your closet does not yield a palette, look to your favourite furnishings and accessories. Often, we are drawn to them for their colour. Carpets, ceramics, and textiles almost all include a range of colours, and usually, that range has a built-in ‘neutral’ that would be perfect to use on trim or ceiling.

Designers advise to choose the things you love most in a room and build a palette around them, without worrying about how it works with the things you don’t like. Edit those out of the space. The difference this makes to your décor, they say, will give you confidence and direction for pulling loose ends into colour harmony.

Art galleries are another great place to get your colour bearings. Wander through them, noticing colour rather than subject. Stand too close to a painting deliberately, so you focus on the brushwork instead of the shapes. The smallest corner of a painting can reveal great colour combinations. Even gallery walls can inspire, since curators often choose their colour to enhance your experience of the art.

When it comes to colour, nature never gets it wrong. Notice the range of spring greens, the glorious summer colours in your garden or the reds, oranges, golds and browns of the fall landscape.

Even the most urban setting is home to beautiful colour combinations waiting to be discovered. Look in store windows, on rusting junk piles, at peeling paint, and in debris. Once you start focusing on the colours around you, you will find beautiful palettes everywhere.

Now, in fact, you can capture those discoveries on the spot—and take them with you.

The next time you see a colour you want to remember, snap a photo. A new mobile application called PPG Voice of Colour can be downloaded for this purpose. The app will suggest a colour match from the PPG Pittsburgh Paints palette and conveniently, will let you purchase 8 by 12 inch chips directly from your smart phone.

Designers insist there really is no reason to default to beige. If you want to surround yourself with great colour combinations, you need only be observant. Inspiration is all around you.

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Canadian Home Trends magazine gives you a personal tour of the most stunning homes and condos across Canada. You'll be inspired by a selection of accessible home décor products, trend reports, simple yet stylish DIY projects, and much more. In each issue, you are given the tools to recreate designer spaces you've always dreamt of having at home, in-depth renovation and design advice, colour palette and furniture pairings, and Canada's best places to shop.