Tikkurila worldwide

Natural colouring for summer cottages with transparent wood protection


Anyone strolling through the countryside will notice an infinite number of colours: the deep green of spruce twigs, reddish-brown pine trunks, grey bedrock and red cranberries. Despite the endless number of colours, they always seem to harmonize with each other. This harmony is not interrupted even when the colours of our natural surroundings change with the seasons. When considering colour schemes for a summer cottage, nature is also an excellent source of inspiration.

Natural colouring with transparent wood protection
Natural colouring with transparent wood protection
Natural colouring suits both summer and winter landscapes.

In the summer, most of the landscape is green, which turns a yellowish-brown in the autumn, white in the winter white, and a lighter green in the spring. As nature prepares for a new season, colours that might clash with their new surroundings disappear. On closer inspection, natural colours are always slightly muted: large areas of bright and blazing colours never occur in the countryside. Flowers in a summer meadow are beautiful in their display of colour, but their hues have been distributed sparingly, and it is the summer light and surroundings that make them vibrant. In rainy autumn weather, bright colours seem to gleam among the grey tones.

Natural colouring with transparent wood protection
Natural colouring with transparent wood protection
Snowy landscapes make colours appear brighter.

A brightly coloured house on a grey winter day is a dreary sight, like a faded memory of the glow of summer. A cottage forms part of its surroundings, which should be remembered when selecting a colour for it, as other people besides the cottage's owner will probably see it. What is the objective of the colour scheme? Should the cottage be seen from afar, or should it blend unobtrusively into the background? Should the overall outline of the building be emphasized or only certain details? Lighter colours will make a building appear larger and set it apart from a dark forest background. Dark colours will visually tend to blur the cottage into its surroundings. A brightly-hued lakeside cottage will be visible from far off across the lake, whereas a dark building may be difficult to distinguish, even by someone in a nearby boat.

Natural colouring with transparent wood protection
Natural colouring with transparent wood protection
A lightly coloured cottage is more visible and looks larger than a darker alternative.

Painting detail features in the same colours as the walls helps emphasize the overall form of the building. On the other hand, using several colours is useful when certain details need to be highlighted. However, the best results are achieved with a colour scheme that is in some way influenced by the cottage's immediate natural surroundings; the deep reddish browns and bark-greys of pine trees, the dark browns and greens of spruce, or the light greens, greys and beiges of birch. In more densely built-up cottage areas, the colour schemes of neighbouring cottages will also influence the choice of colours.

Harmonious solutions are also possible when using contrasting colours that complement the hues of their natural surroundings. Generally, this is best achieved when the colour's luminance matches that of its background colour. For example, a deep red ochre would be a good choice against the green of a shadowy spruce forest, in other words, neither too bright nor lightly-toned. Lighter reddish-browns, perhaps with a touch of orange mixed in, often work effectively when set against birch trees. Colours selected for large surfaces should be colours that also occur naturally over large areas.

Transparent protective coating is usually selected as a surface treatment when the aim is to retain the authenticity of the material. Wood should look as natural as possible, as it is at its most attractive when treated neutrally in a way that respects its natural colouring. This will also help to avoid any unexpected colour changes when the protective treatment is applied to the wood. Test brushings should always be carried out before applying transparent coating. The colour of the wood under the stain, the porosity of the treated surface, the product used and the number of coats applied will also affect the end result.

Many people however want to emphasise doors or windows, or simply spice up the colour scheme. For these purposes, brighter colours are also appropriate. Opaque shades can also be selected as required to provide a contrast to walls treated transparently. Highly opaque wood protection agents, such as Tikkurila's “ValttiTeho” or “Vinha”, are eminently suitable as surface coating. If colour selection seems too difficult, the safest alternative is to choose colours that appear in the cottage's natural surroundings all the year round. For example, these include the colours of tree trunks, evergreen trees twigs, or exposed bedrock.