Coffee and paint colours

Coffee paintBlack coffee and café au lait have become so iconic that they’re used as a colour comparison for everything from fabric to paint colours. In fact, if you’re a hardened caffeine addict who’s thinking about interior design, you can now choose from a range of ready-mixed coffee-coloured paints, and even mix your own, personal shades with real coffee.

Crown Paints offer a choice of Café au Lait or Frothy Coffee (soft beige shades), or Cafetière, a strong dark brown.

At Dulux, the shades vary from Irish Coffee (a pale cream), though Coffee Liqueur (a warm, darker brown) and Cappuccino to the darkest shade, Café Latte.

If you’d like to create something a bit more bespoke, you can mix your own paint with a mixture of a commercial white paint as a base and coffee.

As coffee is a natural product, remember that the results will vary from batch to batch – so make up as much paint in one go as you’ll need to finish the job. The finished paint colour will look a couple of shades lighter when it’s dry, and may also fade gradually over time, particularly in bright sunlight. Using coffee to tint paint gives a soft, cream/beige effect, equally suitable for period properties or setting off a modern interior.

How to do it

Every time you use your coffee machine for a few days, collect the grounds until you have at least half a pint. Put them in a large saucepan with a pint of water, and bring to the boil. Leave to steep for at least an hour, or longer if you want a stronger colour. (The depth of the colour will depend on the amount of coffee grounds used as well as the steeping time).

Strain the coffee thoroughly through a filter, making sure that you remove all traces of the grounds. Add the strong coffee to the paint a tablespoon at a time, stirring thoroughly between each addition, until you reach the required colour.