Choosing the right color of paint for your walls, or for that matter your cabinetry, bed linens, accessories…can be daunting to many people. This is one area I constantly find clients throwing up their hands in frustration. Like any designer, I have my tried and true favorites and a few “go to” colors for various situations but I approach each project with no preconceived colors that are my “signature” colors like many designers I know. Every job has different furnishing parameters, every home has different lighting (natural and interior) and every client has a different “color personality”.
There is no “one size” (color) that fits all in my book.
Definitely there is a science to color and how colors interact with one another as well as how the eye sees color but in my opinion, choosing the right color for each situation is more art than science. I could ramble on about the color wheel shown here and go into a debate on warm colors ( reds, oranges,yellows) vs cool colors ( blues, greens, purples) ..but I will save this for another day.
I am usually the one asked to choose the colors for most of our projects. The only reason this ends up happening is because of three things:
1. I am not afraid to make a mistake. I BUY SAMPLES SIZES FIRST.
2. I have experience in choosing colors and work with the paint decks and swatches every day. IMMERSE YOURSELF IN A PAINT DECK DAILY AND YOU TOO, WILL LEARN MUCH ABOUT WHICH COLORS WILL WORK!
3. I have a good eye for color (usually!) and can read undertones very well. THIS IS BECAUSE OF DOING IT A LOT. NOTHING MORE THAN THAT! EXPERIENCE.
Here are Cheryl’s words of wisdom about choosing paint colors:
**ALWAYS look at the color swatch against pure white. The white will help you “see” the undertones much easier.
**BUY samples. Simple as that. You must. Because what is good at Susie’s house may look like crap at your house. You will most likely have different utilization of windows, different siting of your home which means different natural light at different times of day. Samples are far cheaper than having the painter redo a mistake!
**Paint samples on SHEETROCK if possible. Lowes sells 24×24 samples. Then you can place these around the room ( or rooms) and at different times of day to get the real effect.
**IF you have your painter put them on the wall, DO NOT put them side by side. Novice mistake. Your eye will “see” the other color next to each other and it will influence the way it looks. At the very least, put them on opposite walls.
**Do NOT think that you can match a Ben Moore color or Pratt and Lambert color or any manufacturer color to another paint company. You may get lucky and it will be ok but more often, it does not look the same and high probability that the undertones could be seriously different and you will not know until it is on the wall. Just do not do it.
**PAINT YOUR TRIM (moldings, door casing, crown etc) WHITE or off white. 90 percent of the time this is the best call to make. If you are doing cool colors, use a cool white with hint of gray. If you are using warm colors then use a white that has a hint of yellow. It was faddish for a time to paint the trim same as the walls. Thankfully, we do not see this much any more. The eye needs the trim to be the framework for the walls. There are times that this same/same can produce a certain effect that you may want…but it is not the norm. I am sure there are many designers who will lambast me for this comment but I stick by it.
**Paint your CEILING A COLOR when appropriate. If you have crown to separate it, consider it appropriate! It can be a softer tint of the wall color or a contrasting color. It is a tricky thing but the results can be magical!
**Do NOT paint your walls beige. I repeat, do not paint your walls beige. Beige is ugly. There is no way to soften the blow. And beige with fleshy undertones is a SIN against nature, man, and I think religious dieties everywhere because FLESHY COLORS do not belong on walls. Enough said.
If you really are ready to kill me because you just love….beige walls….then I suggest Manchester Tan from Ben Moore. It has just enough gray in it to make it work.
You may also be saying to yourself…well if she does this all the time, what is her favorite colors? THIS WEEK, because it changes every week, it is Grayhorse and Pilgrim Haze because I just did these at a house and loved how they look. Check back next week for new ones:)
Do you have a favorite? Share it with us!