Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How do you pick a paint color?...and when?

The reason I say "when" is because most people tend to pick their paint out first, and then start to decorate a room.  I like to say that paint is "the icing on a cake".  What I mean by that is, I start with a design plan for a client starting with the color palette for the room. Determining first, what existing pieces a client wants to incorporate, and then picking out the rest of the colors to be represented with fabric swatches, carpet and wood samples... for flooring, custom upholstery, pillows, window coverings, etc.  When the client has approved the color palette, we then finalize the wall color. 

 I have people call me all the time that say, "We're buying a  new house, we need a paint consultation, and we want the walls painted before we move." This is how the conversation goes... "Great" I say, "are we going to be adding any new furniture, or will we use only existing pieces?  Are you happy with your current color palette, or are you ready for a change?"  There are many things to consider before you pick your paint color.  To make an analogy, picking out your paint first is like packing for a vacation before you know your destination.  You will need to have a goal in mind before you can take the steps to achieve that goal.  What do you want to accomplish with your design plan?  Each room has a different function.  Some are for entertaining, some are functional, and others are where you go to unwind and relax.  How do you want each of those rooms to "feel" when you're in them?   Colors can evoke feelings and memories, excitement or serenity.  

Looking in your closet can be helpful. What are you favorite colors? Do you prefer cool colors, or warm colors?  When you look at you wardrobe, what are the kinds of colors you gravitate towards.  Do you like bright colors, or do you tend to pick out earthy, muted colors?  Is your wardrobe bold, are more sedated?  Are your clothes mostly patterned, or do you wear a lot of solids?  Personally, I wear a lot of solids and a lot of black and whites, with colors thrown in as accents.  My favorite colors are earthy.  My home is decorated in warm earth tones, using black and white as contrast, and my accent colors are reds, and a few vintage greens.  My home has evolved over the years, as I've tried many different styles and colors.  Because I work with a lot of colors and patterns in my professional life, I prefer coming home to a serene environment without a lot of colors or bold patterns.  That is my sanctuary!  On the other hand, I love when a client wants to work with a lot of color, it's exciting for me. I enjoy being able to help my clients find colors that enhance not only their rooms, but their lives as well.  It's rewarding to me to help them to feel comfortable taking risks, and in going outside of their comfort zone.

Here are some tips when choosing paint colors:

1. When choosing paint colors remember to keep your goal in mind. 
2. Choose your color palette first ,for the entire room, or house depending on what your painting. 
3. Once you have decided on a paint color, get quarts or  paint samples if available, and paint test areas on several different walls. This is a very important step! The paint decks that you are picking your paint colors from are printed with ink, not paint, and they can look very different when painted on your wall. 
 4. Make sure that you look at your test swatches in different lights, morning light, afternoon/early evening light, and artificial lighting.  Different lighting will affect your paint differently.  For example, incandescent lighting has a yellow tone and may cancel out the blue tones of your paint, while fluorescent lighting has blue tones which will do the exact opposite. 

 After you have chosen which paint swatches you like best, it is time to purchase your paint.   When in doubt, hire a professional Interior Designer who has been trained in color theory.  It will be the best investment you've ever made.  As anyone who has made a mistake with a paint color knows, MISTAKES CAN BE COSTLY!!!  We've all driven by the bright blue or purple house and thought, "What were they thinking?"  And...why didn't they stop as soon as they realized it looked like sh#@?

Have you ever made a mistake picking out paint colors?

 Do you start with an overall plan?

Do you pick out paint colors by copying what you see on blogs? 

 Do you follow the trends???... or go with what feels right for you and your family? 

Could you benefit from a professional color consultation?

{Paint is the easiest way to update the look of your home}

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you'll consider following my blog!

1 comment:

The enchanted home said...

Have I ever made a mistake! Oh boy, when we just got married and I thought I would impress my husband with my young hip design saaviness and went with a blush/pink for our bedroom...as it turns out it would make a bottle of Pepto Bismol blush..went to work while the painters were getting started and came home and was nearly blinded by the intensity of the pink, so funny now..so not funny then!
Great advice on your post, it cannot be stressed enough how paint colors expland and explode on large surfaces, very important to test paint different areas to see how the light affects the shade! Well done!