can be very tricky. Even those of us who work in the design world everyday experience trial and error before getting it right. Here are some tips on how interior designers and decorators go about finding that "perfect" color.
Determine The Color Palette Of The Room.
From the onset of each decorating project you should know what colors you want to bring into the room and how they will relate to each other. Will one be dominate? Will each color have equal weight? Will color be used as an accent only? Are you looking for a dark, dramatic space or for something more neutral and softer? Deciding on the mood of the room and the colors you want to bring in to capture that mood will help keep you focused as you shop for paint.
A very common misconception about color is that small dark spaces will feel lighter and bigger with white or a light paint color. Many designers find the opposite to be true. I have often taken rooms that have less natural light and made them much darker and more dramatic. I think the best advice on color I can give my clients is to really "listen to the room" and not try to fight what is there but, instead work with it. Turn a rooms weakness into its strength by meeting your rooms where they are and not trying to turn them into something that they can never be.
Deciding On Paint Colors
|Featured in 07/09 of House Beautiful, these high gloss navy walls pump this dark but, rich and moody living room with style and, make it appear larger and brighter than it actually is.|
Now that you have decided on a color palette and mood for your room, it's time to visit the paint store. One thing I always do when shopping for paint colors is to take a few things along with me that are the inspiration for the room. This can be,and most often is, samples of fabrics, pillows or other accessories; even a piece of clothing. Color memory often plays many tricks on you, especially when you are looking at color after color of options, so having a reference to always compare a color choice to always helps and keeps you on track.
As a rule of thumb, paint colors often read much darker on walls than they do on swatches so, if you are ever in any doubt about how dark the color may be, then always go for one shade lighter. I also use this rule when I am trying to match a color choice to a fabric selection that I have made for a room. I find the closest color swatch to the color of/in the fabric and then I pick the one that is one shade lighter. It is the perfect match every time! Try picking out many color choices and variances before leaving the paint store. It is always better to have more choices than to pick just one or two and find out that they are not right once you try them on your walls. Always get a few lighter, a few darker, a few with more gray a few with less, a few with more blue and a few with less, a few with more yellow and a few with less and so on. Color is always reflected on light and can change from one hour of the day to the next so you will be better off getting an abundance of swatches before leaving the paint store.
Deciding On The Right Color In Your Space
Color can vary drastically during the course of the day, so once you get home put your favorite selections up on the wall and be sure to look at them at different times in the day. Look at them in the morning, then again in the evening. Check them out under natural light and various degrees of artificial lighting; even candle light. Think about how you will be using the room and what hours of the day you will be using it. Then, pick the color/s that look best at these given times. Once you have narrowed down your selection, it is always a good idea to head back to the paint store and ask for the biggest paint chips they have available for sale. I always like to get a small sample of each color and paint a small three-four foot square on a few walls within the space. Color can and often does change and looks different on each wall mainly due to how much light the walls receive. So, it is always a good idea to check the color out in different areas of your room before making your final selections.
Deciding On The Finish
The decision making is not quite over yet! Paint comes in a variety of finishes from flat to high-gloss and choosing the right finish can be just as important as choosing the right color to get the look you want in your room. So, before you leave the paint store for the final time, you have to decide on a paint finish. As a general go to rule, I almost always prefer wall surfaces in an eggshell or satin finish and trim finishes in a semi-gloss. These finishes do reflect light a little bit and always look amazing in low light and candlelight. They are also much easier to keep clean. I find flat finishes to look too chalky and be less durable. The more reflective that your finishes get however, from flat to high gloss, the more the imperfections on your walls will show. So always consider the state of your walls and how you will light the room before finalizing your paint finish options. High-gloss walls can look great and dramatic for example, but your walls need to be in magnificent shape for the paint to look good.
Choosing the right paint colors for a room can be somewhat tricky but, when you get it right, wall color can give any room the right amount of style and attitude. Paint is a very inexpensive way to change the look and feel of your room and can be easily changed as your color preferences change. Bringing in color is a fun way to spruce up any space so have fun with it. When in doubt of choosing one color over another, go with the paint names! In my opinion, it is the best part of shopping for paint!