Selecting a paint colour for your home or business should be an enjoyable process that frees your inner creativity while also expanding your understanding of style, trends and the nuances of colour and how it effects your environment. However many of us get bogged down in the fraught process of colour selection and end up retreating to predictable choices on the false assumption that a “safe” palette will prove both practical and easy to live with. In fact the exact opposite results when we select a colour merely on a “safe” basis. It is far easier to live with something you greatly enjoy, rather than merely tolerating your home environment and “trying” to live with it.
The trick of selecting a colour or colours, begins before you pick up a colour palette. Before you confront the wall of colour chips at your local Benjamin Moore paint store, or ever look at a book of paint swatches, think in overall terms about who you are, what you are drawn to, and what kinds of rooms you most enjoy. What magazines do you always buy? Do you favour bright, airy modern spaces or rich, dark and cozy rooms? Are you drawn to traditional rooms or clean lined modern spaces? What is your favourite time of year? Do you crave rich colour and complicated patterns or soothing and neutral natural palettes? Determine what it is that you most love and are drawn to and take that knowledge with you in the selection of all your colours.
Build up a scrapbook with the colours, materials, fabrics and items that will work together to create the effect that you want in your home. When you see all of your selections together you begin to understand that a wood floor has pattern in its grain, texture in its finish and colour; a granite counter-top is cool, hard, smooth and flecked. In practice, we don’t dissociate these qualities, they all work together. All of this helps us understand why we are drawn and respond to specific colours, patterns and textures and not to others.
In Design, colour is the most subjective area in decoration and no amount of research will predict how two different people will respond to the same shade. At the same time, almost any generalization you can make about a particular colour can be overturned in practice. However, one truism holds true for everyone, all of us are instinctively drawn to specific families of colours which repeatedly pop up in clothes, treasured pictures or possessions, and of course on the reverse, there are colours which we will absolutely abhor.
It takes time to gain a sense of how colour behaves, like everything else; it’s a question of widening your visual horizons. Remember to ask yourself how you intend to use the room, what it looks like in the morning, at night, which features are worth emphasizing and which you want to play down, and of course celebrating your own personal pizzazz. A few colours of special note that are sure to add magic and passion to your space are Benjamin Moore’s “Peony” or “California Breeze” as colour block feature walls or try “California Breeze” on your ceiling. Mix them with “Mountain Peak White” on neighbouring walls and “Oxford White” for your trim (All by Benjamin Moore).
Now armed with this knowledge, bravely go forth and add COLOUR to your life. Select something sexy, fresh and most importantly YOU. Of course make sure to get a test pint of all your colours and do a large test square in each room and area and see how the light effects the colour at various times of the day and how the other items in your room effect the colour as well. Remember that pale colours can often look dingy and drab in rooms with only artificial light or minimal light and that saturated colours will add a sense of complexity and warmth to your space. Now get painting and send me photos!
Robin De Groot
Dining Room featuring Martha Stewart Paint “BEET” Accent wall
I LOVE this image from the amazing Diamond Baratta Designs