Color Quandries

Intimidating, right? With some thoughtful planning it doesn't have to be.

Intimidating, right? With some thoughtful planning it doesn't have to be.

I’d have to say that the decorating decision that (in my experience) makes people the most nervous is selecting paint colors. Considering that paint has none of the permanency of say custom furniture or structural selections such as tile or flooring, it seems strange that this would be the case. But I can understand it because paint can make a dramatic change in how a space feels to the people who use it.

My primary piece of advice for those trying to select a paint color is to take their time with it. Colors are affected significantly by light. How it looks in the paint store is going to be different from how it looks at home, and fluorescent versus incandescent light will also create changes in hue.

There are plenty of sources to help you when you are first starting to look for your next wall color. (Benjamin Moore has some useful articles on their site) Here are some lesser known tips that I’ve learned over the years to help make you feel sure in your selection.

·         Paint samples onto large pieces of poster board so that you can take it to various points of the room so you can see it in different lighting, both day and night. For less than $10 a color sample you’ll have a lot more confidence in your decision.

·         If you decide to sample on the wall, put a coat of primer on the area first. That way you are comparing the new paint color to white instead of the current shade.

·         Sometimes white ceilings can look stark. Instead, try an ivory or the color of your walls but with a 50% concentration. Don’t feel shy about asking the folks at the paint store to make it for you. This is a particularly great technique with low ceilings that don’t have any moldings to help make the ceiling height appear higher.

·         If you’re uncertain about the undertone of a lighter paint color, in most instances you can look to the bottom of the strip to see what a higher concentration of that color would look like to see how well it suits your scheme. A gray shade alone could have brown, blue, green, or lavender, and you will see that hue in certain lighting when it goes up on the wall.

If all else fails, contact a local interior designer for a color consultation, particularly one who has been trained in color theory. Designers that are members of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) have an education requirement to join so those are a safer bet.

When you find the right color for your space, you will feel it! Enjoy your search.