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525,600 Colors: How do you color your life? 🎶


I was strolling through the aisles of my local paint store this weekend, because that is freakishly fun for me. A couple walked in and needed help from the paint manager on picking out colors for their entire new house construction. I could see the uncertainty in their eyes, the overwhelmed look they clearly exhibited. It is a common feeling. I have seen it with clients picking out the color for one room or an entire house. It’s that uncomfortable, hesitant feeling of not knowing how to start. What color looks good translated from a small sample chip to an entire room or house? It is actually one of the harder processes in home design as its effects set the tone and permeate everything in the environment. The good news is that there are several right answers to any paint choice. Unfortunately, there are wrong ones, but at least paint is only paint. It can be repainted.


The first thing to look at in a room or set of rooms is what are the permanent fixtures that you need to incorporate---tile, granite, furniture, a rug, a bedspread, or even just a favorite vase. Look at the colors from those materials as a starting place. Look at the space, with your own personal taste in mind, to figure out depth of color. Don’t worry about the old myth of painting a room dark makes it look smaller. If you have lighter furniture, then a darker paint is a perfect contrast. If you like the look of richness, dark colors also add to that warmth and depth. Lighter colors can give the room expanse and let the objects in the room steal the show. No answer is right or wrong. Neutral colors are very popular now, and rightfully so. They provide a calm backdrop for everything else in your life. Pops of color from fabrics, rugs, and objets d’art will embellish the neutral backgrounds. Finding color is only the first step. You also have to think about flow from room to room. Setting up color samples on a poster board and observing the flow can be a perfect viewing point. Do the colors contrast enough? Do they work well together? Do they provide enough variety without making the space feel too choppy?

It’s difficult to work with the tiny chips provided by the paint store. The chip doesn’t provide enough information and can be deceiving. They may have larger samples you can borrow. You can also buy small containers of colors and paint samples on your walls, but that can get expensive.


Color is certainly a personal judgment, but undeniably it helps to have someone with experience to guide you. Like anything else, practice helps. Having a color consultant just means you can benefit from someone who has seen a LOT of colors in a variety of settings, and can make good judgments on how your selections will work in your space. A color consultant may also have a well-trained eye to see the subtle differences between shades. For example, grays can appear to have more blue, more green, more brown, or more silver. Color is highly context dependent. The same color will change in different lighting or next to different materials.


The bottom line is color is personal and uplifting; you should have fun with it. It’s an inexpensive way to redecorate and refresh your living space. If you feel overwhelmed by the 525,600 choices, just ask for help!




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