Choosing paint colors can be a daunting process, but it doesn’t have to be. Exterior or interior painting is by far one of the most inexpensive, impressive, and immediate options for changing and refreshing home decor. I like to think of color as personality plus in a gallon, quart, or sample size container. It can infuse a space with decorative drama, calming appeal, or high octane energy. It is proven that color affects our mood and how we perceive the feel of the space we are in.
A couple of years ago on the eve of one of our trips out to America’s playground, I watched an interested show during Vegas Week on the Travel Channel. The premise of the segment was how environment and interior design affects gamblers. Color plays a huge role in casino interior design, especially pertaining to the mood and behaviors of gambling guests. Blues are typically avoided due to their perceived calming effect, reds remains a popular color choice for the excitement factor, and purples evoke an intimate, warm, and inviting feeling. Color holds the power to calm, excite, bore, and entice. It is a fascinating concept.
Color choices reflect our personalities and tastes. Sure, there are implied and true rules for color selection in interior design. Yes, smaller spaces appear larger when a lighter color is used, a softer paint color choice can be the better way to go in spaces with plenty of natural light, and a neutral palette is a focal points best friend.
Between the walls of every space there is a colorful heartbeat. A color choice can come from a favorite article of clothing, piece of jewelry, home decor accessory or fabric, or a collectible. I like this simple and logical principal- if a color makes a bold statement, the walls of a space can wear it well.
Schumacher Adras Ikat Print in Jewel~ Benjamin Moore colors top right to bottom: Exotic Red, Peony, Caponata, Mohair, Bavarian Cream, Abstracta, and Spring Purple
When deciding what color to paint a space, these are some of the things I take into consideration:
- What is the overall feeling this space needs to convey? Formal or casual? Relaxing bedroom or high energy kitchen?
- The visual flow and compatibility with the overall color palette.
- Texture and sheen, or lack thereof. Will it be flat matte or the soft sheen satin eggshell? The glosses shine in the vein of durability- the choice range being the easy to clean sheen semi-gloss to the woodwork, furniture, and high sheen, high traffic friendly high gloss.
- Lighting. A space blessed with plenty of natural light can support darker color choices. Natural light will accent the prominent tone of the color. The color of the paint you see in the store will not be the color of the paint you see on the walls in your home. Paint colors will cast different colors at different times of the day based on natural and artificial lighting (basically the same principal as photographing with natural light vs. night shots).
- Small space + light colors= open up and say size.
- Small space + the b&b principal (balanced & bold) = hello, gorgeous!
- Color is not just for walls. Painting a ceiling with a contrasting color or sheen creates a dramatic focal point that will spread the color love by guiding the eye to the wall color.
- Hue you calling neutral? White, beige, black, and brown are no longer the only kids on the neutral block. Flawless gray areas are considered a classic neutral. A bold color can be the Switzerland of the space, as long as warm and cool shades exist in colorful harmony while balancing the hue.
All things do come together in a space to influence the whole of the look, and when the correct balance is achieved- look out! A small space does tend to appear larger if lighter colors are used, but large patterns or bold colors balanced with the proper lighting can make a dramatic statement. Painting is a great way to test the take a chance waters and step out of the decorative comfort zone. Most paint brands have paint samples for purchase. Take the time to purchase paint samples of the color or colors you have narrowed your choice down to.
Apply a couple of coats of the paint to an area on the wall you will be painting, allowing to completely dry. Okay, turn on the lights, pull back the curtains or open the blinds, shutters etc… and let the light in. Take a look, study, decide. Hold that thought until later in the day when the light situation will be different. Take a look, study, decide. Now, hold that thought until evening when the light situation has once again changed. Take a look, study, decide. The tones of the color will come to call at different times of day. In other words, the color will show you how beautiful and right it is for you to live with at any time.