Mar 6, 2013

Love your wall colors!

Spring is on its way and with it comes the urge to update and refresh!  Color is the simplest way to make a change, in fabrics, accessories and wall paint. There are a few things you should know when you're selecting color.  First, that there are tried and true color schemes that always work. They include monochromatic (all one color), analogous (colors that are adjacent to each other on the color whee), complementary (colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel), split complementary (a main color and the two colors on each side of its complementary color on the color wheel), and triadic (colors on the color wheel in a triangle). Next is that colors can be warm (reds, yellows, oranges) or cool (greens, blues, violets).  I like to tell clients who are working on color schemes that if the color combinations exist in nature they will work in your home. 
So how do you start? Look at images in magazines, on line, in model homes, and in store showrooms. Identify spaces and things about them that appeal to you. Using a professional designer can help get you started to understand which elements you like, why, how to apply them in your home, and then paint and accessorize for a finished result. When you have an idea of the colors you like, explore the variation in depth...light versus dark. Paint stores offer color cards that generally have gradations of colors on a single card. I recommend taking chips home with you since paint chip colors never looks the same as in the store. The scale of your room as well as the lighting, will affect how the color looks on your walls. 

Monochromatic with a cool accent color.

1) Take it homeChoose a handful of chips in colors you like with dark and light gradations.  If you do many projects, purchase a fan deck for a particular paint line.  When you get home, view those colors in the room you want to paint at varying times of day. DO hold them against the all of your fabrics (seating, window coverings, pillows, etc..), artwork, and even the flooring. Narrow your choices to two or three colors. 

2) Test First.  Before you paint the full wall color, create test boards.  I use SMALL WALL so that I don't have to prime multiple stripes, eliminate the effect of having several adjacent colors together, and am able to move the boards to different corners in the same room throughout the day. Most companies offer sample sizes of paint so you can try before purchasing a gallon.  

Warm and monochromatic makes
this tiny living area seem larger.
3) Sheen Matters. Once you've settled on the ideal color be sure you select the right sheen. Flat/matte paint provides a smooth, elegant finish and although they are difficult to clean they are easiest to touch up.  Matte - the newest sheen in no VOC (volatile organic chemical) paints is my favorite. It has a gentle sheen, is easy to wipe clean, and touch ups are less visible.
Eggshell and satin finishes offer depth and warmth. Eggshell finishes are easier to wash than flat finishes and resist stains and scuffs, but you will see touch-ups. Satin finishes, common for trim and doors, are easy to clean but require more prep work since every imperfection will be visible.  Semigloss and glossy sheens can be scrubbed and are easy to clean.
4) Paint and Enjoy.  I usually recommend selecting the lighter color when you've narrowed it down to two. Walls are significantly larger than your chip and the increase in scale can be too much in a deep shade. Be sure to prep your walls well (see our paint tips blog).