Believe it or not, this is one of the hardest decisions people face – What color to carpet, tile or paint a room. In the end, most people opt for something safe, say – “White?” Or, maybe, “Off-white”? While white or off-white maybe “OK” in some cases a version of white all over is really boring! You don’t want to live in a boring house do you? My sense of color will help you select colors that bring personality and meaning to spaces and helps avoid boring!
How to choose a color:
Most of us look to paint for color. In fact, paint is the quickest and most affordable means to transform a room. As your walls take on color, an entirely new space develops. Remember to keep a sense of humor as you experiment and do not lose hope!
Here are some tips based on my method of designing great spaces:
- First, find a sample of a color that you like in one of those photos that you’ve cut out. Maybe it’s a fabric, a carpet swatch, or any item at all. Trust your attraction. This will help you in your decision process.
- Although most people think of “paint” as the place to start, I usually begin with the flooring when that is being installed. The reason for this is that flooring, whether it is carpet, hardwood or tile is the “basis” or “platform” of any space and on which everything else will rest. I also make the flooring decision before paint because, generally, flooring colors are more limited than the thousands found on my paint wheel and second, flooring material is a much more expensive investment than paint. If flooring is not being installed we still want to coordinate the paint we select with the existing flooring material.
- If we are bringing substantial pieces of existing furniture into the space such as a sofa that we love, then we should take a queue from colors found in that piece of furniture. That doesn’t always mean that the paint we choose needs to be limited to a specific color found in our furnishings but it does mean that the paint needs to “play nice” or coordinate with the furnishings.
- Remember that most colors will look more intense and darker in an entire room than on that little paint sample you see in the store. So, for most colors, err on the light side, perhaps one tone lighter than the color on the paint sample card. However, if you feel like the room needs to make a bold statement, don’t be afraid of bold or rich colors.
- Most paint stores have both color cards with one color and cards with multiple colors that flow from light to dark within a color family. When selecting a color I suggest starting with the card that includes several colors from the same family. Why? Because in many cases the color we thought was “perfect” in the paint store seems too dark or too light when we get it back home. By taking cards with several tones in the same color family we can make confident adjustments in the space to be painted by simply going a shade darker or a shade lighter in the same family of colors.
Tips on color other than paint
- Creative ways of experiencing color go beyond paint. Paint is only one of the players which include flooring, furniture and accessories.
- The flooring acts as an anchor to the room so don’t overlook the tones of flooring whether it is wood, carpet our tile. Think about how the floor is influencing the feel of the room. For instance a dark stained wood floor will cause a warm feeling while a light tile helps brighten the space.
- Beyond the walls and floor is a world of opportunity to bring in color. This includes fabrics in the room that form draperies, lamp shades, pillows, upholstery, art, floral arrangements and other accessories.