May 7, 2012

Narrowing Paint Colors

 Just before I was married, a friend of mine helped my soon to be hubby paint our first apartment while I was planning my wedding across the country. It was seriously one of my favorite gifts. That apartment has always been my favorite home. It was small, cozy and inviting. Our landlord had us stick to neutrals, except in the bathroom where we chose a blue green color. If I remember correctly, a close friend with impeccable taste chose most of the colors. And I loved every room.

 Now we are choosing colors again, this time for our own home. I email color ideas to my friend across country. I've been having a hard time deciding, but there are a few things I've learned to narrow down options.

 1. Start by deciding what you want to change in the room and what will be staying. For example, we can't afford to change our existing floors and counters in the kitchen. So I need to pick colors matching blue, gray and brown.

2. Once you know what's staying in the room, choose the mood you want to create. Calm or loud, airy or dark, etc.

 3. Consider lighting in the room. If the room does not get a lot of light, choose colors that reflect light for a lighter feel. The same paint will look different at all times of day, so make sure you like the color after dinner as well as you do after crepes in the morning. 

 4. Find an item or picture as a springboard for the room. This could be a favorite outfit, a magazine picture, or the colors in a bowl. Make sure to find something that matches the the room's color scheme. The main colors in our living room, for example, are greens, blue greens, and a small touch of dark pink. I found this photo that had our existing colors, which helped me think outside the box of just plain walls. I can go a little bold on the top of the wall, but keep the room bright with the bottom.

                                                              for more photos of this home  
  I am trying to find a similar color for the top of the wall, so I used some favorite items in our home to visualize what it might look like with the greens and teals I already have. When it comes to accessories, I obviously gravitate toward this:

5. Before committing to the color, buy a sample of your top picks and paint a strip on the wall. If you have time, live with it for a couple days and see what you think. If the color is one you saw listed in a magazine, or in someone's home, it will look different in yours. Testing a color first will save money in the long run rather than buying a couple gallons of a color you're not happy with.

 6. Create a flow between rooms. Especially in a smaller home, and in adjoining rooms, you can create the illusion of space with similar shades. The colors in the living room should match the kitchen, especially if one room is visible from the other. These are the dining room and kitchen from the home above. The same color was used throughout the home, and it looks distinct in each room.

 Above all , have fun and enjoy yourself. It's just paint after all.

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