Hire a color consultant.
One of the questions I get asked most frequently by clients and friends is, ‘What color??’. I would like to say picking a paint color is easy, but it’s not. I think the best way to approach it is with an open mind and the best color tools you can get your hands on. Using premium paint not only gives you the best quality paint for your money, but exquisitely crafted color as well.
I was recently consulted by a NYC knowledge broker who was looking to gain insight on how I, as a designer and a consumer, select, specify and use paint. It made me realize how seriously I take the task and how much it means to me to really choose the best color for a given space. Color can make or break the design, but maybe not in the way you think. You can use paint to create a mood, make a statement, be the backdrop, and tell your personal story. The trick is in how to do all of these things at the same time without looking like you just got off the crazy train.
There are so many things to consider when picking a color:
- What is the natural daylight like?
- What is the source of night lighting?
- How do you use the space?
- How do you want to ‘feel’ when you are in the space?
- What does the floor look like?
- What pieces of furniture are in the room?
- What’s in the adjacent room?
- What colors do you love?
Notice the last question? So many people put this at the top of their list and that is the first step towards disaster. I remember the phase when color consultants and designers were saying they looked in client’s closets in order to pick interior paint colors. Yikes. Just, yikes. Unless you are Ralph Lauren or Joe Dahan, I don’t want to see your closet. Some questions are in there for feel-good, and then of course the bottom line questions that push me in the right direction. I prefer to pick colors in prime, natural daylight. I have been known to turn off lights and also love me a room walk-by where I will have color cards hanging on the wall to see what color pulls me in. Color is complex–especially the paints that are created with solid pigments. The color and depth is unmatchable and moody. It’s actually delicious to look at.
Some people paint samples on the wall and live with it for a day to see it from sunrise to sunset. I have never done that, but for a DIY, I would suggest that is the best way to see the color in your room. Paint a sample on the wall and wait it out before committing. Keep in mind, once the entire room is the same color it will appear different than it does on the patch as it will be reflecting itself and not the current wall color. (Hint: Don’t paint a square or circle, but rather a fanned out patch to avoid any lines. You can also use a superfine grit to sand down the patch to be certain it doesn’t show through on your final coat.)
I like to think I don’t fall prey to the trends, but in reality I am sure there are hints of influence in my designs. I love classic- black and crisp white, navy blue and gray. I have had a green black living room and my current guest room is a dusky blue black that looks like the night sky. While it’s not for everyone, it works for me. As a designer and color consultant, that is also what I strive to do for all of my clients–find what works for them and makes them happy. Even if I have to sway them a little.
But, for real. Hire a color consultant.
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image via PB