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Color Splash*

As a designer nothing daunts me more then picking a color for my own home. I find it paralyzing, as if the color choice I make will reflect poorly on me, or worse off, on my design skills. My home is my portfolio, right? And have you ever seen how many choices there are out there? I assume most people feel like this when faced with the option of picking a color (well, minus “my home is my portfolio” bit). I’m hoping my technique for picking a color will make for an easier, less paralyzing process. I am, after all, a trained designer.

The first thing to think about is, what is color? That question can be answered in so many ways but I feel a talk I have heard from Beau Lotto sums it up in the most interesting way.

After defining what color is to you, try and make good use of all the furniture catalogs that are mailed to your home. Flip through them and mark off rooms that look like one of what you would define as you dream room. Take photos of color in spaces that you like: store fronts, restaurants, hotel lobbies, flower arrangements, in short any color that catches your eye. Then put these snippets in the space you wish to paint, I would print these out, color on a computer/smartphone screen will not reflect how the color will look like outside the virtual world.

At this point you basically narrowed down the color spectrum that appeals to you, and are ready to go to your local hardware store to look at some color fans. There are so many good companies around, but from experience in Massachusetts most contractors will lean towards using Benjamin Moore Paints I have used them in the past, and was pleased with their  huge selection and quality of paint. It mainly boils down to how much money you are willing to spend on a gallon of paint. In some cases the difference between paint companies would be in how vibrant the color is, how many coats of color will be need to be applied to get the desired color effect, and how fast the color will fade. Another thing to consider is how many toxic fumes are expelled while applying the color or what is called VOC , the use of lead based paint is illegal, I like going with the zero VOC paints. Lastly you’ll need to figure out what kind of finish you would like (or in layperson terms how shiny will the color look). Most walls in dry rooms (i.e. not your bathroom) will receive  an Eggshell finish, window trims, door frames, and baseboards will be in Satin.

Before buying gallons of paint get some samples painted on wall surfaces of the room. If you are painting a house, paint in different rooms to see how the color looks like. I have used one color in my own house that looks like 3-4 different shades, this depends on the time of day or amount of light that hits a certain wall. I urge you not to rush the process in order for you to truly understand what you like you need to train your eye and mind, these things take time. Try using the same color batch, as there might be some slight variations of color, and you want to get the exact tone and shade of color in the room. 

Enjoy the process and play around with colors it’s one of the easiest and most impacting changes you can add to a room or house. And like the fickly weather in New England, if you don’t like the color – change it! *This post was originally published 5/9/2012 <>

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