Integral ColorViews Blog
Color—as a subject for discussion and also as an experience— is fun, exhilarating, fanciful, practical, and always interesting. Color use also has serious aspects. As a colorist, I look forward to sharing a wide range of tips, books, and color-and-design related subjects with you. You're invited to share your own color inspirations!
Tips for Testing – it’s your most important tool before painting
Have you ever thought about the tools you need for painting?
Think of testing your paint selections as the most important ‘tool’ in your bag.
Tips for Testing
Q: Are you about to make decisions about paint color?
Q: Painters and designers: Are you about to recommend paint colors for a client?
Q: How can you make high quality color test samples to help your clients make color decisions?
You’re a painting professional who has just been asked for the Thousandth time…”how will it look?” Of course you may have even seen the specified color in many other settings over the years—or, perhaps you’ve never seen it yourself in “real life.” Do you have time to test a lot of color swatches for your clients?
Whether you are doing this yourself or perhaps even suggesting that the homeowner (or other client) do it and let you know what they want to use (and some people will actually want to do this), I’d like to share a few tips that you can recommend, or even use yourself if they are new to you. It’s not “rocket science,” we all know that.
So, to keep it simple, I recommend starting with the premise that color looks different in all types of lighting and of course throughout the day—and evening—on different surfaces. Color changes in corners, also, as it intensifies where two walls of the same color meet, and it changes in other ways depending on the actual lighting and also when two walls or surfaces (ie: wall and ceiling) of differing colors meet. It’s the angle that does it – whether the typical 90 degrees or something else, as in a vaulted ceiling, and the reflection of light causes the colors to affect each other.
Therefore, the following apply:
1. Make the paint test on a moveable and repositionable surface. Something that can be affixed temporarily to any wall, ceiling, or even floor (when you are painting a floor).
Note: do not use your blue tape on the edges of this! Tape the back side only.
2. Make the colored surfaces in proportion to each other, for example: Trim colors will usually be narrower than the wall color surfaces.
3. Be sure the surface you paint the test on is primed, or at least under-painted with a color similar to what you’re testing. For example, you can of course use poster board but since it’s paper, it must be oil-primed so it does not warp. Personally I like the flat-finish, fast drying low odor products for this.
Note: I’ve typically prepared up to 20 or so poster boards with this type of oil primer, to have ready to go in advance–and easy to use at a moment’s notice–when preparing color tests for clients.
4. Roll on 2 coats of your finish (test) color, making the application as close to what you intend to do on the final surface. Use a roller with similar pile to what you plan to use on the job.
5. Use a stable surface with a texture similar to the wall or surface to be painted. IF the target surface is textured, it’s worth it to make a replica since color reacts so differently with the light falling on textured or smooth surfaces.
6. Be sure to do the test with the same finish you’ll be using on the actual surface (Flat? Eggshell? Semi-or-high-gloss?)
7. Label your sample cards and cut a nice, smooth-edged one about 8”x8” to leave with the client for their own ‘shopping’ purposes. I find that people appreciate this especially when they are looking at window treatments and furnishings.
8. OK, so what about materials? I mentioned using wood, (smooth and primed, of course), poster board and foam core (oil prime first), and you can use other substrates like gator board, or drywall (also prime).
9. But there is also a really easy solution, one that I personally really like to use and always recommend to my clients who want to do the testing themselves: Small Wall. It’s a great surface, prepared for paint (aka No Priming Needed), a 1’x1’ size (2 in a pack), has a re-positionable adhesive strip on on the back, and can be reused, re-painted. You can even cut it with a solid paper cutter, to make smaller pieces, and hole-punch if that’s how you keep color records. I think they also sell contractor packs of 50, which makes it a very easy process. (check out www.mysmallwall for info)
Interior or exterior, the same process applies. For exterior work you might want to have some siding pieces available that are at least very similar to the client’s house if not the exact same thing. Doing more than just one strip (minimum 4 to 6 strips high, of clapboard style) will give a more accurate view of what the shadows will do at various times of day. Remember to make trim samples also, in the same widths as the actual trim and casings or other details.
So, you might ask, why go to all this trouble, anyway? The main reason is: Minimize confusion, make the color choices easy, and be professional. Stripes and color patches on the walls look messy and are visually confusing. You can’t see the specified colors next to each other on a large enough surface because there is just too much going on and the existing colors will inform the appearance of the tested colors.
This is a start but there are still too many colors in one area and you can’t move them around the room at all.
Note: using a roller is best, to get the most solid coverage (Yes, 2 coats) and no streaks. The point is to replicate the actual color appearance of the final surface.
2. Patches are confusing – use one color at a time. This is a useless waste of time, money and emotion. Let’s hope it’s just done for the sake of this picture and not to actually suggest testing colors like this!
3. Place your reviewed color in corners, next to walls, next to ceiling if possible, next to floor or baseboards, next to doorway to see adjacent rooms with the proposed new color you’re reviewing. In this example they are using a large test area and have applied the color in adjacent walls meeting in a corner, but then it’s complicated by using the swatches of other colors, even if they are variations on a theme.
4. This is another ineffective test, using colors that are too close together, not painted solidly so they look streaky, and not masked from the background. It’s hard to tell what the new colors actually are!
4-a: Mask the wall with white, make a large, rolled paint sample. Doing this on a separate card or large poster board will give you an idea of the actual color. Can you tell which one this is, from picture 4?
There is one more thing you can offer, that some painters have even used as their palette application guidelines. That is to order a digital rendition of what the house will look like (exterior) with the various colors on the different parts of the house. That’s a great way to show a couple of color options in an overall visual. But that’s another story!
Tips and Views on the meaning of cost–and the cost of color.
From remodeling your home to mowing your lawn…What is often at the top of a list of hesitations?
“Price” or “Cost” often includes much more than an exchange of money.
Let’s say, for the sake of this discussion, that it can be the cost of professional services.
What does this have to do with remodeling, color, and design?
As with most discussions there are various ways to look at the subject. Ultimately, the question would be “processed-focused” or “outcome-focused.
Looking at “Cost vs. Pleasure”
Cost is outlay of cash
Cost is the level of perceived value
Cost is “Doing it yourself”
- Time to do the project
- The “learning curve,” if it’s something you have not done before
- Quality of the outcome, value over time
More cost also often happens if you do not engage a qualified professional.
Pleasure of spending money? If you have the resources this can be unimportant or even pleasurable. But pleasure thrives in the value of creating or producing something yourself, the Satisfaction of “Doing it yourself”
- Enjoying making Time to do the project
- Enjoying your Achievements in mastering new challenges
- Appreciating the outcome has value over time
- In some cases your results don’t have to be ‘perfect’ to be valuable
Pleasure in having engaged a trusted, qualified professional, is a form of “passive participation.”
An “outcome-focused” view depends on your goals
What is your biggest obstacle, for either or both of these positions?
a) as a provider of professional services
b) if you are considering hiring professional help
It’s an important subject from either side and I hope you will share your thoughts and experiences.
For me, one pleasure that’s worth the cost: getting the windows of my house cleaned…Professionally!
“Creative” and “Personal” – a Few Short Tips about Paint Finishes
Think “Creative and Personal” with these short tips about paint finishes.
Without a lot of discussion, I wanted to present a few concise tips to consider when you’re selecting interior paint colors for your home. Typically, we have three choices for paint finishes (some companies have one or two in between them): Flat, Eggshell, SemiGloss, and High Gloss.
Deep Color EffectsTraditional Family Room by Cambridge Architects & Building Designers LDa Architecture & Interiors
Here’s a good place to use a flat finish for velvet elegance but just be wary of burnishing. Best used in a space that does not have a lot of activity connected to walls!
A special note about using those fabulous deep, rich colors that you want to appear “velvet-y” is that there is the Plus and the Minus:
Plus: Flat finish (in any color) masks many types of surface defects, better than any other sheen.
Minus: The thing to remember when using deeper colors in a flat finish, in any brand of paint, is that the very, very deep colors can ‘burnish’ when you brush against the surface. This means that if your elbow, for example, happens to rub against the painted surface it might make a mark that looks shiny in some lights. On the other hand, a flat finish requires less perfect walls since, being non-reflective, the imperfections are to a degree masked.Traditional Living Room by San Francisco General Contractors Cardea Building Co.
An interesting treatment in which the beams are wall surface—as they should be!
A few ideas about trim colors
Traditional Living Room by Baltimore Interior Designers & Decorators Patrick Sutton Associates
- Don’t feel obligated to paint all the trim in a room the same color.
- Think about the purpose of the trim: to accent a particular architectural element, frame a space, or create unity.
- Painting the trim the same color as your walls, but in a different finish, is a subtle way to add the illusion of a different color (SemiGloss or High Gloss is brighter than the same color in flat, for example)
- Painting crown moldings the same color as your ceiling, in a different finish, frames the ceiling and defines the space in a subtle way.
- Painting the crown moldings the same color as your walls adds height.
- Window trim in the same color as walls opens the space by bringing your focus to the outside.
- Using a very dark, contrasting trim color in a higher sheen can be a meaningful design accent.
An elegant example of close or same-tone wall and trim.
A Non-Color Tip
Be sure to use the right type of roller for the job. Deep texture surface of course needs a thicker roller; new, smooth surfaces can use a very short-nap roller. But in addition to fiber depth there are a number of different fiber combinations that are best for using with different materials.
This should apply to any paint brand, from the most prosaic to full spectrum paints like EcoHues.
What’s Neutral, anyway? Try these tips.
What is “Neutral,” anyway?
A multi-use color that is complementary in many settings. Many colors can be made serve this purpose. They don’t have to be taupe, beige, or gray. Depending on the look you want, even vivid or highly contrasting colors will make a harmonious statement.
The key is balance. Warm, cool, light, dark, saturated, pale…you have an entire spectrum to choose from.
What to look for in a ‘mutable neutral?’ That will be a color that functions as a neutral but actually looks very color-rich. One way to discern the colors that will be most flexible in your surroundings is to look for colors that will create the most comfortable background. Colors that are more “complex,” having multiple tints in their paint mix formula, typically fit this requirement.Using Full Spectrum Paints is one sure way to gain this effect.
Have you heard the terms “Clear” colors; or, “Dirty” palette, and wondered what that means?
Simply put, “dirty” is not a negative word! In the world of color it refers to a more grayed, complex combination of hues that look ‘toned down.’
“Clear” colors are usually more crisp, bright, even sometimes brilliant.
Colors that work as “neutral” can be of either type; their function is typically to provide a unifying background, to “neutralize” potential discord created by excessive contrast or pattern. In creating comfortable living spaces, the goal is to have a dynamic balance between neutral and accent. This is possible even in a more “tonal” environment where colors are within a particular color family or range of brightness, as in ‘tones or shades’ of a certain
type of color. Usually this means something in an earthy palette but technically “tonal” can mean any relatively monochromatic palette.
Introducing textures can provide the dynamic interest and prevent monotony where a more ‘tonal’ palette is preferred.
With the current trend for using one color–even a white or gray–through the home, you can still keep it interesting with finishes; for example, flat on the wall and ceiling and the same color in a semigloss or even gloss finish on the trim.
So, think big in the sense of looking at your space from a wide view. It’s not just about deciding what color to paint a wall to be “neutral.” Look at the elements of harmony for a dynamically neutral result.
About color or not, open your mind to open your eyes
Are you perhaps one of the many individuals who is “stuck?” That could mean stuck in a pattern of thinking, behavior, reacting and responding…the list is endless.
I was thinking about this recently and it even applies to color selections. With so many colors to choose from, whether for interior colors, exterior colors, or just new materials, it’s too easy to just revert to what’s comfortable, what we’re used to, and what we know “looks good.”
On the other hand, there is a lot of stimulation available through examples, options, and advice both valid and incorrect, that can either help focus and crystallize a decision, or can just create more confusion.
How I personally approach breaking out of a pattern—whether in daily life in general or in my color consulting life, in particular—is pretty simple. A couple things to share at this time:
- Get out of the house/office/studio and just take a quick walk. Not a new tip at all…but I like to pick a subject to focus on or observe each time. Something mundane, like Trees, Sidewalk cracks, Smells…you get the idea.
- Read a different type of book by a new author, it changes the perspective.
- Play a musical instrument from time to time: either an old friend-familiar one, using a different musical style, or something completely different. For example: this summer I went to Fiddle Camp with my son and grandson. That was a new experience – as a classically trained violinist it was a big switch and a great experience! A way to see and hear things anew.
“Breaking out of the box of off-white” is really just a metaphor for doing something different. Start large, start small, it does not matter. Just Start.
Enjoy the process; please share your own methods, and let us know how you evolve!
What more is there to say about color?
So, it’s been a while since I’ve written a post here. “Been So Busy…” is what people often say. I guess it’s true that I have ‘been busy.’ But here’s the thing. So much to think about color, so much to say, so little time, and so forth.
I just decided to Ask! What would you like to hear about?
It could be one of these topics but feel free to add your own requests!
- Interior color ideas?
- Exterior color ideas?
- Paint or other materials?
- Color Theory?
- Client questions?
- Full Spectrum Paint color questions?
- Coordinating paint and furnishings?
- What is supportive color?
- Applied color psychology?
My own list of potential posts is much longer than that of course, but sometimes it’s also good to ask for suggestions.
Let me know, and let’s share some color stories and tips.
Just the image to inspire a dramatic “Fall” palette for interior and exterior house colors.
Take your pick, and make the most of how you use them.
Warning: A little bit goes a long way!
Meanwhile, enjoy the end of Summer. I know I will.
What’s here to stay, and here to change? Color Trends. Period.
Color trends? Here, to stay… and here, to change.
It’s that time again, Color Trends are all over the place! Most recently, Pantone reports “Emerald Green” as the latest thing. Green is what I call an “available” color, since because it’s right in the middle of the light-wave spectrum it’s a color most comfortably viewed in many instances. It’s mutable and earthy; inspiring of new life, growth, and positive direction. As a paint color, “green” can be flexible in interiors and can be used in many settings.
Small World, Indeed
While I don’t have an “emerald green” in the palette, I’ve been delighted to see that many of my own EcoHues Full Spectrum Paint colors seem to have aligned with some trend colors over the past year. These are from Pantone:
What’s my own personal opinion?
While I don’t really have one personal favorite color, I do have a definite point of view. As an architectural color consultant, paint palette designer and rug designer, my viewpoint is threefold.
My own primary, professional focus as a color consultant is a strong belief in supportive color design. Foremost is function, coupled with aesthetics and, in the homes of individual clients, personal color preferences naturally have a role as well.
Where function is concerned, color trends are interesting—and of course they are an indicator of products we’ll be seeing going forward. However using a ‘trendy’ color as a selection simply because it’s “hot” or popular does not serve either my client or myself as the consultant. I always take note of trends but no decision or recommendation I’d ever make is trend-driven.
As a paint palette designer, I’ve created the EcoHues line of Full Spectrum Paints as a 32-color curated palette that serves a variety of purposes. Because each of our colors has no black or gray—even in our muted ‘neutrals’ or most highly saturated colors—they are easy to decorate with. So, many “trend” colors can create interesting harmonies with these richly-colored full spectrum paints as part of a design plan.
In creating the palette style and the actual colors, I’ve been influenced by client requests in both commercial and residential settings. That request is usually in the form of an expressed feeling. The client desires a particular kind of experience. A typical kind of request is, for example, “I want a relaxing space, a happy, energizing space, and also something that will complement my furnishings.” So, with that as the impetus, the EcoHues palette includes pale to deep stony neutrals; underwater blues; luminous, ethereal sun-filled yellows; antique-flavored greens; bright blues, and richly warm reds and browns evoking exotic sources.
How do these fit into upcoming trends?
While I agree with others that we’re influenced by the economy and world events, what I see as important in general is something that’s been happening for a while now: a resurgence in health and well-being beyond today’s blood pressure. Certainly, the deeper aspect of the experiences that we all desire in our color environments is well beyond the transitory nature of “what’s hot” right now or even for the near future.
A quick color trend note
In the world of color and design—in what appeals to us at the deepest level and that will endure well past this year’s colors—is a reference to organic plant and earth sources, natural materials, and textures. As the world becomes culturally smaller and smaller, international flavors will continue in an ongoing appreciation of solid, earthy tones and textures; warm, natural pigment-inspired colors like rusty oranges, paprika and cinnabar reds; brighter, rich hues like Hydrangea and Phoenix Blue, and the deep tones of Mulberry, Nomad and plum.
Cultural blending has, in fact, been well underway for some time and will continue to evolve into new and exciting preferences in color combinations and styles. And, in any space or product, surface sheen and texture are important and often dictate a color’s appearance and therefore contribute to our color preferences and uses.
Third: Home decor follows fashion
As a rug designer, I incorporate color from an instinctive perspective, starting with what feels right to me from the artistic standpoint. That said, I can of course change colors in any way to suit individuals’ requests. It surprises me sometimes that many of the colors I initially use in my rug designs do show up in a future trend forecast. That is always interesting, and just demonstrates once again that color is universal—and cyclical.
My basic belief doesn’t just “belong” to me.
It’s much broader than any individual, and does not depend on color trends at all.
As humans—without regard to “trends”—we all crave color in myriad varieties of light and bright, muted yet clean, and deep, rich, and dark. It’s all about proportion, balance, and use. I see color trends as something interesting and cyclical, worth observing, with variations in each re-occurrence of a particular color.
Are you Into Color Trends for your own home, or your business, or just for fun? Visit these places for more inspiration:
Change is dynamic. That’s the fascination that keeps us coming back for more! What’s Your “take” on the trends?
A Maslow-Inspired Thanksgiving Color Palette
What are the colors of Thanksgiving?
So much more than paint, decorating, or “trend palettes.”
I wanted to offer some color-reflections for the holiday season, and beyond.
Please share your own inspirations and color-reflections!
Asking the right questions
How to listen: Take a tip from Joseph Albers
“Good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers.”
Among the many “what’s the first step” items in the process of a new client-relationship, asking the right questions is at the top of my list.
Of course this also goes for any project, even with people we think we know, since each project carries its own set of circumstances. That’s why I love the above statement by Josef Albers.
While creatively problem-solving, opportunities to learn—and to teach—abound in every project
- Help clients discover their own personal design styles
- Introduce new concepts and ideas
- Interact with clients in an authentic way
One example, from a client’s note to me
“…you helped take the confusion out of color selection process and opened up our eyes to color choices we never would have thought of using. We appreciated how easy it was to work with you, and how carefully you listened to our wants and needs.”
It just takes practice!
As artists and designers, it’s so easy to become excited about a project and about our own approach and inspirations. The practice is in listening, and advising while not imposing our personal preferences. It’s really all about the goal for every client.
Seeing it Anew, for a New Full Spectrum Experience
Have you ever heard someone say “I can’t believe I never noticed that before?”
Have you ever said it yourself?
How many times do we have to see something before we really notice it?
“IT” could be just about anything, actually, and once you start to think about “IT,” the list just grows.
- Special People: recognizing, appreciating, not taking them for granted
- Disorder: Walk into a room you have not been in for a while and see it with new eyes open
- Color: combinations of color and new ways of seeing what’s familiar
- Ideas: open your mind, open your heart!
- And then of course what can follow is “open heart, open mind!”
What are your recent Openers that you want to share here? Just leave your comment to this post.
Often we’re simply ‘stuck’ in the place we are. Emotionally, physically, and environmentally—from the perspective of trying to make even a small change. Color and even simple design changes can help to create a full-spectrum life.
Sometimes an outside view is just what’s needed to reflect and have a new experience.
If you want help seeing—and experiencing—your own environment with a new view, just let me know.
Helping people get ‘un-stuck,’ and evolve through their color and design dilemmas, is my specialty.
Check out colorful Gift Certificates fo provide a full-spectrum experience for yourself, your family, and friends.
Bio-What? Add Nature to your Life and Feel Better Now
It’s not quite a “household word” yet, but is definitely becoming a regularly accepted fact: including as many references to “nature” as possible—in any kind of space—leads to more healthy living and working environments. How this plays out in a very real, practical way is documented in some very interesting articles. You might say, it’s even a matter of common sense—and dollars.
We humans need to be connected to nature.
We hear this so much that it borders on sounding trite. But it’s an innate aspect of our biological makeup—we’re “hard-wired” with this need, and it’s a good one. The very real, physical concept of Biophilia brings it into a larger scale of relevance; architectural projects ranging from a variety of workplaces, manufacturing, offices, and especially health care, can reap the largest-scale benefits—from improving their financial conditions to creating more socially healthy civic communities, in general.
According to a fascinating short article I recently read, * ‘Biophilic Design Could Save Millions of Dollars,’ including more vegetation in cities would visibly reduce crime rates “7 percent,” and subsequently save tremendous amounts of money “in incarceration costs from violent and property crimes.”
At this point you might be saying…Ok, that’s interesting but “What About Me? What can I do in my own home go introduce a more nature-relevant quality?”
Even on a smaller, personal scale
there’s a huge benefit to creating associations to nature. Whether you have a small rented apartment, or a condo or home of any size that you own, you can really make a difference in the lives of yourself and family members.
So, on to a few quick comments about using color in your home or workplace, to help introduce some more natural qualities in addition to the houseplants you might already have, and your garden (which are a great start, by the way). We’re back to often-discussed topics included in what I often talk about: Supportive Color Design.
- Lighting: incorporate as much natural lighting as possible. Be sure to test your paint colors in all available lighting condition in your setting.
- Color: Specifically the benefits of using Full Spectrum Paint: Eliminate black and gray from your walls. Full spectrum paints using a minimum of 7 tints in each color will get you the closest to the colors of sunlight–at least as close as you can get considering it’s paint.
- Shapes: Beyond the typical room shapes, look at shapes in nature and see how you can bring those elements into your own home.
- Space design: Creating a comfortable and supportive interior environment: arrange your furniture and other decorative items in an orderly and balanced way for maximum comfort, taking into consideration their sizes, shapes, and placement in the space.
From the original article titled “The Economics of Biophilia” prepared by the environmental consulting and strategic planning firm, Terrapin Bright Green, is this statement by E.O. Wilson, the person who defined Biophilia:
“Biophilia is the innately emotional affiliation of human beings to other living organisms. Life around us exceeds in complexity and beauty anything else humanity is ever likely to encounter.” – E.O. Wilson, 1984
How do contemporary designers incorporate Biophilia in their own work? In ways not specifically “interior design” but even in specific products used in interiors. Wall coverings, office cubicle textiles, and the drapes in hospital patients’ rooms are just a few. Textile designer Laura Deubler Mercurio, whose work is shown in the image below, is a long-time colleague of mine through the IACC (International Association of Color Consultants). She is completely involved in Biophilic and fractal design, creating exciting, beautiful and thoughtful designs for woven textiles, that are used in the three types of locations I just mentioned.
Personally, I’d heard about Biophilia many years ago, and since then that awareness has had a significant connection to my own approach to Supportive Color Design, that applies to interior or exterior color design. Thanks to Eco-Structure.com, a publication of the AIA, for bringing this in-depth article to my attention.
What you’re reading in this post is intended to encourage you to read the entire, original article that you can download from the Terrapin Bright Green web site.
ICFF 2012: Something multicolored, something blue, and many things new.
It’s not borrowed. It’s multicolored, and it’s sometimes blue.
Not talking about “June weddings.” In this case, it’s the ICFF show (International Contemporary Furniture Fair). A great place to see international contemporary culture expressed in design. Sometimes reflective of something old, and in many cases something new, and always interesting.
In any case, I always find this show enjoyable on many levels. Seeing many of the latest new products, color trends and design trends from international designers, and talking with some of them in person, is an experience I find fun and inspiring.
So, to share just a few of the items that piqued my interest for a number of reasons…
I enjoyed a brief conversation with Jamie Harris, the artist who created these beautiful hand blown glass light fixtures
Still on the subject of light, check out these amazing solid acrylic tubes. Colors infuse the entire material throughout, and the colors change as you move around the piece according to viewing angles. Even the edges are luminously multicolored
Imagine the setting for these beautifully sculptural light fixtures.
Moving along to see some furniture, something I always enjoy.
Note: the picture on their web site is Not of their ICFF booth…at least not the one I saw there.
And last, but not least, for now…
So much to see and enjoy in one day, these are just a few of my favorites.
Do you have a favorite? If so, which piece–and where would you use it?
Color Q & A: Use Deep Color and be Happy
A question I received recently about using deep color prompted me to share this topic with you. First of all, I’d like to state that Yes, you can be “Happy” using deep colors.
Q: We recently moved…
into a new contemporary high-rise home , and ditched all the British colonial/country French stuff. We’re still living with builder’s paint and are getting eager to make a change. We’d like to try something new (maybe charcoal!) but afraid it will end up a somber cave instead of elegant and crisp.
A: The question of using deep colors…
always comes with the concern “Won’t it make the space feel small?” Since there is not one simple answer to this, I wanted to briefly touch on a few ideas about the subject. You might call it “advice on psychology of painting darker colors”—but that has such a formidable sound, I’d rather call it “some tips about using deep colors.”
Psychological color associations are so interesting. “Darker colors” often are described as serious, depressing, sad, formidable (see above comment), and other similar mood-and-feeling descriptions. The flip side of the description might be “sophisticated, intimate, cozy, meditative, exotic, solid…” and so forth. In other words, there are many ways to look at how we describe and feel about color!
But psychological associations aside, we have the physical attributes of the space (lighting, room size, wall shapes, ceiling height, floor color and material) and the question of function (what you want to do there) are all part of the picture and process of choosing the best colors for your needs.
A few ideas on making a space elegant and crisp using deep colors
- Deep on the walls and ceiling, bright contrast on the trim.
- Select brightly colored accessories
- Use texture and light
- Use the deep colors of walls as a dramatic background for artwork or collections
- Use a deep color on an accent wall to extend the view in the room and expand the space.
Deep, earthy EcoHues Full Spectrum – Fieldstone in a very small bedroom, opens to EcoHues Full Spectrum – Pewter on walls and ceiling in the adjacent powder room. Cabinets and lower walls are EcoHues Full Spectrum – Char-Plum Gray.
Deep color on the walls of this kitchen “gallery” is Chocolate, from Ellen Kennon Full Spectrum paints.
Deep color again, this one is EcoHues Full Spectrum – Atlantis. Note the wall color is also used on the ceiling in the alcove portion of this space.(below)
Below: Deep on the trim, with contrast color on walls and ceiling (in this case, the ceiling is a soft tinted white)
Walls are Ellen Kennon Full Spectrum – Mustard Seed. Trim is Benjamin Moore HC-67.
Do have an experience using deeper colors that you would like to share?
My goal is to help create the best possible spaces with colors that help you enjoy your life and accomplish what you dream of doing. Let me help you “Get outside the box of off-white“ with colors for your vibrant life.
Linen-weave texture: made a mistake but now corrected
Silly mistakes will happen. Most recently here: posting something by mistake, then deleting it to try to correct the error, then deciding to re-post.
This recent post was brought to my attention today by a friendly reader who wrote me an email that the page was no longer available.
What’s good about that? Now I can make it better.
I’d posted an image of a decorative finish, a project in which I’d painted a linen-weave strie design in two colors, two layers. The problem was that I’d not included any info on the picture!
This can be a lovely way to create a hand-painted wall covering, using colors to create depth and interest.
How you do it
First layer, apply glaze evenly, blend, then drag vertically with a wallpaper brush. When it’s dry, do the second layer: the same process, different color, drag horizontally.
Tape off vertical sections and work in alternating areas. You will actually save some time because you can use a faster-drying glaze. By the time you work your way around the room you may be able to go back and do the 2nd layer. Granted, this may not work for all sizes and shapes of rooms but it is one way to do this process.
What’s your experience?
Have you made tech-errors that were embarrassing? On the other subject, have you tried DIY-decorative finishes that did not work out?
Before you shop for a rug, consider this very important issue.
An area rug can be many things in your decor, and making the decision about which rug to choose from the literally thousands available (and as you know, that’s an understatement) can, in that way, be an experience that resembles selecting paint.
In choosing an area rug, your main considerations might be your use for the rug, and your budget. Other issues besides cost, color, and design, will include longevity. For some details in a brief “rug primer,” this article in the recent Fabulous Floors Blog will give you some tips to take note of, even before you start to shop for a rug.
A big part of what’s important in rug selection, however, is the issue of who actually made the rug. Adults? Slave-labor children? Goodweave.org is making great strides in eliminating child labor in the rug industry; rescuing children from the labor market and providing education and a chance at a higher quality of life. This video is one of three from GoodWeave that addresses that subject. If it’s something you have never thought about, you may be surprised—so please take a look. Each GoodWeave member pays a portion of your purchase price of a GoodWeave certified rug toward this goal.
At least, paint does not carry those considerations. While some of the main issues with paint are comparable: What you need and where you will use it; budget; VOCs and personal health concerns; durability; ease of touch-up; and of course your color choices, that include colors that have black in them, or true Full Spectrum colors with no black and a minimum of seven tints in each!
But, you don’t have to feel overwhelmed—about either rugs, or paint.
For a rug, be sure to go to a dealer that carries rugs from GoodWeave suppliers. Each GoodWeave certified rug will have a numbered label. For your dilemmas about paint selections, I am here to help.
National Painting Week
Did you know it’s National Painting Week?
That’s the story, right from Sherwin Williams Paints.
It’s a great idea, and on their site they offer a number of useful tips that you will find both accessible and easy to do. Perfect for busy people who want to make a big change.
The simple tips they offer are so practical that it’s a great reminder of how easy it is to make a big change with paint.
- Changing cabinet hardware for a new look
- Update light fixtures
- Painting an easy, creative decorating project like picture frames, a tabletop, or a small piece of furniture
- Painting an accent wall or ceiling
- Landscaping suggestions
- Taking care of exteriors
It’s true that Spring can be just the beginning of an intensive home-decorating and fixup season. Don’t be overwhelmed! Contact me with your request for help on a project of any size. In addition to basic consultation services, our new DesignerColorPalettes service offers a variety of ways I can help with “virtual painting” of interior colors, and also larger painting projects such as your home’s exterior. Read some comments at our Client Testimonials page.
Fashion in Colors
The spectrum of color: content, interest, application, social meanings, trends, materials (to name just a few) naturally includes textile design and fashion. Even if we’re not “fashionistas” (one of those questionable words that somehow actually means something), “Fashion” is in our lives.
Might as well enjoy it! And to do so, check out Fashion in COLORS, published for the exhibition, “Fashion in Colors,” at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum at the Smithsonian Institute, 2005-2006, curated by Akiko Fukai.
According to the inside cover, the origin of the book was the original exhibition organized by the Kyoto Costume Institute, that was shown at the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto, 2004.
One unique aspect of this book is in the presentation. Sections on artists, designers, and color families make it a unique exploration of color and design. Works by the iconic designers whose names you will recognize are fascinating and the photography is simply astounding. It’s a complete immersion in color, shape, texture, textile design, and information.
When More is Better: Exterior Color Ideas
Speaking of your new house colors…What house colors are you planning to use? It’s time to evaluate your home for a new look.
Is it for a complete repainting of your home or other building, or maybe adding a few accents to bring some “snap” to your existing color scheme? Even a house with a conservative, subtle color palette can benefit from a small adjustment.
A few tips for individual homeowners and building professionals
When you start to think about colors for painting your existing home, a renovation, or new construction…
Homeowners: new colors for any size home
From a small Cape Cod style house to a Victorian mansion, your best color choices are the ones you carefully consider.
- Assess the current condition of your siding, eaves, other trim and architectural details.
- Porches are a great place to introduce new color: Floors, Ceilings, and Trim.
- Alcoves, niches, window seats: all are candidates for minor revisions with color and sheen.
- Even homes with less architectural detail will be more elegant and distinctive with the right color additions.
- Are you planning some landscaping? Coordinate your house color with property updates.
Builders: Single family or a development
Building a single Spec-house, or an entire neighborhood? There’s a lot to consider when it comes to color.
- Multiple, adjacent homes do not have to be made in the same color schemes
- The colors you use have a lot to say to–and about–the buyers you attract.
- The best color plan will include all your building materials to create the most interesting and appealing properties.
- Color is what your customers will notice first. Make it count!
Now can be the time that you expand your own color-horizons.
- You can break out of the typical format of “3 colors” for your home.
- Keep your house colors harmonious with your surroundings, appropriate to the architecture of your own home, and fitting in the neighborhood. All are important.
- The key is to use the right colors in the right places, where tasteful and imaginative colors will enhance a simply-structured house as well as one with multiple architectural elements and embellishments.
Designer Color Palettes: See what your home, or other building, will look like before you paint!
In addition to my architectural color services for any type of building, inside or out, I’ve added an exciting new service for individual homeowners and other design/build professionals. With Designer Color Palettes, we’ll use colors you may have already selected but want to see how they will look. We’ll add a few of my own recommendations, or even show you your house with colors that I’ve selected for you at your request. You can direct exactly what you want to see, and what you want help with.
Don’t be left out in the cold…Weather, that is.
Beautiful days inspire us to get out the paint brushes for a new Spring look. But first, register at the D+D web site and read this important article from Durability + Design.
Share your favorite house colors! What are they?
Let us know!
Color on the brain
We’re always looking at color, and talking about color. Somtimes, we’re even applying color. And, in between, we’re seeing, feeling, hearing, smelling and thinking about color.
We don’t even have to be “color-obsessed…,” we just have to be what we are. Human.
We forget from time to time that “color” does not even exist on its own, except where there is light and we are able to recognize it. Then, we assign an identity to what we call the color that we’ve seen. Often we make the understandable mistake of thinking that, while color does matter (and it matters a lot) in so many ways, it is not Really “matter.” It’s only Perception.
But what a subject! Endless, and so complex. When the ‘buzz words’ about color— from trends to color psychology— are tossed around so glibly, this will give pause to think a bit more about the depth of this vast subject.
With that in mind, I’m delighted to share this video with you. I hope you will share your thoughts after you’ve seen it.
Color Creates Light: Studies with Hans Hoffman
“In nature, light creates the color; in the picture, color creates light.”
More than ‘color inspiration,’ looking to fine art is a dynamic way to experience color. Hans Hoffman exemplifies the word “colorist.” This book offers an in-depth exploration of his theories of color as well as gain as sense of the man—his life, teaching, and art work—in a biography. Also included are many illustrations of work by other artists, some of whom were his students.