Integral ColorViews Blog
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 Effects
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.
An interesting treatment in which the beams are wall surface—as they should be!
A few ideas about trim colors
- 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 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.
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!
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.
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