Date: October 23, 2015

How to Choose the Right Paint Color

Choosing the right paint color can be tricky for a home decorator.  Selecting a color family isn’t always an easy task.  Settling on the perfect shade can be even more difficult.  Light is deceiving and paint samples are misleading.  It’s a terrible feeling when you look around a fully painted room and come to the realization that you got the paint color wrong.  It’s wasted time and money and just plain frustrating.  If you can’t tell, I’ve been there.

But I’ve also learned from my mistakes.  And now, I have a near fool-proof system for avoiding that cataclysm and choosing the perfect paint color every time–at least–it hasn’t failed me yet.

Step 1

Invest in a fan deck.  It usually costs about $30 and well worth the investment if you’re planning on choosing paint for more than one room in your home.  It’ll give you all the options available in your chosen colorway and allow you to easily compare similar shades.  Whatever you do, do NOT make any decisions in the paint store.  The florescent lighting you find there is as different as can be from the natural and artificial lighting in most homes.

Step 2

Use the fan deck to identify shades of interest in the room that is to be painted.  Make sure to consider all lighting situations: day and night, both in direct light and in the shadows.   In addition, examine how the contending colors look next to the room’s furniture and textiles.  This should help you narrow down your potential paint colors to 2-5 shades.

Step 3

Buy a sample of each of your finalist shades along with a canvas board and paintbrush for each paint color.  Paint each canvas board with its own color and brush, noting the color on the back of the board.  Allow them to dry and then  take them back into the room for consideration, repeating the same steps you went through with the fan deck.

By this point, the winner should rise to the top and allow you to confidently invest in your paint color…and maybe even a professional painter.  Hope these steps work as well for you as they have for me!


3 Ways to Pack a Punch with Paint

A little paint can go a long way in addressing decorating woes, adding an impactful dose of color–even in small quantities.  Here are 3 tips for painting projects that minimize time and expense, but pack a punch in the end.

1.  Remember: It’s What’s Inside that Counts

Painting the interior of a cabinet, bookshelf or built-in storage unit is a decorating device that never fails to impress.  Not only can it provide a pop of color, but it’s also an opportunity to offset the books, vases, and decorative objects therein.  Here are some stellar examples…

Gray built-ins with pink interiors

This wonderfully eclectic room in the Hôtel La Belle Juliette features chic gray built-ins with lovely pink interiors, as seen on Casa Vogue.

painted green shelf interior

Designer Mary McDonald used a citrusy green paint to line the hutch of this breakfast nook.

paint the interior of your shelves

Photographer Richard Powers captured this white dining room with bookshelves painted black inside, creating a dramatic backdrop for the collection of colorful books.

2.  Show Off Your Shape

Covering a shapely or intricate piece of furniture in color is another great use of paint.  The new hue will accentuate the beauty of the piece–especially if the rest of the space is streamlined and/or more subdued in color.  Just look at what a little paint did for the furnishings in these rooms…

Louis Vuitton turquoise planters

Louis Vuitton’s historic home–now La Galerie–boasts a pair of exquisite seahorse planters coated in vibrant turquoise.

red lacquer paint

This Victorian hat rack radiates character in red lacquer, pictured in House Beautiful.

Abigail Ahern's teal table

Interior Designer Abigail Ahern is noted for her moody interiors, but this ornately carved teal table demonstrates her more playful side. From PopSugar

3.  Don’t Forget “All the Trimmings”

White and ivory are pretty much the standard when it comes to trim in home interiors.  It’s so common that we expect to see floors and doors outlined in “default” white.  On the flip side, when a decorator deviates from the norm and paints trim in virtually any other shade, the results catch us off guard and leave a lasting impression.  Admittedly, painting trim is a larger endeavor than the previous two recommendation in this post, but it’s so worth it.  (I painted my trim black a couple of years and am glad of it everyday.)  But see for yourself…

turquoise trim

This snazzy kitchen, featured by AD Russia, is largely neutral with jolts of turquoise in the banquet and cabinetry that is echoed in the trim.

black trim by Kelly Wearstler

Kelly Wearstler outlined this bar with black trim, lending it a more sophisticated and moody vibe. via MyDomaine

blush trim instead of white or ivory

Incredible wallpaper by Timorous Beasties is shown here with on-trend, blush-colored trim.

Happy painting if you’re so inclined!


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