Recently, The TBBs were asked a question from a follower regarding her difficulty between choosing one of two colours that she liked. Of course we answered her question, but it occurred to me, that this is a common dilemma for many people. Choosing paint colours for your home should be an easy task, but there are many variables that can alter the colours you are looking at.
- The lighting in the room
- The other colours in the room
- Undertones of the colours in the room vs the colour you are choosing
I could give you a very scientific colour lesson, but this would be an infinitesimal task which would not only put me to sleep, but you as well.
In design and decor there is really only one element, COLOUR, that has science attached to it. We all know that colour is light, colour has spectrums, prisms, refractions ….. yada yada yada. However, all the other elements such as scale/ proportion, texture, rhythm etc. are very subjective and are chosen emotionally. Proof of this …. 10 different designers will never have the same concept for a space. Although colour theory has it’s origins in science , colour selection is primordial … an emotional task. We choose colour on the basis of ‘it’s my favourite colour’, ‘it goes with my duvet,’ ‘I saw it in a magazine’, ‘it’s totally on trend’ ….. But when it comes to choosing the perfect wall colour, and there are a BAZILLION different colours on thousands of different paint company fan decks, you can quickly spiral down into the colour choice abyss. I have seen this happen many times, and I therefore urge you to limit the number of fan decks and paint samples at your disposal.
HOW TO CHOOSE COLOUR
- The lighting in your room will affect the colour you are looking at. Natural light, general overhead lighting, and time of day must be considered when choosing a room colour.
- It is ALWAYS wise to choose the wall colour AFTER you have chosen the fabrics, textures and finishes in the room. Remember, there are a BAZILLION paint colours to choose from, but far fewer window treatment, upholstery fabrics and rug colours to choose from. Pick these items first, then choose your wall colour to coordinate.
- How to determine undertones…scary business. Very simply, choose two colours from a fan deck with similar value (light /dark) … hold them next to each other and compare the undertone … ie: pink, yellow, green … they may be difficult to distinguish, but comparing to other similar colours should make it easier. I would venture to say that more incorrect wall colours are chosen due to incorrect undertones. If your sofa has a yellow undertone, you will not like the wall colour with the pink undertone … guaranteed. Often homeowners know that something isn’t working in their room. They love the sofa, coffee table, artwork etc, but something is off. It is usually the wall colour with an offensive undertone.
FREE TIPS (because we love you)
- When looking or comparing paint chips, always look at them vertically as if on the wall. Do not look down onto the chips, unless you are painting your floor …. that would require an entirely different blog post.
- Always look at your chosen paint chips against a white background. Placing them directly against a wall colour will completely change your perception of the intended colour on the paint chip.
- Place several paint chips (on white backgrounds) around the room being painted. You will be able to determine how the various light sources affect the colour throughout the day.
- Don’t go all TRENDY on us. Choose colours that you relate to. Trends die quickly, but if you truly love a colour today, you will likely love it beyond tomorrow too.
- If in any doubt … hire a professional decorator who will give you honest and expert advice. That is what we are paid to do.
Donna says “These are great tips Maureen! And once you pick up on how to recognize colour undertones, you’ll be seeing them everywhere.”
Mary Anne says “Great summary Maureen! These are tips that cannot be repeated often enough. Even though they seem like common sense, they are crucial to getting those colours right. Who wants to paint a room four times?”
Lisa says: “Great post Maureen and so true if the undertone is wrong, it will feel wrong.”