I am mad about color! I love how color looks and the way it affects my mood. I love taking a space and transforming it with color or updating a house and watching people fall in love with their home again. I am not an interior designer or professional decorator, but never-the-less, I offer a complimentary color consultation to each of my customers once they enter into a contract with us. My eye for color and many years of experience are what I draw on to help choose the right color.
If you’ve ever stood in front of one of those displays in the paint store with the myriad of color swatches, pouring over magazines, checking out colors on line and fanning through the decks of color, you already know that choosing color can be hard! How many colors should you choose? Are accent walls all the craze they used to be? What color do you paint the ceiling? Can I use more than one color on the trim? Should I stay neutral and play it safe or should I go hog wild?
I will address each of these questions in this article and give you a few tips to help you achieve that beautiful palette you’ve been dreaming of.
How many colors? One of the first questions clients ask is how many colors for my walls. Most of us have seen (or maybe even had ourselves) homes where each room is painted a different color. This may have scared you enough that you are afraid to choose too many colors; and, rightly so! More is not always better; in fact, more is just more. I recommend sticking to three or four nice colors and that’s it!
Accent walls: I do not care for accent walls unless there is a specific reason for it, such as drawing attention to a fabulous piece of artwork or bringing focus to an architectural feature such as a fireplace. I do not recommend using an accent color to add interest to your space. If your space is that boring, focus on bringing in something of interest first, like an exceptional piece of furniture or artwork. If you are struggling, this is where my interior designer friends excel.
Ceiling color: If you have vaulted ceilings, painting a color on the ceiling will bring it down and make your space cozy. If the ceilings are high enough, going darker on the ceiling than the wall can come off nicely. I also like color added to tray ceilings, such are often found in dining rooms and master bedrooms. Don’t be afraid to go dark or bold in these spaces; otherwise, I like white for ceilings.
Try to pick one white for all your ceilings. This will help the flow of color from room to room and give your home a nice airy feel. I prefer the whitest of whites for ceilings, such as Benjamin Moore’s Super White. A warmer white that goes with just about any color is Sherwin William’s Dover White. These are two whites that work well in almost any space with most colors.
Trim and wood work color: White woodwork is gorgeous, but adding a bit of color to your woodwork can be just as beautiful! The same whites that look good on the ceilings, look good on woodwork; but, white isn’t the only option! Here’s one way to add a bit of color to your woodwork: Paint your kitchen island a dark color that compliments the rest of your woodwork, then carry that island color into another room, such as your study. I also love painting the woodwork the same color as the walls, except with a different sheen. If you decide to go this route, choose a flat for the walls and a satin for the trim. This is great for both traditional and modern spaces.
Is a neutral palette the best choice? A neutral palette is almost always reliable and beautiful. Decorating rules tend to state that the walls should complement your furniture, not the other way around. It’s the job of the wall color to make your belongings look better. In fact, you’d be surprised how the correct color can make that shabby sofa look acceptable again. If you are picking colors for yourself, pull neutral colors out of your sofa, rug, artwork or other “inspiration” piece. Pick colors that are related on the color wheel from room to room and don’t go crazy! A few nice colors that feel related will go a long way in giving you the dream space you are looking for.
If you love bright, bold or unique colors that reflect your personality, don’t be afraid to use them. Just use them sparingly. A pop of color here or there, whether in a room or brought in with accent pieces is an excellent way to brighten up your house. I love the extraordinary and unexpected – in limited amounts.
I’ve given you a lot of Sisu rules for choosing paint colors, but I have one caveat: “Decorating rules are made to be broken!” Following all the rules would be rather boring, right? But, unless you are experienced with decorating or have enlisted the help of a professional, it may have better results if you stick to the rules.