Enclave Environment

152 Commonwealth Ave . Concord . Massachusetts 978-369-1494

Choosing Paint Colors for Your Home

It seems that one of the most difficult tasks in decorating your home is choosing colors for interior walls and trim.  While not a simple task, it can be easily accomplished with a little information and planning.

The most important step is to approach the task of choosing colors in the right frame of mind.  Many people see the walls of a room as a mere backdrop for their furniture and artwork.  That’s why many people have  a tendency to choose off white or other “safe” colors.  Nothing could be further from the truth!

Your walls and trim are not a backdrop but an important element in the impact that your room will make.  In fact, I would argue that the wall and trim colors will have an important effect on the away your furniture and artwork will look.

If you have ever taken a piece of art to a custom framer, you will understand this concept.  Some frames can make a great piece of art look absolutely dull, while other frames can make a dull piece of art look fabulous.  Don’t underestimate the importance of choosing the right colors for your rooms.

But how do you go about it? Let’s use the example of re-decorating your living room.  You have decided on making over this important room in your house.  You will be keeping some chairs and an end table but will be repainting the room, investing in a new rug and repainting.

The first step is to research what you like!  Start a folder where you will compile information and clippings with colors that you like.  These clippings can be from magazines, brochures you get in the mail or even a piece of fabric.  Don’t bother looking at paint chips yet, just focus on colors themselves.

While you are adding to your folder, in might be wise to do some research on the new sofa – particularly since the sofa is a real focal point of the room. Color choices for your sofa choices will be somewhat more limited than your color palette for paints.  You can increase these choices by working with custom fabrics, but you should be aware that this is typically an expensive proposition.  Using your growing research, you should select some fabric swatches for the new sofa that you will use in the next stage of paint color selection.

Now its time to sit in your room with your folder of colors.  You may want to cover the old couch with a white sheet if the color is going to change markedly with the new sofa.  You may also want to remove any pieces of artwork that will not be included in the new living room.  Try to do this on a bright, but overcast day when you will not be disturbed.  Spend as much time as you can going through your folder of favorite colors.  Look at them in the room with the fabric swatches for the new sofa.  This is not a hurried process – take your time.

I find that I will tape colors to the wall, play with different combinations and experiment with contrasts.  During this process, you should be narrowing your choices of colors that will work.  In the end you should try to have two or three color schemes that could work for you.

Now you can visit you local paint store, but make sure you bring your folder along with your final choices.  Use your final clippings and notes to choose your paint colors.  If you are new to color selection, I would definitely suggest a minimum of three different wall and trim color schemes.  You should also try to take a shade lighter and darker of key colors in case your main choices look a little different in the light in your home.

Don’t be afraid to experiment – within reason.  I tell my clients it is similar to putting on makeup.  You can experiment with different looks but you don’t want to go so far as to make yourself look garish.  Make one of your chosen schemes a little bolder than you normally would.  You might even consider adding an accent wall in the room with a complimentary or contrasting color.

When your done, you should have at least three color combinations for wall and trim.  Many paint stores also have large swatches available.  If you don’t see them on display, you should ask.  Take home the larges swatch of the color that you can.

The final choice will come as you view the swatches in your own room.  Tape them to the wall and trim.  Try them over several days in different lights.  If you can see adjacent rooms while you are in the room that is being painted, put the swatches in the line of site for these rooms.  A color that works well in the living room may look awful when seen with the color in your dining area.

As a final step, I suggest getting a pint mixed of your favorite trim and wall choice and actually apply it to the room.  It’s easier to paint over a small patch then re-do the entire room!

Posted in Uncategorized by Marianne on October 19th, 2010 at 12:37 pm.

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