Sometimes I think people just assume any grey or beige will be a good neutral. They go into a paint store, grab a few minuscule paint samples, bring them home, hold them up and pick their colour. Easy Peasy all set…Except it’s not. I’m not saying that somebody somewhere doesn’t get the colour right. Somebody somewhere wins the lottery too. But it’s not most people.
Colour is important folks. Colour affects us emotionally, physically and physiologically.
You may have read my blog on colour undertones and doing white right. There’s many scientific studies done to show how colour affects us. Marketers use colour all the time to bring about desired reactions – typically getting us to spend money on something.
My eldest son did his grade 7 Science Fair project on how colour affects taste. Basically he asked his test subjects to sample three small glasses of sprite. He added red, yellow and orange food colouring so that they all looked different.
You don’t want to be like the client we went to last week.
She just bought a new home and had it painted before she moved in. Everything… The entire place. Except it’s the wrong colour of grey. It’s muddy and dull and depressing and she can’t live another minute with that colour. Pretty expensive mistake. Now the entire home needs to be repainted.
This time she called in a designer to pick her colours.
She should have done that in the first place. Yes it costs money to hire a good designer, but in the end it would have saved her money…a lot of money. And don’t try to get a designer on the cheap. You have to pay for experience and talent, but the money you save will more then cover the cost of hiring the designer.
A good designer will not walk in and immediately start picking colours.
They will ask questions, assess the way you use the room, take into consideration the sun exposure and see what kind of evening light you have. Then they will look at the fixed features and discuss undertones. And they will ask you questions about future decorating plans…and maybe even suggest moving around furniture or picking up a few new accent pieces to bring it all together.
Experienced designers know many creative ways to use colour to bring about desired effects.
What features to highlight with a bold colour (we like to do patio doors in our favourite expresso colour ), when to make things disappear (ugly baseboards) and when a punch of colour is just the right touch (NOT a red feature wall in the dining room).
Designers know that all whites aren’t the same.
There’s pink-whites and yellow-whites and very chilly cold whites. Then there’s our favourite chalky white (benjamin moore ballet white OC-9), which we used in the nursery below to match the white background on the wallpaper.
And here’s an example of a foyer we designed with a warm white. It had to blend with the marble tile and the warm stain of the floor. Before painting, it was all oak and the wall wasn’t there. But that’s a blog for another day.
Here’s another foyer, and it’s painted with Benjamin Moore Brandon Beige 977. This colour was carefully selected to blend with the existing stone fireplace in the family room.
There’s not a lot of light in the home, so the white chosen for the wall panelling and stair spindles was Farrow & Ball’s White Tie – which is rather a yellow white. It looked gorgeous in the home with the flooring and the carpet.
When I asked this homeowner if I could share her paint colours, she said absolutely. Here is the exact quote from her email:
Don’t underestimate the power of colour. And don’t think that just anybody can pick a colour. It takes years of practice, lots of research and a good eye. Having the right colours around you will make life better. It really does. Colour is that important.
Karen Fron Design is a full-service Interior Design Firm located in Calgary, Alberta. We specialize in bespoke residential & commercial interiors, custom furniture & draperies, and whole home renovations.
“A well functioning and beautiful home makes life better.”