Don't be Afraid of Color

In this age of nesting, home as sanctuary, aging in place, and all the other –isms of “staying-putted-ness” people are looking for ways to repurpose their belongings, update their homes without spending gobs of money, and achieve a change of scenery without leaving the scene.  One of the best ways to do this is with paint colors.  Paint is inexpensive, the color choices are virtually limitless, most people can actually pull off a decent paint job on their own, and changing colors can completely transform a room.  Here are a few rules of thumb for transforming a room with paint:

  1. Create a focal point in your room with an accent wall in a different color from the rest of the room.  Be mindful of the colors in the furniture that will be placed in front of an accent wall.  If the furniture is very light, a dark-colored wall will create drama and contrast, while a light-colored wall behind light furniture will create more serenity and neutrality, and vice-versa.
  2. Use a contrasting color to draw and direct the eye in the form of a horizontal stripe painted at eye-level (for modern interiors), or a contrasting color above or below a chair rail (for more transitional or traditional interiors). 
  3. Keep ceilings painted in light colors to make them feel higher, darker colors to visually lower them.
  4. Don’t be afraid of color!  Nothing is more boring than an all-beige house.  And don’t worry; it’s only paint- it’s easy to change.
  5. Make your paint color changes at the inside corners of walls, not outside corners.  Walls are never perfectly straight, and changing the color at an outside corner will highlight just how crooked your wall may be.
  6. Choose the sheen (sheen = shininess) of the paint carefully.  Matte (flat, no shine at all) finishes hide imperfections.  The higher the gloss, the more wall imperfections you will see.  However, the trade-off is that matte finishes scuff easier and are more difficult to clean and touch-up.  Be honest with yourself about how you and your family use the space.  If you have small children that like to run their hands and toys along the walls, matte finishes will require more maintenance to keep them looking fresh.  I usually suggest a happy medium, like eggshell or satin for most interior wall spaces.
  7. Try out a color selection by painting a largish sample of it on different spots on the wall.  The way light hits the wall will alter how the color looks, so you want to see the color in different areas and under different lighting conditions before you make your final decision.  The size of the sample paint area should be big enough to really get a feel for the color in relation to the colors around it, so don’t be skimpy: 12” x 12” or 12” x 24” minimum.
  8. Choose a low or zero- VOC paint (and primer).  It’s healthier for you and your family because it won’t off-gas harmful contaminants into the air.  Try Mythic Paint  .  If you live in the Fort Lauderdale area, Mythic Paint can be found at Eco-Simplista along with multitudes of other sustainable and eco-friendly building products.  Benjamin Moore offers the Natura line as their zero-VOC product, and Sherwin Williams offers the Harmony line as theirs.

Since there are so many paint colors available, choosing the right colors for your space can be daunting.  If the idea of choosing paint colors makes you lose sleep at night, consider investing in a color consultation by a professional interior designer (that would be me!).  Click here for more details on how we can work together to select the right colors for you.