We may not all be do-it-yourselfers, but we do want our homes to reflect ourselves and our personal sense of space and design. We want people to walk in and have a sense of who we are and what we’re about. And the easiest way to impart these ideas is the one we seem to have the biggest problem with: color.
But finding and living with colors we really love can be easy and even fun.
Step 1: Getting To Know You
The link between our personalities and color preferences is muddy with outside influence. Color confusion may start with information overload and bad advice. Trends get in the way of what we know we like, and trying to fit colors in with existing furniture, cabinetry, floors or woodwork makes it all worse.
Thankfully though, the unlikely merging of technology, psychoanalysis, and style helps guide us through a rainbow of possible color disasters.
Your answers to seven questions determine your personality and related color preferences. Would you rather vacation on a sailboat, a beach, the Grand Canyon? Do you prefer the taste of cakes, blueberries, peppers? How would your friends describe you? Your result shows a series of colors that work together, and reveals the color palettes for other personalities. Look at them all and see how right they were about your favorites. There’s also the Dewey Color System. Choose your favorite and least favorite colors and the System uses your choices to determine your personality. Are you a Giver, a Truth Seeker, maybe a Forecaster? Dewey provides color palettes for every personality.
Step 2: Relationship Baggage
Armed with a series of palettes that suit your style, you’re ready for the next step toward color commitment, blending what you like with what you have. But the baggage you bring to a color relationship isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It might be mahogany woodwork, wenge-stained floor or amazing bright blue sofa. Take a good look at your “unchangeables.” Sure, your woodwork is brown, a neutral – but really look. Do you see red, orange? Call the wenge floor black. As for the sofa, blue is blue, work from there. Check your palettes to see which colors look best with the colors you notice.
Step 3: Is This Color Right For You?
It’s difficult to hold up a tiny paint chip and really envision what an entire room will look like. Colors look different as a day progresses and lighting changes. To see it all before you commit, consider buying some paint samples of colors you’re seriously considering. Alternatively, you might go online to check out websites which feature paint programs that allow you to choose from their palettes and paint walls on pictures they provide. It’s a great way to see how the colors you choose for walls, trim and accents work together on the different surfaces. When using these, though, have the actual paint chips or samples as a reference, as the color shown on your monitor will vary from the actual color.
Step 4: Colors Lie
In most relationships, lying is right up there with cheating – but not so, in a love affair with color. Use the lies colors tell to cover up architectural oddities or highlight gorgeous attractions. Here’s a sample of problems that color can help solve.
If a ceiling seems too high and it would make the room cozier to bring it down a little, try using a color that’s a shade or two darker than the wall color. To visually raise a low ceiling, use a color that’s a shade or two lighter than the wall color.
Looking for More
Light colors and cool colors (blues, greens & purples) make a room seem larger. Try them in long narrow hallways or small bathrooms.
Looking for Less
Do the opposite to make a large room appear smaller. Dark colors and warm colors (reds, oranges & yellows) make surfaces pop out into a space.
Use these rules when painting trim and architectural accents in your home. Light and cool colors will make items you want to keep in the background stay there. Darker and warm colors will bring your favorite touches into the limelight.
Step 5: Get The Best
Shop different manufacturers for colors and inspiration, but when it comes to buying the paint, make sure you go to a high-end manufacturer. With everything you go through finding “the one” leaving the paint quality to chance just doesn’t make sense.
To Color Expert Amiee Desrosier, “The best paint tip is don’t skimp, don’t go cheap. Whether it’s on a brush or the paint, this is one instance when cost really does equate to quality.”
She explains, “There are several grades of acrylic but on a paint can, they all have the same labels, the same language. So although the labels read the same, the cans may contain paint of totally different quality. Always go with the good stuff, and that means the more expensive option.”
“When you skimp on paint, it’s harder to make the finished product look good when applying it. You may end up going through so much to get proper coverage that you would have done better to have bought the more expensive paint in the first place. Some paints are so cheap they come off on clothes, while others come off when you go to clean dirt off the wall. With more expensive, better quality paints this won’t happen.”
Remember, a paint company can take a paint chip color from another company and reproduce it using their own paints. So if you find the perfect color from one company but you prefer another brand, it’s very easy to have it made. If you’re using a contractor, he probably has a preferred manufacturer. Find out who it is and why he uses them. Chances are he uses what he finds works best and holds up longest. If you prefer a different brand just let him know, he should make a switch for your project.