30 Tips and Tricks for Choosing, Using and Loving Color
- “Pick Colors using objects as your guide- an old celadon teapot, the burnt sienna in a paisley fabric, a blade of grass. It’s so much livelier than paint chips. I always, always start with a thing.” – Sasha Emerson
- When you’ve found the right color on a paint card, go a step lighter. Colors look darker on the wall. The lightest two colors on a card deliver more punch then you’d expect. Unless you are looking for a big contrast, then stick with them.
- Using different shades or a color- such as various blues- is an easy way to pull a room together. To prevent monotony, vary the textures (suede against silk) and add a pop of a different color in a pillow, throw or vase.
- Follow the rule of three. When you pick a color use it at least three times in a room.
- “Put things in context. If it’s a fabric that’s going on a horizontal surface, look at it horizontally. Whatever it is, step back six feet and look at it from a distance. Looking at a swatch, a pillow, a curtain, or a rug six inches from your face is different than seeing it as you step into the room.” – Janie Hersch
- Camouflage a hodgepodge of surfaces- an awkward dormer door, wimpy crown molding, or an ugly chair rail- by painting them the same color as the wall. They’ll fade away. Works great with neutrals.
- “Think of hallways as palate cleansers- the sorbet that’s served before diving into the next course. Keeping them neutral allows you to branch into any color in rooms that flow off them.” –Barry Dixon
- Don’t sweat light color variations between fabrics and walls. “The best rooms are slightly off-stronger, lighter, softer, just not a spot on match to a swatch,” says Sasha Emerson, a Los Angeles designer.
- When you’re spreading color around a room, think about proportion. If you’re using three colors, try a 70/20/10 distribution, with the highest percentage going to the lightest color. For two colors, go 70/30.
- Store fabric, wallpaper and paint swatches in a notebook or binder so they’re handy when you shop. To visualize your scheme, cut fabric swatches (or paint brush strokes) relative to the size they’re used in the room- large ones for curtains, small ones for pillows.
- “Break up a room of matchy-matchy wood furniture with one painted piece. It doesn’t have to be a bold color. I like to combine natural wood tones with black.” – Melissa Birdsong
- “I’m always drawn to colors I wear. Look in your closet. You are your own best inspiration for color.” –Comeca Brannon.
- The back of a fabric, curtain, comforter, or area rug is sometimes more interesting- and tones down- than the front. If no telltale signs like hems will show, go ahead and flip it. Designers do it, so can you!
- Top a lamp with a colored or patterned shade. Suddenly your room will seem more alive and vibrant.
- “Everyone thinks of walls when they think of color. But using color as accessories – rugs, pillows, artwork- makes an amazing impression without going crazy on the walls.”- David Bromstad
- Get out the digital camera. It is amazing how a photo can point out problem spots. Add some colorful accessories, take a photo and compare.
- Bring out fresh colors. They are color without commitment.
- Yes those sample-size containers or paint are worth the few extra bucks. Forrest Paint offers them. They’re handy for little paint projects and touchups, too.
- “In a small room, keep the walls the same color as the primary upholstered furniture. The room will seem twice the size.” – Jeffrey Bilhuber
- White brightens whatever it’s with, but it can also be harsh. Try off-whites instead, “when you put a warm white next to a color, it will look bright and crisp,” says designer Barry Dixon.
- “The era of the bright white ceiling is over,” says Elaine Griffin, New York City designer. Paint the ceiling a shade lighter than walls to visually raise it and avoid jarring stop-start seams. For a shade darker to bring it down and add coziness. Go a shade lighter to open the room up and increase light.
- Art and fabric are great building blocks for a palette. Look closely at the item: pull out some background colors to use as room accents. Pulling the dominate color can be too much of a good thing.
- “When choosing colors for a bedroom, pick out the bedding first and go from there.” – Andrea Rossback
- Painting is the least expensive mistake you can make. Be brave. The worst-case scenario is that you’ll have to repaint.
- To tell if a color has a pinkish, grayish or greenish cast, look at similar swatches side by side. Comparison allows perspective.
- When testing colors on a surface, paint the colors a foot or two apart. This gives you a better idea of how the color would look in your room without distracting you with comparisons.
- Think of neutrals as peacemakers. They can help colors get along.
- Wallpaper or paint the inside of a bookcase to set off what’s being displayed. “I used yellow wallpaper in a white built-in bookcase and wrapped the same wallpaper around the lamp shades,” says Kristen Schenck Jackson.
- Two schools of thought for testing a paint color before taking the plunge:
1) Paint the wall that gets the most natural light. If you like, it in the amplified light, it should work on the walls.
2) Paint a piece of cardboard then rotate it around the room to see how it looks in different lights and against different trim. (Use two/three coats of paint for good coverage.)
- Do not be afraid to ask for help. Employees at paint stores see a lot of color and can offer a fresh perspective.
990 McKinley Street, Eugene, OR 541-868-1222 • www.forrestpaint.com