There is a saying “you don’t know, what you don’t know”. Many years ago, before I started Design classes, before color blogs, and way before Maria Killam’s True Color Expert class I simply didn’t know what I didn’t know about color. I always had a good eye for color and I was certainly passionate about color but when it came to choosing color for my home I made the same mistakes that I see my clients making today. So in the hope that you will learn from my mishaps I thought it would be helpful to share my three biggest color mistakes of the past.
#1. Choosing Color Out of Context.
Even way back then I knew enough not to chose color from a chip at the paint store. What I would do is bring home samples, paint patches on the wall and then stand back and look until one of the colors screamed the loudest “PICK ME… I’M THE BEST!” I would make my choice, paint the room, then uncover all my furniture, re-hang the drapes, unroll the rug then stand back and think “humm…I should have picked _______ instead”.
Lesson: You MUST look at the color next to your drapes, behind your furniture and next to your rug. Colors change based on the colors next to them so you can not choose color out of context.
#2. Choosing a Color because it is the “Hot New Color”.
Remember several years back when you couldn’t pick up a decorating magazine without seeing dark Brown walls (often times paired with Robin’s Egg Blue)? Well I got the brilliant idea of painting my small (poorly lite) North facing living room dark brown…I’m talking Bittersweet Chocolate Brown. By the time I finished painting it was well after midnight and I remember thinking “I hope this looks different (better) in the morning”. I still remember my shock and awe as I came down the stairs the next morning, looked down the bright hallway and saw what I can only describe as a “black hole”. It was terrible. I had not considered the fact that dark brown related to nothing else in my house nor the fact that the rest of my walls were all very pale neutrals. I immediately went down to the basement found an old can of primer and started painting over those dark brown walls while I was still in my pajama’s.
Lesson:No matter what the color trends are you must think about how the color will relate to the rest of the colors and furnishings in your home. Even though Gray has replaced Brown as the “hot new neutral”, if you have absolutely nothing else in your home that will relate to Gray then that may not be the best choice for you.
#3. Choosing a wall color based on a color you saw somewhere else. After finding out the name of a beautiful wall color in a local furniture store I painted a room in my own home the same color. It looked NOTHING like what I had seen in the store. I was sure that either the store owner had told me the wrong color or the paint store had mixed the paint wrong. After much back and forth I discovered the color was correct; it just looked completely different in my house.
The two rooms below are both painted Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter and look how different they look.
Lesson: (Going back to #1) colors change based on what surrounds them, the lighting in the room, the time of day you look at the color, the direction the room is facing, all sorts of variables. Just because you fall in love with a color you see someplace, don’t assume it will look like that in your home.
How about you? Have you made a mistake with color you can share?
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