Simple trick for determining the undertone of white

I think for many people the most difficult color to choose is white. So often you think you are picking a “clean white”  and you get it up on the wall and it looks green or pink or blue. Well here is my super easy trick for determining the undertone of white.

Take a look at these three different whites.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

When you bring home sample chips from the paint store and you look at them on your wall, can you tell what the undertone is?  Can you tell which one is “whiter? Probably not. However, ask the store if you can take a look at the fan deck and simply look down the strip and you will easily see the undertone.

Linda Holt Photo

Now I’m not saying that these whites will go on the wall and look blue or green or orangey/gold (but they could) but notice that the first two are cool whites and the one on the right is a warm white. The bottom line is that most whites have undertones so it’s better to find out before you get it up on your walls and it turns blue or green or yellow.

If you are still uncertain and struggling to find the “perfect white” give me a call!

How about you? How do you choose the perfect white?

 

Which wall is best for a painted accent wall?

I recently received this question from a reader who was painting her family room and wanted to know which wall would make the best accent wall. She was confused as to whether she should pick a solid wall that was a side wall, the fireplace wall, or the wall behind the sofa which had a window and a door.

Regardless of how you feel about accent walls (many designers and decorators see them as dated) they are still very popular here in the north east and quite a few of my color consulting clients ask for them. When choosing an accent wall, remember it will be a focal point in your room, so be sure there is a good reason to draw attention to it. A random “side wall” doesn’t make for a good accent wall just because it’s a solid wall. Also, don’t default to an accent wall just because you don’t have the courage to paint all four walls your accent color, otherwise it will just look like you haven’t finished painting.

So, which wall is best for a painted accent wall?  Here are the three things I look for when deciding on an accent wall.  

1. A solid wall with no breaks or interruptions. A solid wall behind a sofa or a bed is always a good choice. It is a great place for a pop of bold color that adds visual interest to an otherwise lack luster room.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

2. A symmetrical wall. If you must use a wall with windows or other architectural features it will look best if the wall is symmetrical.  A wall with various sized windows or windows and a door is not the best choice.

symetrical accent wall

In the photo above, the accent wall is symmetrical with the two matching windows and sconces. The dark gray also relates to the sofa and draws you visually through the room while adding some interest to what looks to be a long narrow room.

3. The ceiling. Painted ceilings are very on trend right now and since the ceiling is the 5th wall it is a great place to add a pop of color.

blue painted ceiling

image via Apartment Theraphy

Similar to solid walls, a painted ceiling works best if there are clearly defined boundaries. In other words, if you live in open concept house, a bold turquoise ceiling may not work for the whole house. Bed rooms and bath rooms are my rooms of choice for a painted ceiling.

The Novagrats via Apartment Theraphy

The Novagrats via Apartment Theraphy

This morning I stopped by a client’s home who I had helped with choosing color a few weeks ago. She had recently moved to a beautiful new condo and her main floor was one very long and narrow single room (approx. 60′ x 20′) that was kitchen, living room, dining area.

We decided on an accent wall for the far back wall for two reasons. She wanted to tie in the orange accent from her rug, pillows, fabric and art work and we also wanted to visually shorten the room with the advancing orange wall. Here is the result.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

Here is another view of just the wall

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

She told me it is her favorite thing about the condo and just loves walking in and seeing the pop of bright color.

As always, I love feed back…What do you think of accent walls?  Do you have an accent wall in your home?

Color Trend: Think Pink

Color trends are closely related to social trends and since Breast Cancer awareness is on everyone’s minds these days it comes as no surprise that the color Pink has become THE color of the moment. Now I am not referring to a soft quiet pink that we associate with little girls, but a vibrant strong “manly” pink.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence but this bold bright pink seemed to go viral as soon as the NFL players were spotted wearing pink gloves and shoes in support of the breast cancer cause. (I will say, it made watching a game with my husband so much more enjoyable…just because of the added color and how it looked against the green field).

Hot pink for the home is popping up everywhere and while furniture shopping for a client I spotted this bright pink sofa at a local  Circle Furniture.

pink sofa

Circle Furniture: Linda Holt Photo

Nearby was a hot pink leather recliner with a matching ottoman.

hot pink leather chair

Circle Furniture

Now I know pink isn’t for everyone but if you are thinking of bringing this hot new color into your home, here are a few tips for using it successfully.

The brighter the pink the more visual weight and energy it carries so be sure to surround it with plenty of neutrals so that the eye has a place to rest and the pink does not overwhelm the room.

pink4

White walls with black and gold accents keep both of these rooms looking sophisticated and not too sweet.

Pinterest

Same principle here in that the room has plenty of neutrals so that the pink furniture can stand out as the star of the room.

pink

You can also do the reverse and paint the walls bright pink while keeping the surrounding elements neutral.

pink5

pink walls5

Or, you can have both pink walls and pink furniture but still use plenty of neutrals and keep the palette limited.

pink walls2

Although I don’t think of myself as a pink kind of girl, I’m loving the pink trend.

How about you? Would you use this bright pink in your home?

If you would like help using Pink or any other color give me a call.

Benjamin Moore Colors for 2014

Even though it is only early October, anticipation is slowly building as to what will be “THE” Color for 2014.  Pantone is the big Kahuna in this area because they predict what color will be trending not only in home interiors and fashion but in all industries that have a product with color. (I’m predicting it will be a rich deep blue, but who knows!)

The major paint companies also have their say and last week while vacationing in Key West I received an email from Benjamin Moore announcing they had chosen Breath of Fresh Air (806) as their color for 2014.

Benjamin Moore Color of the year 2014

Benjamin Moore Breath of Fresh Air 806

I had to laugh because the hotel room we were staying in was painted in what appeared to be this exact color. It got me thinking about color and geographical location. This fresh blue is so perfect for the hot sunny South where you want to escape from the heat or if you own a light filled beach house like in the photo above.

In the North East where I live, I rarely have client’s wanting to paint their walls blue unless it’s a bedroom. We deal with cold (or cloudy) weather a good part of the year so the majority of my client’s are looking for warmer neutral colored walls (warm grays, taupe, cream or soft white). If they do want blue walls then it’s rarely a fresh blue like Breath of Fresh Air, but a more grayed down blue gray.

Benjamin Moore says that it has “detected a ‘lighter touch’, hints, whispers, tints of color. Shifts to pastels without looking too ‘candy’, too ‘Easter egg’ which is an exciting message for us, a color company. We’ve begun to see a shift away from gray to tints of blues, greens, lavenders and pinks. Pastels, softened and filtered, to lift the spirit but not shout too loud… colors that can make a room happy, flatter your possessions and your art. We call these the new neutrals.”

Here are all their picks for the “new neutrals” for 2014. (Click on image to enlarge)

Benjamin Moore colors for 2014

Benjamin Moore top colors for 2014

Colors for 2014

Benjamin Moore top colors for 2014 (page 2)

Distant Gray, Clay Beige, White Dove, Wickham Gray and Elemental are all staples in my color kit and frequently spec’ed; and Palladium Blue and Van Allen Green are both popular for bedroom colors. The corals and peaches…not so much. Maybe it is simply because of the region of the country I live in as I saw both coral and peach walls while vacationing in Florida.

Lavenders and purples are trending in both fashion and home interiors and just within the past six months I have had an increase in clients requesting gray with a purple undertone. It will be interesting going forward to see if these softer pastels take hold.

In the meantime, I would love to hear from you. What do you think of Benjamin Moore’s softer more pastel neutrals? Are they popular where you live?

If you would like help choosing the perfect color for your home give me a call!

My favorite way to find color inspiration

Sometimes choosing a color palette is no big deal. You simply match a color from an already existing item such as your drapes, rug or art work and snap….it’s done.  Sometimes though, choosing color is not so easy. You’ve build a new home or added on or you just want a whole new look.  Starting from scratch is when choosing a color palette can become more challenging. Many homeowners simply don’t know where to begin.

In my guest post this week for New England Home I share my favorite way to gather a little color inspiration along with designer rooms that used those colors. I hope you pop on over and take a look.

http://www.nehomemag.com/blog/linda-holt-new-england-color-inspiration

Linda Holt Photo. porch via Pinterest

Color inspiration really is all around us…you just have to look.

 

The final word on paint color and small rooms

Seems like everyone has a different opinion about the best paint color for a small room. Like I wrote about in this post here, there really is no magic color that will make your small room bigger. However, I was quite amused yesterday when I opened the brand new issue of House Beautiful Magazine. Look what I saw on page 89.

color article from HB

July/August House Beautiful magazine

Look at those two quotes; even the designers disagree! Well I will tell you that I have lived in homes with small rooms. I have painted them light and I have painted them dark. Based on my experience this is what I have learned. It really doesn’t matter what color you paint your small room; light or dark it is still going to be small. You just need to decide based on the usage of the room if it would function and feel best as a small light room or a small dark room. It’s really that simple. A small light room will bounce the light around and feel more airy, while a small dark room will feel more cozy and cocoon like.

I personally like to paint small rooms a lighter color. I have tendencies toward claustrophobia and a small dark room is just not comfortable for me. The one exception is a powder room. I LOVE a dark jewel box like powder room. After all, you are only in it for a few minutes so why not make it feel cozy and/or dramatic.

dramatic black bathroom

Pinterest

Whether you opt for light or dark walls the final word is contrast. The lower the contrast between the wall color, furniture, molding and the ceiling, the less chopped up the room will feel…and hence the bigger the room will feel.

So there you go. Keep the contrast low and your small light room or small dark room will FEEL as spacious as possible.

low contrast small room

niagaranovice.blogspot.com

Low contrast light room

small dark room with low contrast

Pinterest

Low contrast dark room.

 Hope that helps clear up some confusion. What’s your preference; light or dark small rooms?

BIG color news from Benjamin Moore and Brimfield

Hello again! I am finally back to my computer after almost two weeks of design and blogging related travel.  I have so much design and color info to share with you from both Brimfield and Blogfest.  I will start with Brimfield and the big color announcement made by Benjamin Moore.

Drum roll please….Benjamin Moore has released a whole new line of paint colors called the Williamsburg Collection.  According to Benjamin Moore this new palette is “historic American colors derived from classic American design. Based on original pigments developed more than 250 years ago, Colonial Williamsburg’s curators have re-created this rich, authentic palette.”

Benjamin Moore Williamsburg color deck

williamsburg collection

The 144 new colors are absolutely beautiful and timeless. Another perk is that since all the colors have similar saturation the colors are meant to blend seamlessly with one another. In other words, you can mix and match these colors in your home and not worry about anything clashing. Of course you still need to get the undertones right so you still may want to hire me!

I am so excited about these new colors and they came at a perfect time as I get ready to repaint to the entire “core” of our house. I have my eye on several of the soft neutrals and plan to paint up sample boards soon. I’ll let you know what I pick.

I also just happen to have an additional Williamsburg fan deck to give away. If you would like to have it simply comment on this post and I will choose a winner next Monday.

What do you think of these new historic colors and do you think you would try them out?

 

 

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