Colors breathe life into spaces. They may represent new beginnings and change, or refresh and rejuvenate the energy in your home.
Each room in the home is like a canvas on which you can have fun playing with paint colors. Before putting the paintbrush to your canvas, create a color scheme. This involves establishing a story for the space. It will provide a model to work within, as well as a direction.
Here’s an example of a story for the living room shown in the photo to the right. A sun-kissed male is wearing rolled up khaki pants, an unbuttoned shirt, and a casual jacket slung over his shoulder with a finger hooked into the collar of the jacket. He is strolling along a serene and sandy beach.
Key words such as “serene” and “beach” are selected to create the color scheme in the room. As an interior designer, I have a rule of thumb: a large room with furnishings would do well to have a palette of five hues. Smaller spaces such as a foyer or a powder room can get away with two colors.
A good place to start is your neighborhood paint store. Every year, paint companies come out with color palettes for the interiors. They present color stories (in brochures or on websites) for various rooms in the home. Each story has three key elements; the main color, an accent color, and the coordinating colors. Together these ingredients create harmony and balance in the room.
For example, Farrow & Ball, an English manufacturer, gives color ideas and inspirations on their website. They offer 100ml sample pots in estate emulsion finish (2% sheen). The pots are available at Riverhead Building Supply in East Hampton and at Aboff’s in Wainscott.
Farrow & Ball is known for their depth of color and color accuracy, as well as for being environmentally friendly. They are sponsoring the 2014 Hampton Designer Show House, where you can experience their colors.
Depending on the style of your home and what you love, you can choose current colors (the trends of the moment), or timeless colors (hues that do not go out of style).
Look closely at a hue, and you will see that it has either a cool or warm undertone. When you detect the underlying color, the process of coordinating colors becomes less intimidating. For example, if the grey wall paint has a pink undertone, then any warm colors in the red family will work well with this paint color. If the grey has a blue undertone, it will work well with any cool tones of blue. Putting other grey color swatches up against the one you are considering will help you pick up the subtleties.
Once you have the color scheme for one room, it is simple to design for the other spaces in your home. For flow and consistency, consider a running theme from one interior to another. For example, handpick one hue from the living room, and relocate that hue into the dining room. Then create a scheme around that color. Don’t be afraid to select different wall paints for various rooms. Let’s say burgundy is your choice for the dining room, you may want to select a navy blue for the living room. On the other hand, if a brighter color such as tropical green is chosen, then you may want to go with citrus orange for the adjacent space.
Don’t forget the ceilings. Consider painting them the color of the walls. The outcome may surprise you; your space will not feel smaller, it will feel softer.