Getting Your Paint Color Right

We have all heard or lived the following story: "Jane" falls in love with her friend's fabulous paint color on her friend's dining room walls. "Jane" proceeds to go to the paint store, buy 2 gallons of this color and bring it home with her. Armed in her new smock, new paint brush with matching roller and ready to wow her friends, "Jane" slaps on that first coat of paint in her own dining room. (Insert horror movie scream). Oh Jane, it just didn't occur to you that the fabulous paint color from your friend's house may not look the same in yours!  Don't worry Jane, we've all been there. You can't see them, but our readers are nodding their heads up and down in agreement.  Probably one of the hardest design decisions to make (and get right), choosing the right paint color can keep someone from ruining to renewing a room.   Kristie Barnett (designer, color expert and more) graciously offered to share with us  her insider secrets on this subject and show us how to get it right the first time, rather than ending up like Jane. BACKGROUND: Kristie Barnett (aka, The Decorologist) is a Color & Design Expert, Design Blogger, and Home Stager.  She is also a feature writer for The Tennessean and, and conducts design workshops in the Nashville area.  Kristie believes that home should be a safe haven and sanctuary and teaches her clients to define their personal style, gain confidence in their choices, and express themselves through the decoration of home.   The Decorologist's Insider Secrets to Getting Your Paint Color Right Have you ever been frustrated when you think you've found that "perfect" color, only to find that it's not so perfect in your particular space?  As a Color Consultant I find that most of my clients know what they like, but they have difficulty achieving the look they want without the proper foundation - the "right" paint colors. Let me share a few insider secrets that will help you find the colors that work in your own space.  First of all, those tiny paper sample strips only go so far.  You cannot rely on them solely to choose the perfect color. One reason is, of course, because they are TOO SMALL.  Keep in mind that the color will be lighter and brighter than it appears on the chip once it goes up all over the walls of a room.  Knowing this to be true, my advice is this:  Always go darker and more muted than you think you should. Have you ever chosen a few paint chip samples in the store that you think might be perfect, only to get them home and see that they are NOT?  That's because the way the color reads in the store is not at all how it will read in your home.  Color perception is affected by lighting conditions and the context of the colors and finishes surrounding the color when you are viewing it.  Unless your lighting and furnishings are exactly the same as the store you are looking at samples in, the color will read differently when you get it home.  My advice? [caption id="attachment_2393" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="The Decorologist Teaching a Color Workshop"][/caption] Purchase a branded paint fandeck (like Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, or Porter) so you can peruse many more options whenever you like in the room you are considering painting.  Owning your own fandeck is POWER, and it only costs about $20.  Now, don't just consider what your favorite color is - you need to consider what existing finishes and colors you have and what color will look best as a PLEASING BACKDROP for your belongings.  Your new paint color must relate to something in your room, or it will look randomly-selected, at best! [caption id="attachment_2396" align="aligncenter" width="426" caption="Wall Color NOT Related to Existing Finishes"][/caption] Particularly in kitchens and baths with lots of bossy fixed elements, make sure your new color ties into those in a pleasing way.  Even "neutrals" have undertones of color, so pay attention to what those are to help you make wiser decisions.  The best way to see if a given color is  going to work or not work is to:  Make up BIG samples and test them against your existing finishes.  The biggest mistake you can make is to paint a small area directly on your wall in the middle of the existing wall color.  Paint up a piece of poster board or something similar and place it on the wall against your trim, flooring, or cabinetry so that you can test the color in context with what it will continue to exist in that space (NOT in context with your existing wall color that is going away!). [caption id="attachment_2394" align="aligncenter" width="427" caption="Wall Color that DOES Relate to Existing Finishes"][/caption]   Are you ready to start painting?  If you'd like more advice and inspiration for making your house a home, follow my design blog and The Decorologist Facebook page.  If you need expert help creating a color palette that flows and works with your existing finishes and furnishings, contact The Decorologist for a Color Intervention!   Thank you Kristie! We are ready to paint!  For more information about contacting Kristie Barnett, please read below.

Kristie Barnett


(All pictures courtesy of Kristie Barnett "the Decorologist")

Nashville Interior Design Blog