Color Me Happy

(Clockwise, from left):
Gentleman’s Gray 2062-20, Titanium OC-49, Sea Life 2118-40, Healing Aloe 1562

As a designer, when I walk into a client’s home I have an almost immediate sense of what I want the rooms to look like.  No, I don’t have some supernatural skill set, I’m just paying very close attention to the many clues a house can provide.

For example, if I’m being hired to design a kitchen, chances are I’ve passed the entry, living room, and dining room on the way there.  In this brief passage from room to room, I’ve soaked up a sense of my new client’s personal taste, the home’s architecture, and sources of natural light.  By the time I get to the space I’m being hired to design, I can feel whether it wants to be light and bright, mellow and natural, or dark and moody.  Don’t get me wrong–it can still take a lot of work to choose the exact hue for a room, but finding the direction is pretty straight-forward.

When choosing a new paint color in your own home, I encourage you to follow my approach.  It may not come as naturally to you, but I’ve broken it down into some easy steps to help you arrive at your perfect palette.

  1. Take a stroll through the rooms adjoining the one you’re about to paint.  What colors are they?  How do those colors make you feel?  Do you like the colors in these rooms?
  2. When you get to your destination (the room you’re painting), notice how the existing color makes you feel.  For example, does it feel bright and happy, or bright and antiseptic?  Dark and cozy, or dark like a pit of despair?  See where I’m going with this?
  3. As you walk around, take a look at your personal belongings.  Are you all about those Wegner chairs and macrame wall-hangings? Do you have tons of colorful textiles from your many world travels? Do friends regularly comment on how “pretty” your things are?

By now you should have a sense of your own taste, whether it leans towards the bright and modern, the warm and bohemian, or the refined and elegant.  With this in mind, go back to the room you want to paint–do you want to feel invigorated in this room? Go for a brighter shade of white or gray.  Do you want to feel cozy and enveloped? A rich, dark shade is for you.  Do you want to feel relaxed and serene? Go for a pretty neutral.

Here are my top picks of new paint colors
(all Benjamin Moore):

Bright New Paint Colors

White Dove OC-17, White Whisp OC-54, Titanium OC-49

Dark New Paint Colors

Gentleman’s Gray 2062-20, Sea Life 2118-40, Weimeraner AF-155

Neutral New Paint Colors

Collingwood OC-28, Healing Aloe 1562, Pale Oak OC-20

Still need help choosing a shade?  Visit my Pinterest pages by color for some Pinspiration!

Pink, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, Black

Do you have a favorite room?  What color is it? Let us know in the comments!




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A collection of my current design obsessions, Shop Chic Home is the place to get professional design advice, inspiration, and the know-how you need to take your home from bleak to chic. Let's go shopping! -Bethany Adams, NCIDQ Founder and Creative Director... read more

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