There are three major steps to any decorating project, large or small: planning, preparation and painting. In this article, we will focus on the first step of the process.
Planning is a combination of personal taste, understanding what will work best within the available space and your comfort level with a project's degree of complexity. Since color plays a central part in the process, it is important to have a sound knowledge of this fascinating subject.
Color really is magic in a can! It can instantly change the shape of a room, raise or lower the temperature, turn it into a focal point or make a problem almost disappear. Choosing the right color scheme for a room, and your entire home, is very important, but it should not be an intimidating process.
To begin with, trust your judgment and your own preferences. Keep in mind the fixed colors in the room that won't change, such as carpeting and furniture. Of course, if you are planning a complete makeover, including new furniture, that will serve as the foundation of your redecorating project. What colors do you like, do you wear? All of these considerations should help you decide on the direction to go in your home. After all, your home is an extension of your personality, just as much as the clothes you wear!
color tips and tidbits
Color changes the physical appearance of a room. A seven foot ceiling will appear higher if painted a light color. Lower a ceiling by painting it a dark color.
Make a narrow room wider by painting the shorter wall a darker color.
Planning on painting all four walls in a bold color? Paint the trim a lighter shade that will give your eyes a place to rest.
Use color in hidden places - inside cabinets, closets, drawers and armoires. It can be a punchy element of surprise.
Bold colors look even stronger on a large expanse. Consider moving one shade lighter from your first choice. Small color chips from the store can look very different when actually applied. Be creative and don't be afraid to make a mistake.
Try adding molding at chair height or higher. Paint one shade above the molding, a contrasting one below. Tip: Keep the heavier color to the bottom.
Few people can remember an exact color beyond its basic shade. Carry a small photo album that contains a picture of your room as well as paint and fabric samples. Then, when you are out and come across the bargain of a lifetime, the swatches will help you make the perfect match.
If you are looking at a color chip, make sure to cover any surrounding colors. Your eye may blend them together, preventing you from truly seeing the color.
View the colors you are planning to use in the room where they will end up. Lighting conditions in a store are usually very different from our homes. When you take the paint chips home, view them under both natural light and artificial evening light to ensure that these are colors you can live with. Pay special attention to the effect of the light on your chosen colors during the times when the room is most often used.
Light colors make spaces seem larger and brighter, so they are ideal for small or poorly lit areas in your home.
Dark colors make spaces appear small and cozy, so they are better suited to large or well-lit areas. Used sparingly, dark colors also work well as accents.
Don't try to match paint exactly to fabric colors. It is usually more visually pleasing to go a shade or two lighter, darker or grayed.
Painting a room a new color is like changing your hairstyle. At first you may not like the new look, but in a few days you'll love the change and wonder why you waited so long!
the personality of color
Every color has a personality and influences our emotions. Choose color that will reflect the mood you want to create.
Red is great for dining rooms, stimulating appetites and increasing brain activity. It is also excellent for child development.
Orange is an extrovert with a contemporary outlook. It helps in attracting people.
Yellow is the brightest color, stimulating memory and giving the room a warm sunny outlook. If used properly, it lifts spirits.
Green is a color of nature, offering a sense of tranquility to a room. It is a dominant color that also lends a feeling of security.
Blue is the most popular color. It lowers blood pressure and inspires meditation.
White is delicate and refined. It looks good with every other color and tones down other colors.
Use neutral whites, blacks, grays and browns in a monochromatic color scheme, or with contrasting color in an accented neutral scheme. Neutrals suggest sophisticated ambience. Neutral gray is a creative color. Any neutral is easily tolerated in a large area. Complex neutrals suggest class and exclusivity.
If you're on a diet, paint your kitchen purple! It can help suppress your appetite. But, just like a diet, it's hard to live with over a long period of time.
Accented Neutral Color Scheme: The use of neutral colors (gray, beige, white) in your color scheme, punched with a dark accent color to add visual interest. (ie: a cream room accented with hunter green.)
Advancing Colors: Warm colors, such as red, yellow, and orange, make surfaces appear closer. Dark colors will have a similar effect.
Analogous: colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. The use of these colors creates a flow of colors that blend together to produce a subtle and interesting effect.
Complementary: Colors which lie directly opposite each other on the color wheel are as unlike one another as they can be. The two colors selected contrast with each other to make a bold statement (ie: red & green, blue & orange, etc.)
Cool Colors: Blue, green and violet as well as any color that includes blue.
Hue: A color.
Intensity: The strength of a color. For example, intensity is what differentiates canary yellow from pale yellow.
Monochromatic: Tones of the same color. The use of monochromatic colors makes a room seem larger. You can achieve interesting effects by using different values (ie: light, medium, and dark), and intensities (ie: solid and muted) of a color together. Muted colors are softer and more sophisticated, plus they hide marks and other imperfections better than solids.
Primary Colors Red, yellow, and blue- from which all other colors are derived.
Pure or Solid Colors:Clean and crisp, making for a cheerful look.
Receding Colors: Cool colors, including blue, green and violet. These colors make surfaces appear further away, or smaller.
Scrubbable: A wall surface that can be cleaned with a soft brush and mild detergent. Ideal for high traffic areas like bathrooms.
Shade: Any color that has black added to it.
Strie: A wall treatment that features random stripes that vary in color only slightly from the background.
Tint: Any color that has white added to it.
Tone: Intensity of a color. (ie: the degree of brightness or dullness.) When gray is added to a color, it will dull the intensity and make it a darker tone.
Triadic Color Scheme: The use of three colors that are equidistant on the color wheel. This color scheme is often used in children's rooms (ie: red/yellow/blue, or purple/green/orange.)
Trope I'oeil: French for 'fool the eye', this is a two-dimensional painting designed to look three-dimensional. (ie: a painting of a faux alcove to give the illusion of depth and architecture).
Value: The lightness or darkness of a given color.
Warm Colors: Red, yellow, orange, or any color that has yellow added to it.
Washable: A wall treatment that can be cleaned with a sponge and mild soap and water.