My Paint Color Consultant's Top Tips

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Some people have a knack for picking paint colors, and some of us don’t – I‘m  a don’t. But I am lucky enough to know a wonderful decorative painter & color consultant, JULIE LAWRENCE, who shared great tips with me, and I am passing them along. You’re welcome!

  • CONSIDER SIGHT LINES when choosing paint colors. Colors should relate or flow from room to room. (You shouldn’t need a passport to move from the foyer to the dining room to the living room!)
  • BUY THE BEST PAINT YOU CAN AFFORD – yes, there is a difference! Better paint means higher quality pigments and depth. Rather than have a paint color ‘matched’ in a different brand, consider finding a color you like from the brand you want to use. Smaller rooms, like bathrooms, entryways, nursery and home offices are are a great rooms to splurge on paint. Look at the palette of Farrow & Ball for deep, rich color. Some rooms only need a quart. Go for it!
  • DON’T EVEN consider using ‘ceiling white’ on your ceiling. Ceilings are a large presence in any room and the gray cast of ‘ceiling white’ can make any ceiling appear to hover. Pale, warm gray or a pale gray/blue can raise a low ceiling. If you want to keep it white use a warmer white color – if you have an off white trim use that as your ceiling color.
  • Aim to SIMPLIFY YOUR PALETTE . . . don’t be afraid to paint ceilings, trim or walls in the same color. This is especially true in awkward shaped rooms, and rooms with unexpected angles. 
  • Consider painting interior doors a darker color, like black, navy or charcoal. This can create a RHYTHM through the space and HIGHLIGHT your architecture.
  • If you have a SMALL ROOM with low light, white WILL NOT make it look bigger or brighter. (Sad and dreary perhaps, but NOT bright.) Look at a small room is an opportunity to have fun with color. 
  • It is easy to wimp out at the last minute and choose the lighter version of a color you like on the paint card – and then regret it later. Try the darker shade -  GO FOR IT! IT IS ONLY PAINT!  
  • TRUST YOUR OWN TASTE! Certain colors make you feel at home. Go to your closet and think about what colors make you feel good, and consider making this your ‘palette.’ The colors in your home don’t have to match the colors you see in other homes. Use color to express yourself. 
  • PAINT SEVERAL SAMPLES (at least 2’ by 2’) on your wall. Put one sample in a shadowy area, and please put on at least 2 coats! Better yet, paint several coats on foam core boards – a great use for those old science fair projects – and move them around the room and move them at different times of day. What looks like a rich latte in the morning light can look purple at night. 
Katie Hauser