As many of you already know I have been doing interior design work for a while now, after retiring from a long career in the antiques industry. However, while I should have been blogging all along, I sadly must admit, I have not done so.
The good news is that I am starting now. I feel I have a lot to say on the subject of design and would like to share it. So, when I pondered what my first blog should be about, I thought about basics. And in design there is nothing more basic than paint! “‘Paint?’” you say. How boring.” Think of the expression, “watching paint dry.” What could be more ho-hum than that? Ah, but that’s where you’re wrong. A designer’s best tool is paint! And it can be yours, too. Paint sets a mood. It can make a room dark and mysterious or bright and sunny, fun or dramatic. It can be the unifying factor in a space or the whole house. With paint, the sky’s the limit.
Now the question becomes, “How do you use paint to get the effect you are looking for?” I often get clients who have just bought a new house or are doing a remodel and want my help in choosing paint colors. Contractors and homeowners always want to rush in to do that first. It makes sense to them as the rooms are empty, the floors are covered and it is an ideal time to put paint on walls and ceilings. Afterall, let’s face it, painting is a messy job. However, from a design perspective, paint is the last thing to consider when designing a room and here’s why:
A plan needs to be in place first, otherwise you are proceeding in a haphazard manner. You can’t choose a color willy-nilly to put on the walls until you actually know what you are going to do. For example, let’s say we are working on a family room. Do you already have a sofa or sectional for that room? If yes, we have a color to work with. Do you want some kind of window treatments or pillows? If so, let’s pick fabrics. You see where I’m going with this? We require a jumping off point to determine a color scheme. If you prefer not to use fabrics, is there a painting you love? We can build the room around that. Sometimes I will even ask to see your wardrobe to get an idea of what you like. Then we can pull one of the colors out of those fabrics, painting, dress, etc. to determine what paint color to use. This then it becomes a coherent design and everything coordinates as it should.
Also, when trying to determine colors, it is very important to get paint samples. I always suggest choosing about five different ones. They only cost about five dollars each and it is money well spent. You can paint directly onto the wall or get sample boards that can be moved around the room or house. It’s funny with paint colors because depending on the time of day or the way light and shadow hits, it can look completely different. That’s why I always recommend living with your samples for several days before making a final decision.