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How to Choose Paint Color on ELLEDECOR.com.

This is a great article about picking paint colors.  As designers, we know how difficult an undertaking this can be, especially up here in the Northwest.  This is because of the overcast weather and the color of light that is cast off of the evergreen trees – it ends up being very blue/green light which changes every color, most of the time not for the better.  What works in California, the Midwest, and even the Northeast does not work here at all.  Trust us – we know from experience!  We are happy to share our process in picking paint colors with you.

During the snow days this week, Patti and I painted the shop.  We wanted a white that was warm, but not yellow, clean and crisp, but not sterile.  Sounds easy enough, right?  But remember, we are in the land of gray skies.  Monday found us at Bellevue Paint to check out Benjamin Moore’s selection – other than Farrow and Ball, Benjamin Moore is our go-to for paint.  There is a color for everything and typically, we can always find one that will work.  The biggest trick we can share is to paint a large enough swatch so that you can really get a feel for what the entire wall will look like when painted that color.  This is especially important when making a drastic color change.  You may find that a dark color is just too dark for you to handle, or alternatively a bright color is too blinding.  All paint colors change depending on wall location, as well, so we recommend painting large swatches on a few different walls in each room you intend to paint.  What may look great on a south facing wall, might look terrible on an east facing wall.  Swatches, swatches, swatches – we can’t stress this enough!  You are already going to paint, so sometimes this commitment to swatches all over the walls, will help you pick a paint color faster and get moving on the painting.

So, the colors we decided to try were:

We painted large four foot square swatches next to the woodwork on two walls with two coats of paint.  While we would love to change the woodwork color, unfortunately that is an undertaking we aren’t ready to commit to, so it was really important that the new color work with the existing.  It was obvious to both of us when we walked in on Tuesday which color we liked best…Mountain Peak White!

The reason we picked Mountain Peak White was because it’s very clean and crisp, but not cold.  Seapearl was great, but didn’t work with our woodwork color – it’s very Swedish interiors-esque, and was really nice in our light.  Marscapone was too bright with our overhead lighting that we have to have so you can see our merchandise.  While it just wasn’t right for the application, I’m really looking forward to finding a room to use Pale Oak in because it is just the most perfect soft shade of grey white with a tiny hint of lavender.  I think it would make a wonderful bedroom color (the website image of it does NOT do it justice at all).  And then there was Pointing – it has some pink in it and that was really magnified on our walls.  I absolutely love that color though and would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone.  We chose this color for a few rooms in one of the houses we work on.  It really is gorgeous in our natural lighting.  Almost all Farrow & Ball paints work up here since it is a British company.  We have such a similar climate to England, so they are a great resource for colors that work under grey skies.

You will have to come in and see how to shop looks with a fresh coat of white paint.  We are loving it!  And to those of you who are intimidated by choosing paint colors, I really liked the end quote in the Elle Decor article:

In the end, trust your eyes, says Minchew. ‘Judging color isn’t something you need to be highly trained for. Just look at the swatch or sample on the wall throughout the day and evening. If it’s working for you, then that’s all there is to it. If you see it and you like it, you should be fine.’

Please feel free to ask us questions in the comments section, or email us at info@thearbourbellevue.com.  And of course there is Twitter and Facebook!  Also, if you are ever in a total pickle, don’t forget we offer design services and would be happy to consult on paint colors for your home.