Are you Waiting for your Paint Colour to Propose?

Before the gray trend hit the streets, anytime I would hold up a basic linen shade (like BM Muslin or Manchester Tan) clients would say “ooooooooooooh that’s too gray”, or they would just raise their eyebrow and say “That’s the most boring colour ever!” So then I would either pull out a cooler gray to demonstrate that these colours were indeed more beige than anything in the realm of gray or I would say ‘Here you just need to trust me, it’s blah until you get it all over the walls.’

Now, we can’t get enough gray, and those linen shades which used to be so great are not gray enough.  Now we want cooler grays like OC-15 Baby Fawn or even bluer, like HC-173 Stonington Gray. But here’s the catch; it’s possible to fall in love with Tiffany blue turquoise or Fernwood Green even if you don’t have the sofa or duvet yet but if you are just looking at one putty shade over another and expecting it to jump out and say ‘Hey I’m over here, can’t you see how fabulous I am?’ in my experience, it probably won’t.

If your space does not have the look and feel that you want and this even remotely BOTHERS you?  It bothers you not just once in a while, but EVERY SINGLE DAY. Like when I moved into my current space.  The old furniture from my previous house looked so bad I could not stand to spend a second in my living room for the first 3 months I lived here until the new stuff arrived.

flickr via Nick Harris, photographer

So now here we are, in an empty room or—even worse and more terrifying—an empty house. And the painter is hovering, your husband or wife or significant other is waiting and you are paralyzed.  You compare one gray shade over another and wait. . . for what you ask?

For the colour to jump out and say “I’m the one, will you marry me?” or “Pick me, pick me, it’s me it’s me” and the reason why this does not help you is because it doesn’t relate to a single thing in the room. Especially when you are starting from nothing and do not have a stitch of furniture in your space.

Without this bedding, there’s no way you would have agreed to this yellow (source)

When I first started out, this would happen a lot in master bedrooms and back then I would wonder what was wrong with me, that I could not pick the ‘right’ colour when we got to the bedroom.  Clients would lead me in and say “This duvet is toast” or “Pay no attention to this bedding, we change it all the time”. And then they would look at me, expectantly, waiting for the magic to come out of my little colour bag of tricks.  Mostly, that colour never came because, it’s very hard to get excited about a colour when its not married, related or has not ever even met the furniture or bedding or art that still remains in the store. . . waiting for it’s mate.

So before you embark on your thorough and mind bending journey of all the gray shades in each paint company’s repertoire to discover ‘the one’ that you will never find without fabric or art or something, either give in and paint your walls some neutral gray shade that will tie in with all the linen and white and bright colours that you are craving or go shopping. I did not paint a single room in my house without knowing which fabrics I was installing in each room first.

And a designer or colourist can help you pull together a palette if you don’t know where to start with furniture shopping, then you can tweak your colours as you find items for each space. The more purchases you have made in advance though, the more interesting your colour choices can be and that’s when your paint colour will truly make you happy.

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact me.

Related posts:

Ugly Costs the Same as Pretty
What Everyone should Know About Gray
What would you Do? Advice for Designers/Consultants
Canned Colour Combinations; Why they Don’t Work
The 3 Most Important Words in a Consultation

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  1. Wow, such a simple concept and yet it has never occurred to me.

    I absolutely adore the colour we painted our master bedroom, which was selected to tie in with the wall paper in the room yet we have been staring at paint swatches in our lounge for months waiting for divine inspiration. Thanks so much – I'm off to find my own inspiration.

  2. I couldn't agree more with this post, and am glad I'm not the only one out there encountering this problem.

    I've not only experienced the client's disappointment when informing them that we need -something- to key off for color selection, but a few have gotten outright indignant, almost angry!

    I don't know if it's laziness, that they don't want to think ahead, or they're just in a hurry, or what.

    For me, what's even worse than trying to spec color for an empty room, is one that's full of clashing objects that will not stay. The customer says "don't pay any attention to XYZ, that's all going."

    For the love of heaven, people: do yourself a favor. If there are textiles or pieces in a room that are going to be replaced, get them out of there. Otherwise they will distract and confuse you, making it almost impossible to select a wall color.

    • That is such a good question. It should actually be called the ‘colour trend’ not the ‘grey trend’ grey is just the backdrop to happy colours which is what this trend is about. If you see a room with too much grey, that’s the grey trend gone wrong usually.