When I give the participants in my colour training an in-class exercise, or homework (hey you get your money's worth with us) I notice that when they select colours to create a colour palette they take the undertone of whatever paint chip/s they have to work with and repeat it.
So if I show a blue green, and they need to select a coordinating colour like a red for example, they choose a blue red over a red with an orange undertone using the blue undertone in the red as a clue.
In my last workshop I figured out what was happening so I thought I'd share it with you as well!
Here's the difference between choosing a neutral over an actual colour for the walls in your interior or for your clients home:
Here we have grey-green drapes that relate to the grey wash on the dining chairs. So the obvious choice for the walls is. . . you guessed it, a grey-green. If you are choosing a neutral for a room, you look around at the existing neutrals to come up with the right one for the space.
With this bedroom, the choices are blue to pick up on the blue accents, or a pale ivory shade to relate to the headboard. There appears to be a green-grey or taupe coverlet and bedskirt here but they are not as visual as the cream and blue making the blue-grey an obvious choice.
So what about when choosing colour for the walls. What do you need then?
Well first, you need SOMETHING. You absolutely MUST have a starting point.
There isn't one room in my house where I actually selected a COLOUR that I didn't have the art, or the fabric/soft furnishings already chosen.
The family room at the time was a blank slate so it was painted greige.
HOT TIP: If you are moving into a new house and you have not bought furniture yet, chose a basic neutral throughout and then once you've chosen fabrics and accent colours, re-paint as necessary. It's way easier to chose a $50 gallon of paint to coordinate with your $3,000 sofa than the other way around.
To actually choose colour, you need:
1. A piece of art (above).
I'm guessing the art was first here. It's such a brilliant blue surround to commit to without a starting point.
2. Fabric (above).
There is no way this yellow wall colour was chosen without the yellow screen, chair and ottoman.
3. An area rug.
Way easier to start with a patterned rug if that's the look you want and select fabrics to coordinate than the other way around. There's nothing that frustrates the salesperson who wants to sell you a carpet more than five coordinating designer fabrics in patterns which make finding the right carpet a veritable needle in a haystack.
Another great example of a room clearly decorated around either the drapery fabric (above) or the chair fabric.
Once you have an inspiration point, now you can choose the wall colour. The rule of thumb for choosing colours therefore has little to do with which UNDERTONE the colour happens to be, it becomes more about not making the mistake of choosing the right combination of colours using the clean/dirty rule.
Here, (above) you can see that the grasscloth actually is a muted, dirty green beige in comparison to the kelly green drapery, however the same tones have been repeated in the dresser and the kelly green accents.
It's the exception to the rule and it once again shows that all greens go together (but you still need to know what you're doing so it looks pulled together).
So just to recap:
Don't have any more than two different neutral undertones in a room. Choose a lighter or darker version of the one of them to achieve a harmonious palette.
When choosing colours, keep comparing the colours you are combining to ensure you don't choose a colour that's too dirty or too clean.
We do lots of comparing in my Specify Colour with Confidence™ Training because as you will learn, a Certified True Colour Expert™ simply compares colour over and over so that his/her clients end up with the correct colour on the walls or on any surface for that matter. Choosing the right colour/s is about so much more than just wall colour.
Here are two comments from Toronto's colour training in April:
"I just wanted to extend my sincerest thanks to you for a wonderful and extremely informative workshop. It was such a pleasure to have finally met you and your delightful associate Irene. Your workshop was extremely well planned and you kept my interest for the entire 3 days, not to mention how much fun we all had. I've learned so much from you and will definitely use your system to further my career. Thank you so much!" Susan Silverman Designs
"Maria, thank you so much for helping me learn (and be able to explain) how to make fixed elements sing, instead of cry~ your course was one of the best investments I have made in my home staging and decorating business." Ginny Truyens, Feels Like Home 2 Me Home Staging & Decorating
Which do you find easier to choose? Colour or a neutral?
Do All Greens Go Together?
How I Became a True Expert
6 Ways to Choose the Perfect Neutral Paint Colour
If you would like your house to fill you with happiness when you walk in the door, become a client on-line or in-person.
To make sure the undertones in your home are right, get some large samples!
If you would like to learn how to choose colour with confidence, become a True Colour Expert. Fall dates now open for registration.