'Must Have' Tools for Colour Consulting

In my True Colour Expert WorkshopsI always ask "Who here thinks I have some kind of magical ability to see colour?" Everyone always looks at me like they're thinking 'Really? Is she that arrogant?' Two or three might raise their hand.


But here's the thing…

The single most important magical tool kit that I have, which has trained my eye over the past 10 years is my collection of 11" x 14" large painted colour samples.  When I don't have my large samples with me, I'm basically visually impaired in terms of specifying colour accurately. And without them, so are you.


Remember that post I wrote on The 80/20 Rule also Applies to the most Popular Paint Colours? Well if you are a designer/decorator/stager/do-it-yourself homeowner or painter and you have at your fingertips  the most often used paint samples (ie neutrals) painted up in large samples it becomes really obvious to YOU as well as your CLIENT, which colour is correct.

And to be clear, colours (red, yellow, blue, greens, etc) have undertones just like 'neutrals' but it's in the realm of complex neutrals where most colour mistakes are made. All you have to do is look in any magazine and if you have a trained eye, you can see it over and over again. That's why you need my hand-picked set of neutrals and whites to get it right.

Bottom line, if your client can't see that the colour you are showing him/her is right, then neither can you.

Next time you are in a living room and you want to see if the colour you have just chosen is pulling the room together, you prop up your sample (or 2 or 3) either on the mantle or behind the sofa and stand back. Easy.


Green beige marble and walls

Or you are in a bathroom or kitchen (where the undertones of tiles and granite are the most confusing) and you just go through your large samples until you find the one that works. Simple.

This set includes 40 neutrals and 10 whites for $297 including delivery (in the US or Canada), there's also another set of VIP samples with additional greige colours and blues and greens in addition to a set of 25 SW samples in greys and whites.

1) The best beiges in pink, yellow and green undertones.
2) The best grays, green, blue and purple undertones.
3) The 10 best whites.

Here is what they look like:

There have been so many times when I have found the colour in my Benjamin Moore (below) architectural fan deck–which is a larger approx. 2" x 6" sample– that I was SURE was the right colour, and then when I pulled out the large sample and held it up, it was totally wrong.

When I had this conversation with one of the Benjamin Moore store owners locally he said 'that's because the architectural sample is printed and your samples are real paint'. That's the first reason why it's more accurate but of course the second reason is that now it's actually large enough to see in context with all the other colours and complex neutrals in the room.

How could anyone possibly make a decision on a paint colour which takes up the largest amount of space in a room, with a tiny, baby colour chip?


Years ago I was at a consultation and the couple showed me a brochure with stain samples that were 1" x 1" and asked which one they should choose to re-stain their hardwood floors.  I looked at them like a deer in headlights and said "I'll get back to you". The minute I left the consult I called a design mentor of mine and said "OMG what should I have told them, I should know that right?", and she said "There's no way you can know unless you get some larger samples tested on the sanded floor right before you are ready to go. Every type of wood takes stain differently and testing is always required (below).

Photo by Maria Killam

When she said that I immediately thought 'Duh, I am the same person who just finished specifying that house full of colours with my LARGE samples. Why would stain samples be any different?

Most designers think they should have a magical ability to predict what a tiny 2" x 2" paint chip will look like and make a decision.  Well I have news for you, it's almost impossible to be accurate trying to do it that way.

Green beige Walls with Gold Beige Sofa (Restoration Hardware)

Here are what my True Colour Experts are saying about the large samples:

"First and foremost, the selection of Benjamin Moore neutrals is beautiful and the presentation first class. I can't imagine a more comprehensive range of shades.  The boards also look pretty and feel good. They are fun to place around the room (behind art, against the cabinets). My clients are impressed that I have such a great decorating tool in my possession!" As a decorator, the samples provide a wonderful source of inspiration for painting a neutral canvas. I have actually picked up 2 jobs because of them!" Pam H.

"The large samples are simply essential to selecting the perfect colour. Because undertones are so important and can appear to change, you cannot know the nuances of colour without seeing it in a larger format. Before using them, I had clients go back and forth trying to find something they liked, or trying to see the undertone I was pointing out. With the large samples they are able to immediately say 'yes or no", thus making my job so much easier and giving my clients exactly what they want! "Jil McDonald, Reflections Interior Design

"The large paint samples are simply wonderful tools. Each time I have used them my clients have a much easier time selecting a colour palette and seem to have a much easier time "seeing" what I am telling them. I love these samples and plan to expand on the collection" Brenda Swanky

You will also receive the list of colours categorized by undertone so the next time you go shopping for tile, you will never again end up with a pinky beige tile or carpet, because you'll be clear which one is pink.  And green.  And yellow.  And gray.

The reason you will only need a limited number of colours is because you are getting my curated colour system of Understanding Undertones which identifies the 9 major neutral undertones. This collection features the most useful colours for each undertone category, so you're covered. What this means is if you are trying to coordinate a neutral with tiles or stone or fabrics, 95% of the time, you'll find it here.

So if you want to look and feel confident when specifying colour for your clients and/or for yourself, I have a limited number of sets of 50 samples that I'm selling for $297 (including delivery) anywhere in Canada or the US (Tax applicable for Canadian Residents).

They are all Benjamin Moore colours. That works out to $6.00 each.  Last time I checked, buying a paint sample cost at least $6.99 – $10.00 never mind the time and cost of poster boards, rollers etc. to make up your own. It took me 2 hours to paint 8 sample on my own a few months ago.

Click here to buy your own set.

And you will have the most critical and important tool in your design or do-it-yourself world.

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