How to Choose the Perfect Paint Colour in Approximately 115 Easy Steps

Do you have one of THOSE rooms?  One of those rooms that, because of location or openings or variety of need functions or lighting is almost impossible to decorate, at least in an effective way?  I have one.  I have one that I've been trying to find a paint color for, not to mention furniture plan for 3 1/2 years.  I do this for a living and have had input from other designer friends, and so far the perfect color has escaped me.  I'm hoping I've finally nailed it. 

Here, you can see a glimpse of my problem room through the door way to the right--where the stripes are.  The stair-room (as I call it) serves as a passage to the kitchen, as well as the stairwell to the second floor.  As such, 5 rooms open off of it, creating problems with color selection.  And, for various reasons, all of those rooms are a different color.  So that is part of the problem---trying to co-ordinate several colors---but honestly, that's not the major issue since, though I have a lot of colours in the house, I only like a narrow range of colors---what I think of as spice tones--Moroccan colors---teals, aquas, ochres, reds, earthy greens---all saturated, but muted.  The real problem is that the room has a strange light situation--it receives direct natural light from two windows in different locations, plus spill over light from the rooms upstairs---and for what ever reason, the light seems to drain the life out of color---I've tried several blue-greens that I've specified with great success for many different clients, and they all die in that hallway---turning a dead shark grey.  Anyway, I think I've finally found a winner, so join me on my journey to finally have a decent stair-room:

Here is the original color, Sherwin Williams True Penny.  I had used on a project and fell in love.  And I still think it's a beautiful color which worked beautifully with the surrounding colours.  But, in the end, it was just too much...too intense.

To cut the intensity, I striped the downstairs portion of the room, which I then used as a dining space.  I still love horizontal stripes even if they're very 2002 Trading Spaces, and it helped, but not enough.

Next, came aqua stripes, which I really liked, but I could never commit to that aqua going all the way up the staircase--it was just a little too intense, and after the orange, I was scared of intense color.  So for a long time, the room stayed like that:  aqua stripes on three walls, orange up the the stairs.
Then, I decided to change things---the space never really worked well as a dining area--too cramped with too little air flow, so I decided to move it to what was the office and put the office in there instead.  In the midst of this, I rediscovered my favorite Elle Decor cover of all time from 1999 or so and decided to let it help guide my decisions.
I found inspiration at the House of Turquoise and saw this beautiful paint color, Sherwin Williams Rainwashed:
In my office, though, it turned into a dead gray.  If you look, you can just make it out under the aqua stripe to the left of the window.
 I finally, in desperation, picked a color, but it has, from day one, been a disappointment:  flat, cold, chalky.  So much so, I never finished painting the entire office or stair-room and never posted a reveal.  In fact, if you look on the desk you can see two sample cans of paint, the result of my search for the perfect blue/green.  I had given up hope and abandoned the search.

Then last night, I was flipping through an old House Beautiful, and saw this:
The Grace Home room immediately spoke to me.  So far this morning, I have ignored pressing work to run to Benjamin Moore and have two samples of Dolphin's Cove mixed, one a 200% formula....i painted a large sample board, and I think I love it----it's bright, but not garish, has a vintage feel, intense enough to stand up to surrounding colours, but not too intense.  please wish me luck...i can't do this again.

1 comment:

Dian@ white painted furniture said...

At first, Best of Luck!

The way you are working hard, you will get your desired home.