Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Perfect Paint Palette

Due to popular demand, i have decided to make a quick tutorial on choosing the perfect paint colors for your home. I know there are a million and one colors to choose from and a variety of brands, but i tend to use one brand and i have a handful of colors that never fail me. So how did i come to find these perfect colors?
I spent 6 years renovating, designing and staging homes for re-sale with Pure Energy Real Estate. In those years, i had the pleasure of working with hundreds of clients in hundreds of homes - all ranging from gorgeous  Stately Colonials to historic Spanish Revivals to quaint Cottages and everything else in-between. It gave me a world of first hand experience in finding those perfect color combinations, whether you want to live with it or get ready for the real estate market. 
Colors may vary for different monitor settings. For best results, acquire physical paint swatches.
The base colors i start with are all in the neutral category. The brand i choose from is the Duron / Sherwin Williams "Color" Collection. I know they are both different companies, but Duron has actually merged with Sherwin Williams - meaning you can go to a Duron store or a Sherwin Williams store. You can even go to Home Depot or Lowe's and tell them you want these specific colors and they will match them in the computer to use in their own store brand paint. Just make sure you always go by the name if there is ever a conflict.

So why do i stick with one palette? Because they never fail me. No matter what house, what room, what light, they always look amazing. There are no peach undertones. There are no shocking differences from the swatch to the wall. They have been tried and tested hundreds of times for hundreds of clients and the reviews are always the same - "WOW!"

So let us begin. I will start with the best paint color ever made in the history of paint. 
From bedrooms to kitchens to basements, Samovar Silver is by far the most versatile blue color for home interiors. Not too blue and not too gray. I always tell my clients when going to the store for the Samovar Silver paint swatch, that they might think it looks too gray at first. When in this situation, take the swatch and hold it next to a true gray color and then next to a true blue color. What you will find, is that next to the gray, it looks blue. And next to the blue, it looks gray. That means it is PERFECT. The colors on this paint swatch are found in the Fundamentally Neutral Category of Duron/Sherwin. This particular paint swatch family of 4 colors go lighter and darker - all of which are breathtaking in any situation.

Softened Green is another neutral green with gray undertones. Just like the Samovar Silver Color Test, you can do the same by holding it up next to a true gray and next to a true green to see that it lies directly in the middle. This color comes on a swatch with a lighter and darker option, all of which are gorgeous in bedrooms, kitchens and family rooms. I would probably stay away from this color in bathrooms though, as green is never a good color for looking at yourself in the mirror. Another option for this color is Grassland SW6163, pictured in the last green family above. 
Rookwood Terra Cotta is found in the Exterior Preservation Palette. Do not be fooled though. Exterior colors  create beautiful accent walls inside and look especially elegant in bathrooms. Be careful using rich colors in bathrooms without good ventilation though. Most bathrooms should be painted using a semi-gloss finish as opposed to interior living spaces that should always be used with a flat finish. But when painting rich colors like RookWood Terra Cotta, using it in semi-gloss can present flaws in the walls. So when using in a bathroom, i go against the basic rule and use a flat finish, but only if there is good ventilation for the shower. Half baths, of course, can always have a flat finish.
Roycroft Vellum is also found in the Exterior Preservation palette. I always found the biggest challenge for finding the perfect cream color to be that so many had peach undertones. It is really tricky to see these undertones in a swatch, and all to often you won't notice it until it is on the wall and the sun shines in. This happened to me several times for many different cream varieties. Roycroft Vellum, however, never fails me.
Birdseye Maple is the go to color when going for a bright & warming effect. Yellows can be really tricky as the majority of them are in the bright energetic palette. Always go for a muted bright. I have had many situations where i thought i could get away with a soft bright yellow, but once on the wall, it was exaggerated and incredibly overwhelming. Birdseye Maple is muted enough to be bright and subtle all at once.It is great for foyers, sun rooms and even better in basement family rooms where warmth is so desperately needed.
Downing Sand - yet another color from the Exterior Preservation Palette. It is THE go to beige. Not too dark. Not too light. Never peach in any light. 

Macadamia is very similar to Downing Sand, just darker. The alternate of this color is Latte SW6108.
Downing Slate is a dark gray-toned blue. I love it because it reminds of that quintessential beach house color. Found in the Exterior Preservation Palette, it looks gorgeous on exterior siding as it compliments stone and brick. Inside, it brings elegance and richness, especially in stairwells and sun rooms. 
The Chocolate Bath. When i first tried this, i admit, i was a little scared. I am asked quite often, "Isn't a dark color in a small space a bad idea?"  My answer is always the same. "Absolutely not! Do not be afraid of dark colors!" They bring an elegance to a room that is completely unexpected. Sable is a great chocolate color with nothing but brown undertones. It also works wonderfully as an accent wall in a large room. 
Last but not least, do not forget about Taupe! Hopsack is a wonderful taupe shade that i use frequently for foyers, bedroom accent colors, bathrooms and living spaces. 
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Not sure what colors go together? Here is a simple tutorial chock full of photos to guide you in the right direction for putting your colors together. From accent walls to decor, these colors always compliment each other and turn a room into a masterpiece.
Samovar Silver SW6233 - White - Stolen Kiss SW7586 {Duron's Concepts in Color Collection}
When working with Samovar Silver, there are a plethora of matching options. Bringing red into the room through accessories brings in a playful feel.

Softened Green SW6177 - Beige & Chocolate
Hopsack SW6109 or Macadamia SW6142 - White & Black
Downing Slate SW2819 - Downing Sand SW2822 - Chocolate
Samovar Silver can be substituted for Downing Slate. In general, the blue/beige/chocolate combination is always a winner - whether through paint colors or accessories and flooring. It is modern and natural all at the same time.
Softened Green SW6177 - Taupe & Black
This one i call Earth Mosaics. It consists of Rookwood Terra Cotta SW2803 - Birdseye Maple SW2834 - Samovar Silver SW 6233 and any beige and cream color. I discovered it when designing a bathroom with this beautiful mosaic tile {pictured above}, which is a great starting point for choosing paint colors. 
Paint and accessories for the Earth Mosaic collection. Rookwood Terra Cotta is on the stairwell wall. Roycroft Vellum on the living room walls. Accessories throughout.
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All in all, you can take any of my color choices and put them together in any situation. 
But before you run to the paint store , follow these simple paint rules:
Walls - Flat finish {Flat shows the least flaws}
Ceilings - Flat Ceiling White{brings height to any room}
Trim - Semi-gloss bright white unless it is a natural wood {white trim brings punch to architecture}
Natural wood trim should be in really good shape, {otherwise, paint it white, or re-stain}
Full Baths - Semi-gloss {unless doing a dark color, use flat but only with good ventilation}
Powder Rooms - Flat
Kitchens - Eggshell/Satin
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I hope you have enjoyed my paint color tutorial! If you have any questions, feel free to ask. For more information on selling your home, visit www.pureenergyteam.com - the most creative real estate company in the MD/DC/VA metropolitan areas. They offer complimentary home staging and full project management with a complete in-house design team. 

All photos copyright Pure Energy Real Estate 2011.

11 comments :

  1. Superb tutorial. I recommend it. Would have helped us a lot in our renovation in Florida. Simplifies the process that can be quite daunting.

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  2. Wonderful tutorial--thanks so much. I was just wondering if that is Softened Green in the 2nd picture under your heading of Hopsack (the green in the dining room above the chair rail). If not softened green, do you know what green it is?
    Thanks!

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  3. Hi Tlneb! It IS softened Green! :)

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  4. Beautiful just tried to send you an email to gmail but it was returned. How can you be contacted?

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  5. Hi, im not sure why it was returned, since i got the notification to the same email that you left a comment. Raniapeet@gmail.com
    Cheers!

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  6. So I'm looking for a pretty green in my bedroom and tried the Softened Green after reading your post. But when I painted a sample on the wall, it just looks gray and ugly. Should I keep painting the whole wall to see the green come through, or is there a chance I need the lighter shade-liveable green? Or give up on that color for that room? Any advice based on your experience? Thank you so much!

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  7. I would hold up the swatch with the paint on the wall to make sure it is the same. If it is different, then the place that mixed might have gotten it wrong. The pictures you see in my blog are using Softened green. So that's how it should be coming out. The paint place should have put a dab of it on the paint can so you see the actual mixed color. Did you go by the name when you mixed it? Where did you get it mixed? There really isn't much of a difference between softened and Liveable. If you got the right color and they mixed it correctly, make sure you judge the color dry and not wet. It looks completely different wet. Also, you will see more of the COLOR as the whole wall is done. Other than that, i don't know what to say because i have used the color for years, and those pics above are how it should be looking.

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  8. I had it mixed at Sherwin Williams--and had it mixed by its name. I tried it on the bathroom wall, and it looks pretty in there(though definitely darker than your pictures--probably just a difference in the way my computer monitor shows the color). But unfortunately not so much in the bedroom. Maybe I need to do a whole wall, though. Thanks so much for the advice.

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  9. you just saved me a lot of stress, this is extremely helpful and you have fantastic taste! thank you!

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  10. I went to Sherwin Williams to look for Birdseye Maple, and all the paint colors were numbered starting at 6000. Is everything new? How do I choose a yellow that I can trust!?

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  11. Thank you Thank you for compiling these lovely colors! It is wonderful to see colors in real rooms instead of just on a little card. In the photo of the room with taupe walls and a green dining area, what is that off-white/beige color to the right? The combination of all three is so pretty :-)

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