Tuesday, March 9, 2010

March Ezine: Paint your walls - Change your mood!

To paint or not to paint? That should never be a question!

I spoke recently with a soon-to-be-mother about how to decorate when they don’t know if its a boy or a girl. I discussed many gender-neutral options for the color of the room. We finally decided on green. Or so I thought.

A few days ago we spoke again and much to my dismay she said, “We decided not to paint. We don’t want to spend too much money since we’re just renting and won’t be here more than a year.” What?!? My head nearly exploded.

Painting is actually one of the most COST EFFECTIVE ways to change the look and mood of a room. And quite frankly, a year is a long time to be living with drab walls, especially in a nursery! Okay, okay, so if it sounds like I’m taking it too personally, you’re right I am. She’s not even a client of mine! I just know first-hand that color has the potential to make the single biggest impact on your space and therefore, your mood.

Take a look below at the "before" & "after" paint of one of my first apartments - HUGE difference! The place was cheap and old and it would have continued to look that way if I hadn't painted :)
Room before paint
Room after paint

You’ve probably heard before that red is the color of passion, green is healing, and blue is calming. These are some of the commonly held beliefs derived from the study of Color Psychology. However, there are no hard and fast rules about color – that’s the beauty of it – whatever makes you happy is the right choice.

So how do you choose? There are so many darn options out there and it can be difficult to get started. One way to start is with an online program that surveys what color schemes you probably will like based on your preferences. Pittsburgh Paints has come up with this ingenious Color Sense Game that will profile your color personality through a series of multiple-choice questions.
(Click here to go to their site to play the game.)
Paint Color Sense Game

Entire libraries of books have been written on color and color psychology so I won't get into all of that. But here are some color knowledge basics I always keep in mind when examining color options:

1) Warm vs. Cool

Red, orange, and yellow are warm colors and are generally thought to create intimate, cozy spaces. Blue, green and purple are cool colors and can create a serene, spacious look.
Color Wheel

2) Complimentary vs. Analogous

Complimentary colors are of “opposite hue” on a color wheel and create dramatic and intense pairings. Blue and orange are popular complimentary hues. Combining a primary and secondary color creates tertiary colors, which are analogous colors. They are “adjacent hues” on the color wheel and when paired create a softer, mellower effect. Yellow and green are popular analogous hues.
Color Wheel 2

3) Saturation Levels

Most paint swatches will have seven variations of the same hue ranging from darkest to lightest. As a general rule, the lightest version works great on the ceiling, while the darkest version is appropriate for accents and accessories. The wall color will come from one of the versions in the middle and typically lighter is better, because the color almost always ends up looking darker once painted on the wall.
Paint Swatches

4) Brightness

Many paint decks will have two sections: Neutrals and Brights and within each sections you will find purples, pinks, blues, greens, etc. but you’ll notice that the neutral version of purple is a lot less bright than well, the “bright” version of purple :) The neutral versions of colors appear more dull - not in the boring way, but in the way of having more gray mixed into the true hue and thus producing a mellow, subdued look. Brights are bold, vivacious and attention getting. Neutrals are quieter, subtle, and less obvious. You will need to decide what feeling you want to evoke in your space.
bright purple room
dark purple room

And just for fun, you can check out more about Color Psychology and what your favorite colors say about you here:

About.Com (Psychology of color)
Color-Wheel-Pro.Com (the meanings of color)
AssociatedContent.Com (what color says about you)

If you need a little more help and inspiration, you know where to find me and I'd love to help you bring a little color into your life!

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