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Paint 101

Aside from the architecture, the feeling of a home comes from the color of each room and the flow of the spaces between them.  I learned at a very young age the importance of color from my mother. She is an artist, and I remember learning about the paint wheel, mixing colors, testing it all up on the wall and getting the shade precisely right. I understood what a very blue red meant, and adding purple to yellow would tone it down. My early influences of color were the building blocks for my interest in interior design. Not only is the color very important, but so is the finish.

A few tips when selecting the finish…The finish of a paint refers to how much light it reflects. High gloss is quite reflective while a flat or matte paint shows none. Paints with a high sheen are easier to clean. For interior walls eggshell and satin paints work best. Flat paint covers imperfections in the wall but are not as easily cleaned. The best way to get around this is a scrubbable flat paint which a few companies now make.

Choose colors that you love and make you feel good.  Color evokes the mood that you want to set. These rooms are set by their wall color. Pale tones create a sense of calm (images from the book Metropolitan Home American Style by Dylan Landis) Always remember that the room will be slightly darker than the paint swatch that you chose. 

A simple can of paint is quite a powerful design element. I do appreciate white and the balance that is brings, but without color sometimes I am left wanting more.

Albert Hadley does a stunning job of solving this problem with one punch of color. The Hepplewhite chair covered in a yellow fabric makes such a statement and adds so much to a black and white room. (Photo taken from the book Influential Interiors by Suzanne Trocme). 

The monochromatic look is a way to take a traditional room and update it. While this is a lot of green, it shows how a single color scheme can completely transform a room. Without accenting the crown molding or the molding on the walls, the eye sees the wall as solid canvas with the only defined architectural element being the fireplace. By accenting the room with a few white pieces of furniture the room is instantly updated and some balance is given. 

It amazes me the range in which color can go. This otherwise monochromatic wall is totally defined by the colors. While not for everyone, it again shows that color can change everything.

When selecting a brand you can’t go wrong with Benjamin Moore. Their line of historical colors is also complete and very good. Other reliable paint companies are Sherwin Williams, Pratt & Lambert, Ralph Lauren and a line I love- Farrow & Ball. Many of the darker Farrow & Ball colors resemble the Benjamin Moore Historic Colors. 

Farrow & Ball 

Drawing Room Blue- makes me want to do a blue and white room.

I have not yet used the color Pelt (not quite trendy chocolate brown). But wouldn’t it be beautiful in a high gloss dining room or library with white moldings and trim?

Eco-friendly paints are becoming quite popular. Benjamin Moore makes an impressive line called Aura. This line of paint has a patented system called Color Lock which has primer worked into it. It never requires more than two coats and exceeds all performance measurements for paint. It also meets the country’s strictest VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) regulatory requirements and it does not compromise on quality. Another line that I like as well isC2 Paint . They make 18″x24″ paint chips which are very convenient and available in every color.

A few weeks ago our local paper had an article on the cover  of the living section for how to make big changes in your home with paint. The article suggested painting an accent wall with horizontal stripes. I was very close to writing in…..I would only suggest doing this if you are Nathan Thomas and about to win Top Design on Bravo.

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