Everything You Need to Know About Color

Posted by on Mar 25, 2015 in Color |

Everything You Need To Know About Color, But Didn’t Know Who To Ask!
(These are general statements.  There are often exceptions to the rule.)

ALL colors come in various undertones.  You may think that “white is white,” or “black is black,” but that’s not the case.  Have you ever put on two different black garments, thinking they looked the same, but then left the house, and noticed that they were really different in the daylight?  (I wear a lot of black, and this drives me crazy!)  Perhaps one garment is “browner,” and one is “bluer.”  They’re both black, but not the same black.

Clearly, the quality of the light makes colors look different.  Ultimately, where Interior Design is concerned, it matters most whether the colors look right in the light in your particular room.  If you are selecting a paint color for your Living Room, it matters how it looks in your actual Living Room, NOT the Kitchen, or your neighbor’s Living Room, and certainly not the paint store!

The lighting in the paint store is almost guaranteed to not be the same as the lighting in your Living Room.  Many retail establishments use fluorescent light, or other types of commercial lighting, and much of residential lighting is incandescent or halogen.  AND, evaluate the color samples on the same plane they will be used on.  Do not lay the samples on the floor if you really want to know how the color will look on the walls.

The words that different people use to tell apart colors have a lot to do with their individual frame of reference, and general personal experience.  What I call “burgundy” you may call “wine.”  What I call “khaki” you may call “beige.”  And, the names the paint companies give their colors should not imply to you that they are the same color.  Many companies have a product they have named “Navajo White.”  If you look at the samples together, you’ll see they are not the same color!  (Contact me for paint samples, to see for yourself!)

The way paint colors are displayed on the sample chips in the stores can also influence one’s ability to see the true color.  Some very high quality paint lines display paint chips on long strips of paper, going from lightest to darkest, with bands of white between the samples.  The white bands are deceiving.  They change the way the color actually is read by your eyes.  And the sizes of the paint sample chips in the stores are much too small (in my opinion!) to make decisions with.

As a Designer, I have access to paint samples that are much more generous in size, through the individual paint manufacturers.  (Some samples are as large as 8” x 12”, and can be ordered in multiples.)  Any time I work with a client to select paint colors, I always order at least four (each) of these large samples in all of the colors we are considering.  This helps the client see what the colors look like in a sizeable area, on all of the walls in the room, and at all times of the day or night.  It also gives the client the opportunity to become comfortable with the new color before the investment of time and money is made to have the walls painted.  People who are accustomed to light colored walls find it especially helpful to see what a dark color will look like.