Though I’d love to take time to paint ALL the rooms before moving furniture in, I know that’s not realistic. But I CAN paint the office space. But which colors?????
I’ve got a palette of colors I plan to use for the whole house – light and medium aquas that have more blue than green undertones, pale and medium corals, a buttery yellow, all anchored with with a rich midnight blue. Colors will flow from one room to another so that an accent color in one room might be the main color in the room next to it.
I looked at paint colors from a variety of brands and liked the richness of tones I found in the Benjamin Moore line. While I know that colors can be matched between paint companies, my gut says the truest coloration, the one that catches the nuanced undertones that made me fall in love with the color in the first place, comes from the company that initially “created” the paint mix. While the Aura line is available locally via a high end decor store, the Ben and Regal Select lines of Benjamin Moore are available from my local Ace Hardware which is only two blocks from where I work! Regal Select it is!
The Preliminary Palette for the House
Before we get to “my” colors, I need to note that there is a lot of trim in the house that is already painted a soft color remarkably close to Benjamin Moore’s Canvas. Since I don’t want to take on changing the trim, I’m including its “paint chip” in my color collection as I need the other colors to work with it.
Here’s how Benjamin Moore describes Canvas: Surround yourself with a timeless, elegant, Classic Color that guarantees beautiful, usable color all the time, every time. I like that.
These are the colors I’ve been thinking about for the whole house plus Benjamin Moore’s descriptions of them:
Refining the Palette
Foodies talk about “refining the palate”, referring to “a person’s appreciation of taste and flavor, especially when sophisticated and discriminating.” – from Google Dictionary search. I’m a gal of simple culinary needs, so you’re more likely to find me “refining the palette” of colors I’m using for a project. (As a crafty blogger, there’s also pallets, but those are awfully hard to refine, though many have tried!)
Refining the color palette takes actually testing the colors in real life and in real light; no matter how good the lights are at the paint store, they aren’t the same as your house, with the light coming in your windows.
Paint samples don’t cost you money; they can SAVE you money by reducing the likelihood of your not liking a room after you (or a contractor) has painted the whole darn thing!
I invested in Benjamin Moore pint size samples in all my core colors. From my quilting background, I’ve learned that I love colors that work well together, but that don’t match perfectly. How this translates into paint is that I’m more likely to pull colors from adjacent color strips rather from within a single strip.
I’ve also learned that how a color looks in a small sample can be different than how it appears in a broader swash. So in addition to my core color samples, I bought some that were a slightly different tones than my original choices or that were darker or lighter. I wanted options before I dropped the big bucks on gallons of paint!
The first decision to make was if the Gentleman’s Gray color really was more gray or navy. I had a second option, Washington Blue from the BM Williamsburg collection, and though the paint chips didn’t show much difference, my eye saw just a touch more richness of tone which I hoped would play out once I had actual paint to sample. The nearly imperceptible difference you see (or don’t see) on the screen between the two is equivalent to what I saw with the chips.
Here’s where buying the sample pints paid off. Once the cans were opened side by side, the Gentleman’s Gray on the right was definitely more dulled down than the Washington Blue on the left. Having chatted with the paint mixing guys, this makes sense because the two colors used the exact same tones in their mixing formulas, but the Washington Blue used lots more of them, resulting in a more saturated color.
I discovered that using my iPhone editing capabilities really brought out the differences. The naked eye won’t see this dramatic of a difference, but my “inner eye” did. (PS. My toolkit is still at the rental, so that screw you see between the cans? It was used to pry open the lids – a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, right?)
The next test was to see how the two colors would look actually painted out. I used a chip brush and painted both colors on foam core board, along with several aquas that included the Tranquil Blue from the original palette and two additional blues that were deeper than it.
Why two deeper colors? First, I loved the depth of color above the wainscoting in the current dining room, especially as seen through the pass-through window from the living room:
The second reason for including deeper tones? I had just been reading my friend KariAnne Wood’s new book The DIY Home Planner and in her chapter on paint, she writes
“If you could only take one tip away from this section, please remember this piece of completely unsolicited advice when you are standing in front of that giant paint display. Find the color you want. And then?
Go one shade darker.” – KariAnne Woods
Well, if you are like me and adore KariAnne and her Thistlewood Farms blog and her gift for decorating and figure if she can always pick the perfect shade of red lipstick to go with her outfit, she must know color, then you go one shade darker.
And you know what? She was right. I liked both of the darker colors better than the originally planned Tranquil Blue. I ultimately picked the darker of the two, Blue Lake, as it allowed me to put mid-toned turquoise accents up against the wall and for the accents to not fade into the background, literally and figuratively.
Here’s my sample board in the room, with the tablecloths I plan to turn into drapes and the fun dragonfly fabric that will be the top part of the cushion on the currently cushionless office chair. The upper right color is the original choice of Tranquil Blue which while pretty, looks washed out in the space compared to Blue Lake in the upper left. Washington Blue is on the bottom left – you can see how it has a richness of color that Gentleman’s Gray on the bottom right doesn’t have.
You can see how the seat cushion fabric inspired the analogous color scheme for this room — that dragonfly is gorgeous and I hope the paint colors I’ve picked will be gorgeous too.
Come back in a few days for the next installment in my One Room Challenge Guest Participant journey. If you missed my earlier post about it, find it here.
Have a Color-Filled Day!