"It’s important that we select our colors thoughtfully. Not fearfully, but with conscious intention to create a space that makes us feel how we want to feel."
Another rule that I hear often is that you should always paint your room last. Again - I don't necessarily think this is bad advice, except for the word "always". Yes, it can be a good idea to select your paint color after everything else. The biggest argument for this "rule" is that paint color choices are infinite, whereas sofas, rugs, and window treatments are only available in a limited color supply. By saving your wall paint selection for the end, you won't be limited by any particular color or colorway. However, this approach to a room's design can lead to color becoming an afterthought. Something that is selected just because it goes with everything else, as opposed to a hue that is consciously vetted for is distinct mood, characteristics and our personal relationship with it.
I actually think it can be a very smart design approach to paint your room first. Before any other major design decisions are made. Not always, but it can be. And here's why:
Five Arguments for Painting Your Room First
If you need help selecting the perfect colors for your space, call me or email me. I can help.
Paint colors in our homes can have the same effect. As humans, we are naturally drawn toward the sun, and colors that create that same warmth are just as enticing. When creating a color palette for the home, keep in mind that colors that have an overall warm feeling are going to, in general*, make us most cozy and comfortable. However, you don’t want the palette to be too warm, because too much warmth can be overstimulating. So don’t go crazy with tangerine orange ceilings and fire-engine red walls, or you’ll be running for the door. And that's not to say cooler wall colors won't work - I spec them all the time! It just means if you do opt for cooler paint hues, you're best introducing some warmth through other design elements to keep the space from getting too dreary.
I am constantly amazed at people's fear of color. I can't tell you how many times, while selecting paint colors for a client's home, I've heard "that's too bright" or "that's too dark" or "I like it, but I could never use it in my home." I ask them why they think it's too bright or too dark or too whatever, and they rarely elicit a response that makes any sense. "It just is," is the usual reply. As a designer, I want to rip my hair out!
Of course I understand that everyone has color likes and dislikes. We make associations through color. I was just in a seminar with a woman who hated the color "ochre" because it reminded her of the chalk used by a teacher she hated in elementary school. And I personally really dislike forest green. On my fifth birthday, I was forced into wearing a very uncomfortable forest green turtleneck. I’ve never really gotten over that experience.
Color likes and dislikes aside, people still seem to be afraid of using even the colors they love when painting their homes. There is this strange perception that "neutral" colors - meaning tan, beige and off white - are safe. That these colors create a "safe" environment. One where we can separate ourselves from the chaos of the outside world. One where emotions are under control. One where we can feel a sense of calm and not be distracted by something as brazen as color.
I recently paged through a copy of a popular home magazine and ran across this quote from a featured homeowner:
"I like color, but not bold color. Color evokes strong emotions, and I want my house to feel calm."
What is it that we are really afraid of? Why this need to feel "safe"?
Perhaps it is not the colors themselves, but the emotions within ourselves that create the most fear. Color is extremely psychologically powerful, and in using it we need to be comfortable enough with ourselves to accept whatever emotion it may evoke. Obviously, color can be used incorrectly and can create many unpleasant emotional responses. But, think about the most beautiful things you have ever seen. Most likely you will imagine something designed by nature.
A rich red rose.
A shimmering turquoise ocean.
All of these designs have one thing in common: color. Very seldom will your vision of beauty be something beige. Now think about the emotion you feel from those images. A feeling of amazement? A sense of peace? A burst of excitement? If we can translate those feelings into our homes, why not? A beige wall paint can be fine. It IS safe. It goes with almost everything. But it can also be dull and uninspiring. And to me, a color that is dull and uninspiring is anything but safe. I would rather take a leap and try something new because, really, my biggest fear is not color, or even the emotions they may evoke, but rather the idea of living in a world with no color...and no emotion.