I am no decorator. I fuss over the tiniest decisions and second-guess any instinct I may have. I’m feeling my way through this whole decorating-a-house-thing, making mistakes, tweaking a ton, and probably ending up with an amateur-looking space in the end, but I figure that as long as it makes this house feel like OUR home, then it will be fine. That said, those of you who know me well probably feel I’m the LAST person to give advice about picking out colors for your home. To say I have trouble making a decision might be a bit of an understatement. I usually have paint chips taped up in a room for a good long while (okay, months), and I ask everyone who walks in the door what they think of the options. But this last round of paint selection taught me a thing or two, so I thought I’d pass along the tidbits, for what they’re worth.
- Buy the sample pots if you can invest in them! Our local Ace Hardware had Benjamin Moore samples on sale for a buck, so I grabbed several and was shocked at how different they looked once I painted them in our family room. The light in there can turn creamy whites pink, and taupes the color of mud. It was the weirdest thing.
- Think about the big picture. That is, if you stick with the same colors throughout your whole downstairs, but make the dominant color different in each room, there will be better flow. For instance, our downstairs so far is primarily blue, green and brown but I played up the blue with an accent wall in one room, and toned it down with just a few accents in the other. I don’t know if that’s what a designer would do, but it seems to make sense.
- Along those same lines, don’t be afraid to paint several spaces the same color. I just changed our family room so that it’s the same color as our foyer and it flows so much better now. It even makes the rooms feel bigger because they’re not chopped up with different colors. I was afraid I’d get sick of green in every room, but now I can see that if it’s a color I love, the accessories and accent colors will make the spaces feel surprisingly different from each other.
- When looking at paint chips, look at the bottom color on the card to see what “family” of colors you’re in. Some of the pale neutrals can look so similar on a chip or swatch, but one from the gray family will look much different than one from the brown family once it’s on the wall.
- Rooms look better if they’re not too matchy-matchy. I used to get stuck sometimes when picking out accessories because if the color of a vase, for instance, wasn’t the exact color of blue I have in my room already, I wouldn’t buy it. But now I know that different tones of the same color look better than perfectly matched things.
- Last but not least, you’ve gotta love it to live with it. My mom loved the former color of the family room and practically begged me not to change it. Others, too, said they liked it a lot. I thought it looked good, but the room bugged me every time I walked through it because it wasn’t ME. Now that it’s pale green, I feel like walking through that room is the equivalent of a breath of fresh air. I still have a long way to go with it (as you’ll see from the lack of artwork and finishing touches), but at least the color works for me now.
Ok, that’s all I’ve learned so far. Now here are some pictures of the room re-painted.
I wanted to show you the before and after of this space because of the color on the wall, of course, but also because I changed the accessories and it updated it a lot. Except, I’m not sure about the painting that’s propped there…any thoughts? It’s much more modern than my usual style and I couldn’t resist it because of the colors. Another Tuesday Morning find, by the way…
The view down the short hall to the foyer so you can see what I’m attempting to do with tying in the color. Have a shelf and mirror to put up out there once we finish painting.