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How to Pick a Interior Paint Color


Picking a paint color is the #1 question asked of interior designers.  This is one of the easiest items to change and the one which gives people the most trouble.

Okay I’m going to give it all away in the beginning…  the MOST IMPORTANT thing when it comes to picking a paint color is:

Paint color is the LAST thing to select for any room.

Unfortunately it is the first item one thinks of which leads them down the path to despair.  Sure it is great to have an idea or concept of the color for the room but starting with a paint color is literally painting oneself into a corner.  It is sooooo easy to find a paint color to match a fabric, rug or piece of artwork but it is much harder to find these objects to match the chosen paint color.

Start with Fabric

Prior to selecting a fabric (color key for the room) the client liked the bottom three Farrow & Ball colors.  Had we picked one of those, the color wouldn’t have worked with the fabric she fell in love with and we used on her favorite chair.

Start with a rug

This rug from Tufenkian offers great wall color options for a room.   The color palette is done, now comes the easy part of matching the Sherwin Williams paint color to the rug to get it right.  Imagine how the wrong green (sage) or blue (navy) or gold would just ruin any chance for harmony.

Start with artworkPhoto by Nikolas Koenig via  Architectural Digest

If you pick up the October 2011 edition of Architectural Digest the article on Donny Deutsch is a perfect primer for the right wall color. 

Mr. Deutsch has an exquisite contemporary art collection.  The walls in his home are white.  Yes, this might sound boring at first but what is more important the wall or the art?  In this case white is the perfect backdrop for his colorful artwork and allows the viewer to focus on the art.  Even in the above room for his daughters one might be Jones-ing to use a color on the wall but it would compete with the other pieces in the room and blow the happy atmosphere.

Whether it is a fabric, rug or piece of artwork the paint color for the wall has to come from something otherwise it looks random and the room will feel unsettled.  Is is amazing how easy it is to pick a paint color once you have a starting point.

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