Saturday, January 21, 2012

Doctor Décor Tends to a Color Emergency

Dr. Decor (Me) Prescribes the Right Hue

Last Wednesday, it was my pleasure to speak to the Southside Newcomers’ Group in Jacksonville, Florida at the Marsh Landing Country Club.  When called to do this speaking engagement, I thought about a topic that would be appealing to the ladies.  It was color.  With all of our colorful seasonal decorating accessories away, January can be a bleak month.  I wanted to talk about something that would give their “anemic” looking rooms   some life!  What could I do to make it entertaining  and educational?  I decided to dress as a doctor and call myself "Doctor Décor".  Humor is always a great way to captivate an audience.  However, I looked so authentic that one of the ladies thought I really was a doctor. Too funny!

Dr. Decor Shares Her Color Remedies

My presentation covered the basics about how to select the correct paint color for your home.  I jokingly gave them the House Beautiful Color Personality Test to elicit if that was a safe way to pick colors.  We all agreed that you need to start with a leading pattern to determine your wall color. Your leading pattern can be your rug, a piece of artwork, or  a piece of fabric from your upholstery or window treatments.   We also discussed how lighting; room direction; and undertones in furniture, countertops and cabinets can affect paint color.  Did you know that the new fluorescent lighting  no longer casts a blue light on things but  is still a cooler light?  With incandescent lighting, warm colors appear brighter and cool colors appear duller because it is a yellow-colored light.  LED lights can change a color’s intensity or boldness.  Halogen lights are most like natural light and make colors more vibrant.  Needless to say, they are a designer’s favorite type of lighting.

Rooms that get eastern light have light that has a green cast to it; those that get western exposure, get lighting with an orange cast to it.  Likewise, rooms with a northern exposure get a blue cast of color and those facing south get a yellow cast to them. That’s why it’s important to sample your paint colors using the actual paint color painted on poster board.  Cut four 12”X12” squares of poster board painted in your selected paint color and tape each square to a wall.  Observe how the natural and artificial  light affects the color throughout the day. Don’t paint the proposed color directly on the wall because the color that is already there will interfere with how it will really look.  You need to use the white poster board for the true look.

How Much Color Can You Tolerate? - Hooked on Houses

We also talked about color value and color saturation.  Color value is how light or dark a color is on a paint strip.  Think of a cup of black coffee.  As you continue to add milk, the coffee gets lighter and lighter because you are adding something white to it.  On a paint strip showing related colors, the top chip has the most white and the bottom chip has the least.   If you want a color that is between chips and not appearing on the strip , you have to tell the paint store to add more white to the darker color of the two chips. 

Saturation is how bold or muted the color is. Think of espresso as being the most saturated color  of coffee and a light roast being the most muted.   People are becoming much more tolerant of bolder colors.  One of the reasons for this is the Internet.  Generation Y'ers, otherwise known as the Millennials, who grew up during the computer age, are accustomed to seeing bolder colors on the Internet and have gravitated  to artwork, clothing, cars, appliances  and furnishings which showcase them.  I, myself, am seeing some dissension in the staging industry as to whether to use bolder paint colors or use neutral color and introduce color with accessories.  Do we appeal to the masses of buyers who want a neutral background or do  we target a particular buyer who would fall in love with a home wrapped in color? Are the masses becoming more comfortable with color? Decisions. Decisions.   What’s your take on this?  Leave me a comment and tell me  if you were purchasing a home, would you choose the house with the more neutral wall color or the more colorful one?

  More Neutral Colors in This Home - Hooked on Houses

Last but not least, we talked about the value of hiring a paint color consultant.  If you are not comfortable making decisions about color, it's wise to hire a paint color consultant.  I think about the lady that I mentioned in one of my blog posts who selected the exterior paint colors for her home and hated them.  Her husband told her  that she would now have to live with her mistakes for another 5-6 years.  She was certainly a "penny wise and a pound foolish".  Hiring a paint color consultant can save you the aggravation and expense of having to repaint your mistakes.  If you are living in the Jacksonville, Florida area, make sure you contact Doctor Décor ( me) before you have a color emergency!


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