One of the most challenging concerns for any owner or strata is picking the right colour for their hallway or exterior building. Often we settle for the same colour we already have, or pick a safe choice that is sure not to offend. What a missed opportunity!
Try these tips to get better and bolder color choices right the first time.
2017 Color Trends
In 2016 we experienced a range of natural colors like ivory, vanilla and charcoal, and a renaissance of the neutrals like cream, beige and soft greys. Two manufacturers chose white or off-white as their colors... Boring!! 2017 brings in some bolder choices, and an updated neutral from Sherwin Williams.
For 2017 here are 3 Colors of the Year to consider:
PPG’s “Violet Verbena,”a distinctive purple
that may surprise you with its ability to blend with the grey and neutral undertones in the market;
Sherwin Williams’s “Poised Taupe,”which takes the popular grey from the past years and warms it up make a versatile color that looks great inside or outside;
Benjamin Moore’s “Shadow,” a much deeper purple tone than PPG’s violet, that makes a bold statement and requires confidence in choice but can add warmth and style to a small office or boardroom.
So how can I make the best choice?
Color choices are very personal, so making choices that impact others can be demanding. Three tips I’ve found will bring confidence you’ve made a good choice:
1. Review the color in the right context
Too often we look at a paint color in isolation, whether it's in a paint store, or on a fan deck strip, or in a friend's home. All good starting points, but not good enough.
You need to see the color in its context. By context I mean looking at the color when it’s surrounded by the things that will impact it, and that it will have impact on. Interior paint color choices require considering the color and style of flooring, and other accents and materials. The underlying tones of a blue-grey carpet, or the reflection of a rose-colored accent wall can dramatically impact how the color appears.
In order of consideration, I’d suggest you first put in place the major visual elements that are most enduring, like flooring and large furniture or cabinetry, followed by the strong or heavy accents such as accent walls, draperies and artwork. Into this context bring the color choices to evaluate before making the decision.
If you’re choosing exterior colors, you have some of the same considerations, with natural elements like rock and brick, stained wood and landscaping as your primary context.
Lighting can also have a dramatic effect. Interior fluorescent lighting can wreak havoc with colors that have underlying red tones, and new LED lighting comes in a variety of color temperatures. Natural light may seem neutral but rarely is. Morning light has a blue cast to it, and the evening light can turn a creamy yellow into a vivid orange if you’re not careful.
If possible, create large samples – I’d suggest 12” x 12" or larger – and bring them into the physical context as well as the variety of the lighting considerations. For instance, you could prop them up in a lobby entrance in the morning, and see the impact of the natural light, and then re-evaluate them in the evening under the commercial lighting installed.
2. Get a digital representation
If your iPhone can take the picture, then your computer (or someone else’s) can certainly digitally add the colors to your room or building. Many of the manufacturers have excellent websites where you can upload your own photos and ‘try the color on’ like a new suit jacket. Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams are two notable examples, with both website and phone apps to help you choose colors, and to let you see them on your own photos.
When choosing color by committee, having colors prepared digitally can help those in the group who struggle to see what the finished effect will look like. And they can be very helpful in preparing for a bolder color choice by preparing people visually, as well as giving sample photos for stratas voting on popular choices.
Large color boards with digital pictures showing 2 or 3 choices professionally prepared may give a strata council or owners group the ability to make the best choice the first time. We work with major manufacturers, and have in-house ability to create these custom representations.
3. Put some paint on the wall
Sometimes the very best option is to try to color out. If you’re painting your home or condominium, then the small ‘paint pots’ from many manufacturers can be a simple solution. Be sure to try the colors in context, and look at them in a variety of lighting.
If your paint project is more major, then having the chosen painter apply a mock-up to a prepared area is suggested. We often provide two options, with trim and field colors in context, for review by owners before proceeding. This can take the pressure off the committee in charge of the project, and gives great confidence that the effect of the colors will be just as expected.
A painting project takes time, causes disruption, and costs money. The larger the project, the larger the investment. Use the above tips to help get the color right, and make bolder choices. You don’t have to just “paint it to match the existing colors.” Instead, take the opportunity to turn that investment into additional value by updating the colors, and creating an impact. You’ll be glad you did!
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