Archive for the ‘Selecting Color’ Category

Pick the Best Color with Confidence

Tips to pick a paint color with confidence!

You’re sick of the same colors in your home and are ready for something new, fresh and different. You’re rarin’ to start but aren’t sure exactly how and where to begin. What’s the first step? How do you know what the best color is for you and your home? Color expert Kate Smith has insight on how to pick the best color with confidence.

Pick the best paint color.

“Most people, I find, have a beautiful vision in their head of exactly what they want the room to look like,” says Smith. “They have a good idea—and it is a good idea. What they don’t know when they’re untrained [is] how to get that idea out of their minds and onto their walls.” Read the rest of this entry »

How to Make Paint Last

Walls exude a certain freshness when recently painted. It can make any room feel new, but conversely feel dated when not properly cared for. Maintaining your walls doesn’t begin or end when you cover it with paint. To keep the color appealing to the eye, there are certain tips you should keep in mind.
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How to update a tired color scheme

If you have a basic item in your home that is still in good condition such as a carpet or sofa and you can’t afford to replace it here are some suggestions on how to update your color scheme.

You can approach this dilemma by finding a pattern that has your current color in it and has new colors alongside it in that pattern. Taking those new colors you can introduce a new wall color or accent items such as pillows.
Let’s say you have a blue sofa in good condition.

Add a pattern with the blue and several other colors in it.

Now you have several colors to use in the new color scheme.

You can also use a new piece of art to create a color scheme. In this illustration we are using a red chair as our starting point.

Shown here is artwork with the current red and new colors.

New accent colors can include the following hues and white or light blue could be a good wall color to show them off.

Best uses for bright paint

Are you paralyzed by the prospect of putting bold or unusual colors in your home? Are you wavering between one neutral shade and the next, wishing you could take the plunge and go for something more unusual?

Well, I have to say, I am not afraid of color – but I am afraid of BAD color! Over the years, I have had to do my share of repainting, either because I was too eager to paint or I chose poorly. And since I love bright and different, I have taken my share of risks in that department –and then once it’s on the wall…well, like I said, I have repainted many a room.

Since I attended the school of hard knocks, I learned many valuable lessons. Now I can use unusual colors, yet avoid the disasters that can come with the territory.

Lesson 1: Try it first!

Look for smaller quantity, lower cost paint samples at your local paint supply store. Buy a pint, quart or big swatch of the color you love, take it home and paint a patch on your wall to see it – before you buy the whole gallon and waste your time and money. It is also a good idea to look at it for a few days before you actually paint the whole room. You will know if it fits your décor and home after looking at it for a bit, and avoid the do-over. Additionally, there’s an added benefit of motivation to get the project done sooner, since now your wall has a big unmatched patch on it. (Tip: Don’t test before a big party – you might rush a decision that will land you in repaint land!)

Lesson 2: Look at what others are doing.

If you have seen a friend utilize an unusual color and you want to do something similar, ask them if you can use their color. Then you’ve seen how it looks in a whole room! You can also find unique colors used well in many catalogs – and then ask your local paint store to help you match the one you love. When I was painting the exterior of my 20-year-old house, a friend suggested looking in some new construction neighborhoods for current, unique exterior colors. I took pictures of the ones I loved, and it helped me get out of the rut and bring my house into the 21st Century.

Lesson 3: If you love it, you’ll love it!

I used to have a red dining room, and I was looking for a change. I fell in love with a purple/blue color and was scared to make the switch. A friend and I were consulting on this decision and she gave great advice: “If you love it, you’ll love it in your room.” I kept trying to talk myself into something more practical, but in then end I continually came back to the color I fell in love with originally. Then I knew…it had to be mine. I have had more compliments on that room color than any other in my home!

If you heed these valuable lessons, you might just be able to avoid the “repaint blues” when you are ready to jump off the deep end into fabulous and unusual colors. You can still be bold, but spend less time and hassle!

House parts

“You know that thing? No, not that thing next to the chimney, on top…” Are these snippets of conversations familiar to anyone? Whether it’s the name of a structural detail or design element you don’t know, here are a few terms to throw down while chatting with your contractor or if  you find the need to impress your neighbor.

Leewood Homeowners Association

Cricket - A second, small, pointed roof that diverts rainwater around something, such as a chimney, that projects out of a primary roof.

This Old House

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Creating a stress-free home

Ok, so maybe we’re over-promising just a little with the title on this one. Creating a completely stress-free home is a pretty big task, but not necessarily an impossible one. Here are some of our favorite tips for reducing stress at home.

Pick soothing paint colors
Surrounding yourself with calm and relaxing colors can have a soothing effect on your mind and can help aid in concentration. Common calming colors include blues and greens, as they remind us of calming things in nature – the ocean, the sky, a quiet field.

Don’t be too concerned with “rules” when it comes to using calm colors. You could use them in any room of the house or in your office. They can be used in rooms that face the south and west to cool them off and because they are flattering colors they can be used in baths and powder rooms as well.

Organize your home – What NOT to do
Many people are quick to offer advice on how to get organized, but Nicole Anzia, Washington DC’s organizing and de-cluttering guru, takes a different approach. She offers advice on what not to do when it comes to home organization so that homeowners can avoid the mistakes she most commonly sees.

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Paint like an Artist

There are many ways to make a room feel extraordinary and one is by applying paint to your walls as if it were a canvas. You don’t need to be artistic to do this, just find a few simple ideas to achieve this.

One way to make in impact is to use broad stripes, achieved by the use of a good painters tape and using colors found on other items in the room.

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Inspiration rooms: loft design


  • A large, usually unpartitioned floor over a factory, warehouse, or other commercial or industrial space.
  • Such a floor converted into an apartment or artist’s studio.

Demi Moore's loft in "Ghost"

The word “Loft” has shifted meaning over the years. It used to adhere to the standard, textbook definition above. But in the 1990s, developers started building “lofts.”

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Painting 101

Before you get started on any painting project you need to understand some basics:

Choose your paint- There are five sheen levels for interior painting:

  • Flat is the lowest sheen level and is best used for low traffic areas and ceilings.  Flat paints touch-up wonderfully but aren’t the most washable.
  • Matte finishes are relatively flat looking on the wall but offer an amount of durability and are commonly referred to as washable flats.
  • Eggshell is the most common sheen and is appropriate for many different uses. Its level of durability makes it washable in high traffic areas and bathrooms.
  • Satin finishes are great for very high traffic and high moisture areas such as busy laundry rooms and bathrooms where condensation is common.
  • Semi-gloss works well for walls that see abuse everyday and is very durable and washable.

Supplies - Check with your local paint expert to make sure you have the right brushes and rollers. You’ll also want to have painters’ tape to protect any woodwork. And don’t forget drop cloths to protect the floor or carpet in your space.

Prime – Priming may be an important step for a successful job.  While there are many all-in-one “paint and primer” products available today they should not be viewed as the corner-cutting panacea.  Glossy and slick surfaces, areas that have undergone extensive repair, and even when making drastic color changes are a few of the instances when you should consider the use of a specialty primer.  Consult with the staff at your paint store.   Taking the extra time to prime the walls first can actually save time by helping the finish coat develop its optimal color and appearance more quickly and in fewer coats. Primer can be white, gray or tinted. If you’ve chosen an off-white or light color a regular white primer should be just fine. Getting your primer tinted to be close to your final paint color is a great idea if you’ve chosen a dark, rich color. This will ensure an even coat and help you avoid needing what may seem like a million coats of paint to cover your walls. Gray primer is also a good idea for rich colors, especially red.

Paint – When you’re using a brush it’s important to hold it correctly. If you’re using a smaller brush for sash and trim work,  grip it like a pencil. You’ll want to hold a larger wall brush in your entire hand. Trimwork can be tricky – but it can go well if you follow this pattern: to cut in at a corner, paint out from the corner for five or six strokes, then smooth over them with a single, long, smooth stroke.  When using a roller, think of the letters M, N and W. Use your roller to make a large M (about 3 feet square) on the wall, followed by a backwards N or W pattern over it. Always start with an upward stroke so the paint won’t run down the wall and you’ll get good, even coverage. Fill in any spaces with crosswise strokes.

As summer turns into fall, you may also be considering starting an exterior painting project. Take advantage of the cooler weather to tackle an exterior paint project, but  make sure you know when it is too cold to paint outside:

Paint must set before the temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, so it is best not to paint within two hours of sundown if temps are predicted to drop below that. Extremely high temperatures can also cause a problem, so avoid painting in temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (but we don’t have to worry about that for awhile now, do we!).

Moisture also affects paint, so wait several days after a rainfall and allow morning mist to evaporate before beginning your project.

Always make sure to check the label on your paint can for additional information.

When you are done with your painting project, be sure to properly dispose or recycle your paint:

Don’t throw away liquid paint in the trash or sink drain. Paint should stay in the original container. However, small amounts of latex paint can be left to dry in the can, and disposed of in the trash.

Only store paint in places that won’t freeze. Find cool, dry places to keep your paint and label containers well including the room you painted and the date, so you can keep track for touch ups. Remember, latex paint that has frozen cannot be used again or recycled. Excessive heat is also not good for paint.

To recycle paint, check with your local county recycling program. Call 1-800-CLEANUP (800-253-2687).

Find creative ways to use excess paint. Restoring old furniture is one way to use leftover paints, or allow your kids to use some for projects. You can also use fun colors for a closet repaint, or a basement storage area. Reusing is a valuable way to protect the environment.

Color Vision Changes as we Age

We all know our vision changes as we age, we may need to hold reading material farther away in order to see the print. This is often called ‘over 40 eyes” as this is when it usually happens. But did you know that we see color differently as well? This change occurs frequently because the lens of the eye tends to yellow slightly with the aging process. Yellowing affects how colors at the blue-violet end of the light spectrum are viewed. Blues tend to be less vivid and look more like gray. This change is not a huge problem unless you are responsible for color matching or accurate color selection. Older people may have trouble reading black letters on a blue background or reading blue letters in general, therefore it is wise to remember this when printing flyers or copy for the general population. Red, however tends to be much more vivid than normal, this is often called “red eye” because it brings out even small amounts of red in a pattern.

The ability to see differences in shades and tones and also fine details decreases. Vision experts usually attribute this change to the fact that the number of nerve cells of the brain used to transmit visual signals from the eyes to the brain decreases. This change affects the way depth is perceived and judging distances becomes more difficult.

There is one “bright light” in the scheme of things, as we age one of the most common medical issues older people encounter is cataracts. This hazing of the lens is easily corrected and eliminates the yellow of the aged eye putting it at the age of an infant, clear and clean. It makes color vision nearly perfect and in most cases better than it has ever been. This surgery can not only correct color vision but in many cases can correct vision overall. It can often correct “over 40” eyes when the surgeon can replace the lenses with ones that are corrected to see both near and far. Don’t hesitate if you need this surgery, it can certainly change the way you see things.

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