A 911 Color Consultation

I have had the same housekeeper for 4 years now. Her name is Patty. She is a retired nurse and cleans houses to supplement her income. Patty is like a gift from God every two weeks when she comes to my house. There is nothing better than coming home every other Tuesday to clean hardwood floors, an immaculate kitchen, and a fresh scent throughout my home. She is worth her weight in gold. She allows me something I can’t buy. She gives me precious time in a home that rejuvenates and relaxes me. (I can’t be the only woman that can’t relax until my house is in order.)

Patty bought a new condo last month. She received the key to her new place at closing on Wednesday. I received a frantic message about paint colors on Thursday. She wanted to paint over the weekend and was having trouble making a selection. Patty had a 911 color consultation need. Of course I could help. I squeezed in a time to meet with her between appointments that very day.

I almost giggled when I entered her new condo. Freshly installed carpet was littered with at least a hundred paint swatches in the family room. I toured her condo and saw just as many in the kitchen, the bathroom and the two bedrooms. Patty began by showing me swatches, talking to their merits and moving to the next swatch. She was confused and wanted me to make sense of her chaos.

I was happy to help. We discussed her furniture, her artwork, what features she wanted to downplay in the room, and the ones she wanted to highlight. Next we discussed how she wanted to feel in the room. This narrowed down our focus, and we selected family room colors she loved in a just a few minutes. Then we moved to the kitchen, the master bedroom and bath, and the second bedroom. We were done in about an hour.

I was reminded again today how relatively simple it is for an interior designer to help a client select interior finishes. Color confidence and accuracy is not just a matter of good taste. Patty has a great sense of color and style. Selecting great paint colors is really about experience. A designer knows by looking at a tiny swatch how it will react in your room due to experience. We see the subtle, and no so subtle values in colors.

Here are 10 great reasons to hire an interior designer in Portland, Oregon the next time you are ready to make paint selections:

  1. A designer can bring several lines of paint to your home so you can see the whole spectrum in your space. There is no need for you to drive around town grabbing hundreds of 3×3 swatches of colors at the kiosks. I brought three full paint lines to Patty’s home: Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore and Miller Paint. I also had large color swatches on hand to help her understand the affect scale would have once the wall color was applied.
  2. Tints, tones and shades are pleasing in decor, but colors that don’t have the same value will not be pleasing next to one another. This mean things like baseboards, flooring and ceiling colors should be considered when choosing a paint color. There are other things to consider. Do you know them?
  3. Colors relate to one another and will change based on the colors in your room. They will also feel different based solely on what is around them. Patty has a old stone fireplace with umber tones she wanted to downplay in the family room. What would be the colors to avoid to downplay the rich, dark color in this fireplace? What colors would neutralize the fireplace color? What colors would bring out the fireplace?
  4. Even neutrals have a warm and cool undertone. Patty’s carpet was a lovely speckled neutral. She didn’t notice it was a cool neutral until I showed her how to pick out that attribute. This instantly ruled out many colors that weren’t a good match to the carpet color.
  5. A designer understands lighting and how it effects color. Patty realized the importance of lighting when she brought her family room color selection into the back bedroom. She didn’t like it suddenly. In disbelief, she went back into the family room to make sure she still liked the color. She was dumbfounded when she realized she still loved the color in that room. Sunlight, changes in flooring, ceiling colors, and different types of lighting can change a color dramatically – even from room to room.
  6. Designers understand scale and how it relates to color. A vivid yellow can be outstanding in an accent color on a vase, but make you irritated on the walls in a room. Patty wanted a happy yellow for her second bedroom. She planned to sew in the room, but also accommodate overnight guests from time to time. The yellow colors Patty was drawn to were too vivid for the wall color in this room. Her guests would have never gotten to sleep! We picked a more neutralized yellow instead. By the way, yellows are probably one of the most difficult colors to master without experience.
  7. Colors have long lasting appeal when they are complex in nature. Complex colors have movement and will change throughout the day. Can you pick out a complex color?
  8. Greens, blues and purples that are too true can be too elementary and immature. A designer can show you how adding shades of color to these colors can make them more pleasing and long lasting. We selected a wonderful green for Patty’s bedroom with this trick.
  9. Have you ever had to paint a room over because the color you selected wasn’t what you intended? A designer will give you piece of mind that you will love the color.
  10. A pleasing home palette works best when each color relates. If you have done a good job, you should be able place all of your wall colors side by side and find the palette pleasing, never jarring. Do they get along? When we completed Patty’s consultation we sat back and admired the cohesive palette. It reflected Patty’s personality and taste and it was uniquely hers. That is what it is all about.

A color consultation with an interior designer is a great investment of time and money. You might be surprised how easy, liberating and relatively inexpensive the whole process will be.

I sent Patty to Sherwin Williams in the Pearl District in Portland, Oregon where Jamie and Keith took care of her. Although not all our paints were selected from the Sherwin line, the optic eye and competent staff at this Sherwin Williams store matched the colors to a “T”. Thanks team! She loves her new colors! Go see our friends in the Sherwin Williams Pearl. You will love them.

Angela Todd Studios For Custom Furnishings

Angela Todd

Owner & Principal Designer

Angela is the principal designer at her boutique interior design firm in Portland, Oregon. She is known for creating memorable backdrops that tell the story of fascinating and intricate lives.

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