Color is such a source of joy, transformation, decorating re-birth and, before the decision is made, -anxiety to the 10th power! So let’s try to approach this situation logically and creatively.
Anxiety Reduction: Don’t be nervous. Paint color is just like cutting your hair. It is not permanent. Take a chance and have some fun!
High Impact/Low Cost: Painting a room is the least expensive, most significant action you can take in decorating your space. If you are craving a change-color is the way to go.
To Begin: If someone else is doing the painting for you, you are a lucky person. In the spirit of fairness and respect to the workman you need to come prepared, clear and decisive. The painter and/or general contractor bids on the job he is doing for you, based on a specific time element for himself and his crew. Good quality coupled with efficiency is the way he makes his money. When you begin meeting with the contractor, before he bids, show him you have all your information in order and all decisions are made. It isn’t fair to expect the painting contractor to wait around, or to be your best friend, or co-decision maker, when he is poised and ready to start.
Use a color consultant or a friend with good taste at the onset. When you have made the final decision—then let it be! No mothers in law, neighbors, children, or friends can make a change after the directions are given. You have made your decision and you should be finished deliberating. If you make the painter stop and change in the process expect to pay more.
On the other hand, it is not fair of him to push you to make a decision before you are ready. So, do your research, give him written directions and adhere to the agreed upon deadline. You’ll get a good job, the workers are happy and satisfied –and, most importantly, those in your household will beas well.
Trim: My personal default choice is Benjamin Moore’s Linen White in semi-gloss finish. Most professional painters prefer oil based paint because it is tough and washable. High gloss enamel for the details can serve as a beautiful design element, especially if you have nice looking wide trim (i.e. 6” plus) that is in good condition and that you want to make ‘significant’ in the décor of the room. It can look crisp and clean, especially against dark wood floors. If you have stock 2.5” baseboard trim then you will want to paint it the same color as the wall so as not to draw particular attention to it.
Walls: I do not like flat finish paint for the walls. However, the advantage to flat finish paint is that it is non-reflective and therefore will not highlight the defects in the plaster or the dry wall. Even Egg Shell or Pearl finish (low luster paint finishes from Benjamin Moore) make wall imperfection more obvious than flat finish paint. (Be sure that the wall prep is included in the painter’s bid so you get a clean professional job.)
Color choice for the walls can be compounded by the vast palette available. My design philosophy is to begin the process with a reference point, like a fabric or a rug you will be using. Once you have narrowed the choices to several color candidates try them in a corner of the room. Paint your sample on both sides of the corner so that they reflect off each other, giving you the full impact of the color. Paint two coats so that you get its fully saturated effect. Review your choice at several times in the day and in the evening. Live with it for a while and give it a chance to settle with you. If the color seems to bold remember that art and mirrors will hang over the color so you won’t experience its full uninterrupted affect.
A few of my most trusted wall colors are: Benjamin Moore’s Pittsfield Buff HC24, Standish White HC32, and Richmond Grey HC 96. (not really ‘grey’)
Ceiling: Flat finish paint is nearly always desirable on ‘main room’ ceilings. It is not necessary to use a standard white paint on ceilings. There is nothing inherently incorrect in using a white, but other colors can be more interesting and used very effectively to enhance the mood of the room. A pale blue, cream or very subtle pink tint can be interesting with a complimentary wall color and a molding painted in ‘a white.’
Consider the following Benjamin Moore colors as options for ceilings. Lily White 2128-70, Moonlight White 2143-60, Sand Dollar OC-71. There are many choices available. In most cases, the more subtle, the better.
And Now for the Fun: The dining room is a great place for pleasant surprise and a little drama. It should especially have some glamour and a sense of a celebratory occasion when you walk in. Consider a dark and romantic color that lets your guests know they are special to you and that they are in for a treat. Again, refer to a rug or dining chair fabric as a reference point for color choices. I recently painted my dining room a deep navy blue. It is rich and unexpected and it looks great accented by candlelight.
Benjamin Moore Raisin Torte 2083, Pine Cone 2106-30, or Turtle Green are exciting possibilities.
The Powder Room is a wonderful place to surprise and delight the visitor. Get creative in a small space with maximum color impact.
Check out Modern Masters Metallic paint. Available any place that sells Benjamin Moore Paints. I have used and loved; Warm Silver, Brass, Pale Gold, Smoke and Silver. They are very easy to apply and give the most luminous effect to walls or ceilings. I have also used them on furniture and experienced wonderful results.
So, go ahead create some personal, beautiful spaces and do not forget to enjoy yourself in the process!