Thursday, August 1, 2013

How to test paint colors

In my job as an architectural color consultant, I help take the guesswork out of selecting colors for exteriors and interiors. We start by looking at inspiration images selected by the client.

It could be images pinned on or, snapshots from their phones, or clippings from magazines and catalogs. Heck, I'll even look at photographs from a favorite vacation, or a beloved scarf. Anything to help me gauge a client's taste in colors and combinations.
 image source
Then, working with existing elements, we start looking at color chips. These are printed sheets of paper, usually 4x4" big.

At the end of the consultation, I ask clients to take the last, essential step- brush-outs.
They buy little sample pints (where available) of the colors we have selected, and paint them nice and big on boards (at least 2x2'), or directly on the walls (for exteriors). Without this step, you're taking too much of a gamble. The translation from ink on paper to paint out of a can on a large area can be dramatic. This last step ensures that you really know what you are getting once the painters start lugging gallons of paint out of their truck.

Here are some visuals for you.

How NOT to test colors:

Those are cut-up paint strips, my friends. Could you get an idea of how that color would look? Nope, me neither.

Ah, now I see where the color is going. Much easier to tell.

Here's another great example of how to do brush-outs. This client knew which body and trim colors were perfect, but still needed to see some options for sash colors. By assigning a different window to each of the colors in question, they could really get an idea of how the overall look would differ, depending upon their selection.

Now that's a brush-out! 


An Eye for Detail said...

Oh the splotches we have lived with over the years! I do paint right on the walls (interior) about 2' squares...and then leave them there for maybe 6 months??? Yep, got to be sure alright! But it has never failed me. I've tried buying the 8x11" papers (BM), putting 4 together etc. But even then it doesn't work as well as the paint on the wall.
How people can choose from those teeny little squares is beyond me!

Kelly Berg said...

Ha ha. Those little tiny chips are hilarious! I haven't seen that one yet. Good thing your clients called you. :)

Michael Maloney said...

Most people don’t have a clue about how colour can change the mood of a room or area and you must get a lot of appreciative customers. I had some help recently with the corporate colours for my business website and the overall new look is fantastic and really portrayed what I wanted it to with a combination of dark blue and gold. You obviously have a talent for this.