Posted on | February 12, 2013 | No Comments
Choosing colors can be confusing. My color consulting clients usually have piles of paint color samples and an idea of which colors or color direction they prefer, and then say “. . . but, you just tell me which colors are best.”
I won’t. I won’t tell you the colors I think you should have, because the first thing you need to experience when choosing colors is the freedom to choose any color that catches your attention. And…I don’t live or work in your building. Choosing colors is about you.
Color consultants have many different processes they use when advising about colors, so I’m not speaking for anyone else. When I work with clients, the first hour of the appointment is crucial so that we both see which colors they are attracted to.
Most clients choose about fifty to two-hundred colors during the initial phase of our appointment. Looking across the color samples on the table, we both get the true non-verbal reality of their color likes and dislikes.
I included the word “dislikes” because invariably, some of my clients color choices move to the “hate-it” side of the table.
Choosing colors can be a deeper process than just decorating. Surrounding yourself with colors that resonate deeply for you is emotionally satisfying.
Residential, Commercial and Institutional Architectural Color Consultant
Posted on | February 5, 2013 | No Comments
When people talk about bright colors they often call them “primary colors”. But to the artist and the color professional there are only three primary colors; red, yellow and blue. From these three colors, all other colors can be mixed, which is why they are called “primary”. The secondary colors (obtained from mixing one primary with another) are orange (red and yell0w mixed), green (blue and yellow mixed) and violet (blue and red mixed).
In the real world of mixing paint, it takes more than just one or two pigments to make every other color in existence. The reason is that each pigment whether natural or human-made is rarely “purely” a red, yellow or blue. And, the carrier or “base” solution the pigment is in can affect how the color appears.
In the art world, the carrier or base solution could be oil, acrylic, gum arabic (for watercolors), etc. In the world of house paint, a base is “tinted” (it has a color) and is different depending upon what type of house paint it is (interior, exterior, semi-gloss, eggshell, etc).
Color mixing can get pretty complicated.
But that’s nothing to worry about. Any professional paint store employee has a computer to help out with the color mix, and the most well-trained staff understand the science of mixing so that they can be sure the computer gets it right.
So…if you want to say, “Primary colors,” to define brights, that’s fine, most everyone will visualize the usual Sesame Street kid’s colors and know what you mean.
On the other hand, if you say that to an artist or other type of color professional they will guess that you really mean pure primary and secondary and tertiary colors that have not been mixed with any white (pastels) or dark tones. (Which is why we’re paid the big bucks!)
Posted on | September 27, 2012 | No Comments
Wall paint color ideas to help you create a sense of spacious flow in a small home or room.
Paint colors for a small house or little space (“casita” means “little house” in Spanish) can range from light colors to dark. Despite any color or design rules you may have heard, light colors like white, don’t always “open” up a room.
How the wall and ceiling paint colors you choose interact with the architecture is what gives you the feeling of flow that makes even a small home seem spacious. Here are some color ideas for small rooms and houses that will help you create a sense of spacious flow:
- Choose colors that look great together. When a home is very small, the color choices for each area must work together as one pleasant grouping of color. (Pleasant to you).
- Consider painting the walls and ceiling the same color. Ceiling colors that contrast with wall colors can create strong focal points that “break” the space of the room. The result is that you notice the line of contrast between the ceiling and walls before you notice other nice things about the room.
- Select glossier paint finishes for darker colors: Glossy colors reflect light better than matte or eggshell sheen colors. When using dark colors in a small room a semi-gloss or high-gloss sheen will increase the feeling of light in the room.
Color Consultant www.ColorConversations.com
Posted on | June 14, 2012 | No Comments
Choosing colors for a mid-century modern home is a balancing act between the historical and the contemporary color palette. Though slavishly adhering to a past aesthetic makes sense for a movie set, I prefer to choose a group of colors that give a nod to the past and live in the present.
Mid-century modern homes typically have an open floor plan that blends the communal rooms of the home: the kitchen, living room and dining area. This arrangement of communal rooms is typically called a great-room. Ceilings in the great-room are often vaulted and intersect at interesting angles with other parts of the architecture.
These intersecting architectural spaces demand a cohesive color plan that looks great from every angle. Here is how I made the color choices for the home pictured. The home is mine, so the colors are some of my favorites mixed with some of my family member’s favorites. Built in the late 1980′s with a mid-century sensibility I sought to enhance the mid-century aspects through the color choices as I updated and resurfaced the home.
The primary color chosen for the home was the floor color, as the flooring is the same through most of the house. I chose Wicander floating cork flooring in a light golden hue that coordinated well with the existing natural wood baseboard, window and door trim. Cork is also a classic mid-century material that is considered modern, cool and environmentally sustainable, so it was key to setting the conceptual tone of the home.
The interior doors are natural wood (another type of “gold” color). With that earthy gold “anchoring” the home, I chose a gold paint color that I would use in various parts of the house, as a “connecting” color, thereby enhancing the visual flow of movement throughout the home. With that strong foundation of warm golds repeating throughout the home, the remainder of my color choices where predominately the warm colors of red and purple with a subordinate palette of cool green and blue.
The resulting palette of strong bright colors anchored with earthy golds created a happy, contemporary feel to the home.
Posted on | February 21, 2012 | 2 Comments
Choosing the accent wall colors is one part of the process, but choosing which wall should be the accent wall is just as important.
Here are some accent wall ideas to get you started:
- An accent wall focuses your attention on an area of architecture in the room. Choose a wall that deserves the attention such as:
- Reading nook wall or TV wall.
- Short wall at the end of a long room or hall.
- Wall that frames a dominant window or door (a beautiful door, such as French doors opening into a garden or deck
- Focal wall behind a dining table.
- Fireplace wall
Choosing the right accent wall colors can be fun. Accent wall paint is a small investment in a big pop of style and color, so be bold with your choice. Here are some color choosing tips for accent wall paint:
Select a paint color that is at least 2 or 3 shades darker or lighter than the surrounding room wall colors.
- An accent wall color can cross-pollinate the other colors in a room or a visible element from a nearby room. Ex: Green dining room accent wall is repeat of the awesome green cooktop range in the adjoining kitchen.
- Choose an accent wall paint color that continues the room color theme – such as a dark chocolate brown accent wall in a taupe colored room, OR….
- Choose an accent wall color that contrasts with the surrounding room color theme – such as a tangerine orange wall in a white room.
Color consulting nationally on site or on-line. www.CristinaAcosta.com
Posted on | February 13, 2012 | No Comments
Drive by most any fast-food restaurant and you’ll most likely see red. Not because you’re upset (unless you are), but because red is understood to be a color that stimulates the appetite. KFC, McDonald’s, Burger King, and In-n-Out are some of the national fast-food companies that use red in their marketing.
Red has such a reputation as an appetite stimulating, passion rousing color that I’ve had clients insist on putting red in a room for that reason, or insist on not using red for that reason.
This was the case for a business that wasn’t in the food industry. After putting together an office color scheme with a company CEO, I was approached by an upset employee who was sure that the dark cranberry red color we had chosen for the conference room would exacerbate arguments and increase dissension.
I assured the employee that red was going to work beautifully in the room and stimulate conversation rather than direct it. He wasn’t that sure of my advice, but he accepted his boss’ choice. The boardroom walls became cranberry red and everyone deemed it a success.
But all reds aren’t equal. Red-oranges, blue-reds, pinks, magentas, deep reds, bright reds, dull reds, dark reds and light reds are some of the variations of red that most any national paint brand offers.
And just like the many varieties of reds, there are just as many reactions and beliefs surrounding the color red. Passionate, powerful, stimulating, argumentative, sexual, life-giving, playful, decorative, deep, are just some of the concepts that people attach to the color red and/or feel from the color red.
Whatever you feel about the color red, if you are attracted to it, I encourage you to use red in your room. As a room color or as an accent wall color, if using red scares you, putting it on your wall is a worthwhile risk. Whether you love it or hate it, facing the color red will leave you feeling stronger.
Posted on | February 6, 2012 | 1 Comment
There is no such thing as picking a color out of context. If, you choose colors that attract and inspire you.
Start randomly choosing colors that attract you and after you’ve made 50 to 100 selections, there will be a pattern to your color choices. Guaranteed. I see it with every client.
You can’t escape your own context whether you know it or not. No matter how “objective” we try to be, or think we are, our perceptions of color are contingent upon who we are. We can’t escape it.
And no matter how forward-thinking or retro-minded we may be, we are still in the present moment. Which is why we need to repaint, remodel, re-brand, etc. Time is marching on and change is inevitable. Colors go in and out of fashion because pushing the changes of fashion is the flow of time and perception.
That said, can a color choice be out of context for a particular project or a particular room? Absolutely, if that project or room already has a defined color scheme. Choosing colors that integrate into an existing color plan has a different set of parameters than creating a completely new color plan.
If you want to know what you really think and feel about color, pay attention to what inspires you and look for patterns as your choices add up. Inspired, sensational color can be yours!
Posted on | January 27, 2012 | 1 Comment
There is nothing wrong with white walls. Let’s just get that out there. Though white isn’t a “color” on the color wheel, it certainly is a paint color, and one that many people love. But if the only reason you have white walls is because you’re afraid of color, you may have a touch of chromophobia or “fear of colors”.
Or maybe you just have a fear of making expensive mistakes with paint color. That’s more often the case.
Although paint is often touted as a cheap and easy interior design fix, in reality painting your home can be a big and messy project. With paint prices between $20 – $60 per gallon, plus the cost of application, color mistakes add up fast.
And now is where I usually say, “Which is why you need a color consultant.” But not everybody can afford or find the right color consultant.
So, what should you do if you are determined to create your own paint color plan? Here are some color choosing tips if you’re looking to freshen a room with color:
- Take time collecting samples of colors you love. Look outside of paint store swatches to the ordinary things in your life that you enjoy. The color of your morning latte may be your best soothing warm brown color.
- Assemble your samples of the colors you love with samples of the colors in your room that you have to live with, like that ugly tile or flooring you can’t afford to replace.
- Now, using a paint store fan deck, look for a way to bridge the colors you love with the colors you are stuck with. A “bridge” color is my way to describe a color that is a version of what you love, that will work with what you have.
- Give yourself time with your color choices before you ask for anyone elses opinion.
- Life is short, live with the colors you love. (And that includes white!)
Posted on | January 24, 2012 | No Comments
Choosing colors can be overwhelming. Most any paint display will dazzle you with hundreds of colors and combinations.
The Benjamin Moore line alone has over 3,600 colors in their paint line. Paint companies have developed marketing tools to help you choose color, but you’ll quickly discover that placing those colors in your home can result in a new level of confusion. Calling a expert color consultant will help you cut through the confusion and get to your best color plan.
Most people have a lot of questions around hiring a color expert. If you don’t have a personal referral, you might wonder if the person you’re calling is qualified. Hiring a color consultant to choose paint colors for your home can feel like a toss of the dice. You might wonder: Will their sense of taste and style be one I share? Will they boss me around? What if I hate their ideas? Etc.
I’ve heard all of those concerns (and more) from my clients. Here’s my advice:
- Do your due diligence and find out about the color consultant’s education and experience.
- Call them up and ask them about their process.
- Ask to see photos of their projects so you can get an idea of their level of expertise.
- Ask for testimonials or references.
- Ask them about their pricing and how they estimate the time and cost of the consult.
Remember, anybody can call themselves a color consultant. Just because somebody “loves” color or happens to be standing in a paint store, don’t presume expertise.
Posted on | June 15, 2011 | 1 Comment
Tan, taupe, beige, mushroom, sandstone, putty and stone are just a few of the names for light neutral colors. Think of a neutral color and if you are new to color mixing, you might think of a neutral as brown mixed with white. And you can get a typical version of a neutral from that combination.
But here’s the thing about a neutral color. Neutrals can be the result of a surprising blend of colors. And a “good” neutral, one that works with or complements a wide variety of colors often has some distinct colors as part of the mix.
The photo of the suede shoes with a bottle of paint shows you the neutral paint color I obtained after mixing together a variety of colors then painting them on the suede. After painting the shoes I saved the remaining color in a bottle. A few days later I was surprised to see how much the colors had separated within the water mixture. Note the small layers of red and gold at the bottom, then the majority of green-brown earth tone with a blue layer topped by a beautiful light bright layer of sky blue.
This example showing the color ingredients behind a neutral paint color is a visual explanation of the mixture of colors that can be present in a lovely neutral. This quality is especially important for neutral wall paint colors as they are exposed to different levels and colors of light throughout the day and their base colors can become more or less prominent depending upon the light quality.
Directions to Color Suede Shoes at Home
Note: Embrace the randomness of this process and hope you like the result (or learn to) as it is PERMANENT. You may get permanent water stains or blossoms (as some watercolorists call them) on your suede item.
You will need:
- Artists acrylic paints (in the tube or jar)
- palette knife (for mixing paint)
- stir stick or kitchen whisk (for mixing it with the water)
- painters tape to mask off areas you don’t want to paint (find this in any hardware store)
- a large soft brush and a fan brush for applying the color (or whichever type of brush you prefer)
- Note: Acrylic paint colors I used are: White, Cadmium Red Light, Thalo Red, Ultramarine Blue, Yellow Ochre, Quinacridone Gold, Thalo green, Burnt Sienna
- New (or very clean) light-colored suede item.
- Hairdryer to dry shoes.
What to do:
- Use the painters tape to cover and protect any areas of the suede shoes you don’t want to paint. This only works on things like the soles or hardware. The color will bleed under the tape if you try to section off parts of the suede.
- Mix together a color you like. I began with artists acrylic paint, creating about 3 or 4 tablespoons of color. I mixed the final color with about 20 ounces of water.
- Note: when mixing the color, keep in your mind the color you are covering as it will effect the outcome. Do a small test if possible.
- Saturate your brush with the watery color mixture and apply from one end of the suede item to another. BE SURE to not be too wet as this may cause watermarks. Too dry and the color won’t be even on the item. Applying the color is tricky. The idea is to not go back and retouch an area, but to get all of the color down the first time and dry it all at the same time.
- NOTE: The paint MUST be very watery to not negatively effect the texture of the suede. Too little water will result in smoothing out the texture of the suede.
That’s it!! Hope it all works out. I’d love to hear from anyone who tries this.
Posted on | April 21, 2011 | 1 Comment
The other day I was listening to the streaming radio station Kink FM out of Portland, Oregon and heard an ad for Northwest Natural Gas. It’s official. NW Natural Gas company has co-opted the color blue, even renaming natural gas “Blue”. And the characteristics they’ve assigned “Blue” are many. According to the NW Natural website “Blue. . .Hates Wasting Energy . . . .. Blue is Reliable . . Blue Despises High Bills. . (and). . Blue and Green are friends.”
Is blue now a responsible, conservative color that also happens to be the environmental movement’s new BFF? The gas company would like us to think so. Especially now that the marketing kudos for environmental sensitivity are a big positive in the world of commerce.
It’s nothing new for a company to use color to relate both subliminal and overt product and marketing ideas to their potential and repeat customers. It’s a smart thing to do. Ask someone in a roomful of people to describe the color Coca-cola red and you’ll soon find somebody who can. Color and marketing are natural partners.
But a color has more than one personality, despite any one expert or company’s declarations. And when a company uses mainly color to define itself and it’s product, they are also declaring themselves the most pertinent and contemporary interpreters of that color.
Taking that position with a product or a color invites comparisons. If a product is clearly a greater good, comparisons are welcome. But natural gas isn’t one of those products. Like all petrochemical energy sources, there are defined environmental disadvantages to natural gas. Those product disadvantages don’t go away with a re-branding, regardless of the color assigned to it or any of the attributes that color may possess.
Calling natural gas the new “blue” doesn’t turn it green (or make it green’s new BFF) no matter how many times anybody says it. And when the gas company insists that it does, their efforts to tint the green movement into a shade that they wash their product with takes green-washing to a new low.
Posted on | March 15, 2011 | No Comments
Have you ever found the perfect house paint color only to put it on the wall and discover that it isn’t so perfect after all? Then, you try again, and again . . . until maybe you just stop trying. Choosing exterior paint colors can be especially scary. Your process and progress is there for all the world to see. Not only do you have to decide what you think about each color choice, well-meaning neighbors may feel compelled to offer their opinions and suggestions. It can be nightmare.
So how does a person pick exterior paint colors? There are a variety of color solutions to this question ranging from the custom to off-the-rack choices. As a color consultant, when I work with a client to choose colors, the process is completely custom. Together we build a color palette that works with their personality, architecture, environmental setting and possibly the local neighborhood association.
If you don’t have access to a color consultant or color coach of some type don’t despair. Most paint lines market groupings of exterior paint colors specifically to homeowners. If you are completely without an idea of what you want, studying color sample groupings is a good place to start the color choosing process. You can find these samples colors at any paint store or building materials store. The paint store employees can usually send you home with samples.
If you aren’t shy, check out a paint color fan deck from a paint store and start cruising neighborhoods looking for color schemes that appeal to you. When you find colors you like, stay in your car and find an approximate match. In my quest for a perfect color I have been caught red-handed with a color fan deck against a garage wall by surprised homeowners. I wouldn’t recommend that method. I’ve surprised more than one sleeping dog!
Here are a few exterior paint color choice tips:
- Pick three to four colors for your house: The Body color (main color). The trim color (around doors and windows). A fascia color (the fascia is the board that edges the roof). And a door color.
- Paint the garage doors the body color of the house (unless they are natural wood) so that they don’t stand out and compete with your front door as a focal point.
- Use good quality paint that has built in UV protection.
- If you paint your house yourself, ask the paint store employees for a few application tips, you’ll almost always learn something useful.
Posted on | March 16, 2010 | No Comments
Color communicates. Any color expert, designer or artist will agree with that statement. But ask those creative types what exactly a color is communicating and the answers you get may have surprisingly little in common.
Here’s why: Color is a language that continually evolves with the cultures that contribute the shades and tones of meaning each of us sees. And, each individual brings their personal biases and perceptions to the mix, further complicating things.
Yes, you can open most any home decor magazine and read at least one color experts’ opinion based on a study about the calming effects of green – or beige – or . . . whatever the next color may be. But the truth is, the focus group that decides green is calming one year, may decide that mauve is calming next year. And, one more thing to keep in mind, the experience of an individual and the particular mix of individuals in a focus group is always changing.
Consequently, the meaning of a color is a moving target. One person’s irritating red is another person’s energizing red. It’s all about time and place, people and perception.
So what do you do with this information when you’re standing in the paint store looking for an idea or some advice? Here’s a few tips:
- The first thing to do is to choose a group of colors you love that you think might work for the project. For example – If you’re choosing exterior home colors and are looking for 3 colors, pick at least a dozen that you think will work.
- Then (ideally, take some time with this step) clip the color samples into individual pieces and spread them on the table. Start choosing your favorites.
- When you’ve narrowed it down to at least 4 choices, THEN start choosing where the colors go. Such as this color for the body, this for the trim, this for the gable trim, etc.
Remember that when you are choosing colors, you are bringing a lifetime of experience to the process. Respect that first with a little exploration, then listen to the advice you get from friends and professionals. You’ll have a better feel for the color choices that are right for you.
Posted on | March 8, 2010 | 3 Comments
I’ve been thinking a lot about color and culture, and have been exploring that theme in my fine art for many years.
The landscape around us effects how we perceive color. The geography of a place along with the cycle of seasons as well as the weather and light combine with the presence or absence of human culture to create the colors of a place.
In my paintings and drawings other concerns (like image or texture) overtake this concept, so I decided to work with these color ideas in textiles.
Painting silk scarves for myself or friends is a relaxing way for me to play with color stories. (And I have something fun to wear when I’m done!) This week I painted this silk scarf directly from the inspiration of some recent travels. I’ve been fortunate to be able to travel with my teenage daughter, Isabella Barna during her fencing competition season. She competed in a few fencing World Cups, so we both enjoyed traveling to both small and large towns in Europe for the events.
The many changes in landscape I’ve experienced this year contrast in my mind, mixing with the sensations of place. Each memory has a different palette of colors and values. Playing with these memories and translating them to visual ideas allows me to re-live the sensations of the memories as I create visual structure around them. It’s sort of like selecting photos for a scrapbook page, I select among the thoughts and feelings of memory for the creative expression.
Posted on | March 4, 2010 | 2 Comments
Mixing metallics into your home design can give a small space a stylish vibe. Put the metallic accents on existing cabinetry and your small space can remain clear and uncluttered – both practically and visually. And when those metallics come in a coppery pink tone, the result is gorgeous!
Metallic finishes can play up modern architecture like this master bath at the same time they link traditional materials like marble with the contemporary shapes of the home design.
The perfect wall paint color brings together the variety of surfaces with a unified color. With that in mind, choosing the color that works with every color in the bathroom is very important. Helping my clients choose the best color for the room meant first determining a few basic concepts. Here’s a list of things I consider and the thought process I went through to arrive at my choice that may help you:
- Should the color function as a warm color or a cool color?
Pink is usually perceived as a cool color. But in this instance, it was important that the pink be perceived as a warm color. By choosing a very warm pink with yellow and earth undertones the pink copper cabinet facing and the warm pink and brownish tones in the marble were “pushed” to the warm side of perception.
- What is the percentage of warm to cool tones in the space?
The warm white of the marble is “pushed” to function as a cool accent color against the warm tones of earthy pink. The cool tone is about 20% of the total color plan. This is a good balance as one color temperature being dominant strengthens the overall design.
Choosing wall paint colors can be complicated. Remember to consider basic concepts like overall color temperature and you’ll be able to make an informed color choice. If it’s too much for you, give me a call.
Thank you Paula Watts for your beautiful photo.keep looking »