Apparently, there’s such a thing as a “color of the year.” A bunch of people at Pantone get paid to travel the world, tour private fashion and decoration events, and BAM!, they barf up a color. Actually, it might be a sect. There’s something so mysterious and incomprehensible going on there. It must be godly. They say it’s science; I think it’s bullshit.
If you don’t want to become one of those Pantone cultists and actually live with your colors more than 12 months, here’s a handful of advice from a girl who learned how to pick the right color through trials and errors.
First let’s go through some basics…
Now, most of us struggling with color will naturally buy neutral furniture. It’s okay — it’s our comfort zone. And it’s good news, because it’s like having a blank canvas. Black, white, greys, and wood are usually considered as neutrals. It basically means it’s not a color and it can go with anything. So don’t be afraid of taking the big step and try out some colors from time to time. Worst case scenario you’ll go back to neutral. Go ahead: do not be afraid to make mistakes, it’s worth it!
(And you don’t have to make every shade of wood match in a single room to have a sense of flow between furniture. I don’t know why, it just is. Trust me, I’m a doctor.)
Before mastering the art of rainbow decoration, it’s easier to start with complementary colors. Aka on the other side of the wheel of death. They call it a chromatic circle but it will trap your soul if you look too long at it. Turn away now while there is still time. Here’s how it work: You pick a color you love. That’s your main color. Then you look at the opposite side of the wheel — doesn’t have to be directly opposite — but somewhere there. That’s your secondary color. Bang! just like that.
Now color match simply made this way will most likely be hard to love. Color don’t have to be clownish. I used to be terrified about colors because every time I tried them out, I ended up living in a circus (which can be very nice, but not really my style).
There are four color directions
Once you’ve settled on a certain type of color there are four directions you can go with it: Lighter/darker and Earth tone/saturated. Let’s try some of them out on a boring, and now fabulous Sims 3 decor…
Now time to actually buy the right color. Not as easy as you thought…
Color displays are meant to trick you
They want you to think it’s easy choosing the right color and they direct you in a single direction. It’s a trap! Look at the entire display and you’ll notice your color of choice might be found in different places. For example, I want a bright pink for an art project. My first instinct will be to go under the red; you know pink is red mixed with white. Surprise! Check out under the purples too, because there are awesome pinks there as well. Same goes for blues, that can be found under traditional blues or cold greys. Be sure to scan the entire painting display when picking up chips.
Believe it or not, I found the most picky ones to be neutrals: beige, white and greys come in sooo many different tones that it’s super hard to even differentiate them from one another.
When in doubt, here are two tricks…
- Decide whether you want a cold or warm palette.
- Look at the darkest color on the paint chip and match this one with your other colors. Then go back on your light shade for the final pick.
About painting chips
Pick as many as you can before the guy at the stand starts looking at you with his funny eyes. Seriously, there is no limit to how many different painting chip one can take. It’s one of the few free things in the world, so enjoy it fully. Take everything that could work, is remotely near what you had in mind and even a little beyond, just to be sure. Than go back home with your stashed goods.
Once back home
Display your loot on a table and mark the colors you love best with an X on the back of the painting chip (or two if you really like it). You can process by marking those you love most and putting aside those you love less. Slowly, work your way into making a decision about every paint chip on your table. Then put the chips away and wait 24 to 48 hours. Repeat the exercise, with a different pen color. In the end, you should have narrowed it down to three or four colors.
To make a final decision, take the chips with you and go the place you want to paint. Check how they look on different walls, during different times of the day, in the shade and in the light.
If there is more than one color on you chip, fold it so only the color you chose shows up. It seems stupid, but the folding step is very important! Not being distracted by the other shades will help you make the choice that feels right. Otherwise if you are now unsure about a color you thought you liked, try a darker shade or lighter one.
Whoa, there we go! My exact shade of pink that I didn’t know I wanted before today.
What’s your recipe for choosing the right paint color?