January 14, 2007

Color Me Clearance

I've been paging through books on choosing paint colors: our house is done in mostly Apartment Cream throughout, with a few Model Home Inoffensive Pastels to break up the monotony, and the number of smudges and chips is reminding me on a daily basis that it is getting to be time to repaint. One book assured me that choosing colors was no more difficult than choosing an outfit. The author didn't understand how a woman could put together skirt, blouse, jacket, hose, shoes, belt, earrings, and necklace, but not feel able to choose colors for a room.

I don't know how to tell this author that every day I wear: (1) one of two pairs of nearly identical jeans, the only difference being that one pair has, mysteriously, red pocket linings, invisible from the outside; (2) one of three t-shirts, two in muted blue and one in muted green; (3) white socks; (4) orange/khaki/white sneakers; (5) one of three pairs of gold hoop earrings. Every day. I don't think this qualifies me to pick out a piece of fruit, let alone colors for a house.

One problem I have is that I decorate in a style I call "75% Off At Target." If I commit to a wall color, I drastically cut down on which things from the clearance section will look right in that room. Plain cream gives me more options. It also helps me showcase how tall my children are: just consult the smudge line. It gets a little higher each year.

I do envy those homes I see where the bold colors in one room flow in beautiful contrast and harmony into the next room: oranges into yellows into blues, so lovely. I don't know how anyone knows which colors to choose; those little rectangles on the strips from the paint department are far too small. I read a great idea about buying a pint each of the colors you like, painting pieces of poster board, and pinning them up on the wall so you have larger samples to consider. But how do you narrow it down to the point where you know which ones to get pints of?


Black Sheeped said...

I would probably just pick out paint chips that made me feel happiest. It's not a very scientific method.

Maybe you could stick to neutrals, but different neutrals than you have now. Warmer or something. My parents' house is a lovely sort of warm medium-light brownish suede color, and it's very happy and neutral and inviting. Some light greens and grayish greens can be neutral, too, if you like cooler colors. I'd look at the lighting in various rooms and decide if you'd want a cool or warm color, and find a neutral that would work. You could easily mix brights or more neutrals with these colors. They sell both at Target.

Oh! And sometimes you can have a neutrally painted room, and paint one wall a bold color. (Such as a fireplace holding wall, or a wall behind a bed, etc.) It'd give a touch of color without being overwhelming, and one wall is easy to repaint if you get sick of it.

This was way too much. I get excited about these things. Good luck!

desperate housewife said...

Oh, I am the queen of doing bold colors on just one or two walls! They are my "statement" walls. Our living room, for instance, has two "boring" cream colored walls opposite each other, and the other two opposing walls are a much darker brownish-pink color that blends with the stone in the fireplace. And Addy's room is the same, except in yellow and baby blue.

Swistle said...

See, I think what's going on here is that you two have a natural gift for choosing colors. If I chose a light green, what would happen is I'd end up with '70s Seafoam, or Depressing Hospital. If I tried to choose a warm brown suede, I'd end up with Baby Diaper, or Dark 'n' Sad. If I painted one wall different than the others, I'd end up with a terrible clash. I don't think I have The Eye.

What I've done with SOME success in the past is find a wall color I like in a magazine, and then use that to help me pick a paint chip. It's not a color-match precision thing, more of a "keeping my mind focused on what color I want." Otherwise what happens is that I'm picturing a warm brownish-yellow, and what I end up with is Rubber Ducky.