It is interesting how many “experts” – actual professionals – give not-so-expert advice when asked about color schemes for residential interiors. Advice that doesn’t actually focus on what works for the specific architectural space or the client who resides there. All too often, such advice is speculative, presumptuous, and very general, yet it’s received without question, unfortunately, as if it were hard fact. But those who are trying to better their homes, offices, and other architectural spaces deserve better. Formatted, generalized answers are just not good enough, when doing it correctly is so much more effective.
Ultimately, of course, it’s the responsibility of the consumer to judge whether the color advice they receive is beneficial or just fluff. With a little extra insight, you can discern its credibility and see if the advice makes sense for your surroundings.
Let’s consider some of the most common advice misconceptions:
“Look to your closet to get some color inspiration for your home.”
My cover picture for this blog is one of my favorite sweaters, accompanied by a coordinating (fake) fur collar. For me, it’s a fun, colorful and happy ensemble. In fact, my wardrobe is filled with fuchsias, purples, and reds, because these colors bring me joy. However, this does not mean I want my house laden with this palette. The effect of inundating my walls and furnishings with this mix of colors would be to increase stress from sensory overload. One’s wardrobe is distinctly different from color applied to an entire room or house. Besides, if your house is dressed like you, do you really want to blend into the draperies and wallpaper when entertaining guests?
“Have your client collect magazine pictures of house interiors that they like.”
There are several problems with this advice. First, a lot more than color goes into creating an inviting, functional, and balanced interior space. Each home is different in terms of architectural details, natural and artificial lighting – especially as it changes throughout the day, spatial effects, the perception of color and, of course, differences in personal taste. A magazine photo is staged, with added lighting, accessories, and focuses to create an illusion. The focus of a magazine picture is the feeling it conveys, not the reality of each specific color or item.
Second, a Certified Architectural Color Consultant has the professional training and experience to choose color palettes that are specific for each of their clients. These pros do not need magazine pictures to start or finish a color consulting job, nor would they want to waste their client’s time with this unnecessary and futile exercise.
“You can always be current using the latest Color Trends.”
While most of us pay some attention to clothing trends, this does not equate when it comes to applying trends to architectural color. Trends are created, to provide some unified direction and stimulate the economy. And “trends” specifically means short term. Pantone’s last three colors of the year for 2013, 2014 and 2015 have been Emerald Green, Radiant Orchid, and Marsala. Chaos would ensue if you had to constantly update your interior to accommodate all these changes in order to create an inviting and balanced interior or exterior space. And imagine what a throbbing headache your house exterior would be to your neighbors if it were painted a true Emerald Green.
So what do you do? Overall, take generalized color advice with a grain of salt. Remember that that kind of general advice is more about promoting them than helping you. It is a generic ingredients list, when you need a custom recipe focused on what’s best for your home and your life. Open your mind to creative thoughts and solutions that are specific to your own architectural space – get rid of the rest.
And, finally, rather than you guessing and making costly mistakes, consider talking to a Certified Architectural Color Consultant in your area who can come up with a color palette for you that’s unique to your architectural needs. Certified Architectural Color Consultants don’t work based on opinion, they use the science of color. They not only know how to develop strategic color palettes, but have great understanding and knowledge in physiological responses to color, the perceptual nature of color, the influences on palettes, lighting aspects, color in paint and products, color illusions and impressions, color instabilities, color effects and directional tendencies, visual ergonomics, and color harmony.
Your house is a reflection of you. I hope this blog has helped, so that you can make the most appropriate color choices suitable for your needs.