Thursday, December 14

Colour Your Life

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Paint is probably the most cost effective home decorating tool. Paint protects, adds colour, and extends the life of your home and furniture. But before you pull out the brush or roller, consider whether your walls or furniture need to be repaired first. If the wall is in good shape, then it’s time to choose a colour and a finish. Visit your local hardware store to look at paint chips and familiarize yourself with different types of paint. There are so many possibilities of colour and texture! Some local stores offer free or low-cost classes on painting techniques. For your first visit, try to go when the store is not crowded (on a weekday) and a clerk can give you his or her undivided attention.

Choosing a colour is a tough decision. Do not make it haphazardly.

Some decorators say to start with a fabric, a piece of furniture that you like, artwork that you want to hang on the wall, or some other decorative item and coordinate your colour scheme to it.

Richardson, a professional colour consultant and interior designer, says that the most important thing you can do when choosing a new colour for a room is to think about exactly how you want to feel when you are in the room. Do you want this room to be energized, calm, neutral, warm, or cool? How do certain colours make you feel? Does red excite or irritate you? Does blue calm or depress you? Colours provoke emotional responses that vary among individuals as well as cultures. Colours and colour combinations also go in and out of fashion. However, here are some basic colour guidelines, both positive and negative connotations that generally apply.

  • Yellow is sunny, cheerful, radiant, and happy. Pale, soft yellows are good for kitchens. But yellow is also associated with caution and can be glaring and intense.

  • Orange, a mixture of yellow and red, can be warm, invigorating, friendly, fun, and lively, but it can also be overpowering, flamboyant, conspicuous, and offensive.

  • Red is exciting and stimulating, indicates warmth, and can stimulate the appetite, making it great for kitchens and dining rooms. Red is also the first colour an infant will respond to. On the negative side, red can be aggressive and make a room feel too warm.

  • Purple strikes a balance between stimulating red and calming blue. It is commonly associated with royalty, spirituality, and creativity. On the downside, purple can be overpowering and heavy.

  • Blue, the favourite colour of the Western world, represents sky, water, and tranquillity. Blue has actually been known to lower blood pressure, but it can also be depressing and cold. Since many of us love blue, it can also be overused, so try to balance it with other colours.

  • Green is the calming colour of nature, a balance of uplifting yellow and calming blue. It represents harmony, balance, hope, sincerity, stability, growth, and spring. On a negative note, green can be associated with jealousy, detachment, and disappointment.

  • Brown is associated with comfort, warmth, protection, dependability, and the earth. However, brown can be dull or boring, so spice it up with some brighter accents.

  • Black is elegant, strong, creative, powerful, and sexy. Too much black can be difficult to live with, as it can also connote superiority, evil, sorrow, and emptiness.

  • White symbolizes purity, brilliance, truthfulness, cleanliness, and simplicity. It can be hygienic and uncluttered, but also cold, stark, and clinical. White can be hard to keep clean for those of us with children or pets.

  • Once you have selected your colour, you’ll need a sample packet or a quart. It is best to paint your sample (at least two coats) on a piece of mat board that you can place in different positions around the room.

Light has the most effect on your colour choice. Since sunlight is constantly changing, your paint colour will also change throughout the day.

What appears as one colour in the morning light will transform a little in the afternoon. Take several days to study and carefully consider your paint choice. If you have doubts, try another colour. You may want a warmer or cooler version. Remember that colours tend to darken as they dry, so go with a lighter hue if you are not sure of the intensity.

In addition to colour, you need to choose the proper type of paint for the job. Latex (water-based) is the most common choice because it’s easy to clean up. For a surface that will be exposed to water often, oil-based is best. Paints come in a variety of sheen or gloss levels, ranging from “high gloss” (the shiniest) to “flat” (virtually no shine). Those with higher gloss reflect more light, so they can make a room look brighter and may be easier to wash, but they also are harder to apply and may accentuate imperfections or previous repairs. Be sure that you’re completely satisfied with your choice before you begin to paint.


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