Hands down, paint colors are one of the most scary part of decorating for many home owners.
For my This Old House Project, there are 18 rooms, not including the basement. That's a lot of colors.
Where to begin?
Start with things you cannot change. Since the kitchen cabinets were already ordered, we needed a white trim color that would work with them. We hoped to use this color throughout. (save a few bathrooms that require stark white.)
The other fixed elements we considered were: the stain glassed windows, the beautiful deep oak mill work in the front hallway and staircase and the fire places in the family room and the dining room.
Our goals were to create flow and to lighten the living room as much as possible. It's dark in there with deep natural trim, built-in book cases and little direct sunlight as the room meets the front porch whose overhang blocks light.
We chose paints and Paul was generous to paint boards. Here's 4 tips.
1) Paint boards not the wall. This saves on prep work for the painter and also allows you to change your mind and swap out rooms. So what you thought you wanted in the hallway can easily be visualized in the dining room simply by moving the board.
2) Label each board with the name, number and room you'd like to put the paint in.
3) Apply 2 coats of paint
4) If at all possible, view colors against white, which we clearly were not able to do. The yellow distorts.
Click on the picture to see larger versions. P.S. The small swatches were the replacements we were considering.
When I arrived at the house and flipped through the boards, I immediately knew a few had to go. The original living room was for lack of a better term baby diarrhea (oh no!!!). The family room, way, way too orange. And the blue for the powder room just electric and awful. The hallway color seemed straight out of Jamaica and surely would not find it's home in Maddy and Paul's home.
While some clearly didn't work, with a little play, we came up with some winning trades. We:
1) chose the lighter version of the family room.
2) used the same hall color in both the front and back stair case.
3) swapped the 3rd floor guest room for a lighter neutral and put the guest room color in the 3rd floor bathroom.
4) flagged the master bedroom color for the living room.
5) repeated the office color in the master bedroom.
Tomorrow I meet with the painter.