A New Word

This month I thought I’d write about a word. The word is “metamerism” and it came up when I was talking to Thomas at a Miller Paint store. We were discussing how the paint color can change and look different in a room, especially if different materials are introduced, such as painting the room with an older beige carpet and then adding a new golden carpet. Don’t be surprised if the golden color bounces around the room and changes the paint color.

Here is a simple definition of the word:

metamerism – The quality of some colors that causes them to appear differently under different light sources. For example, two color samples might appear the same in natural light, but not in artificial light. Computer Desktop Encyclopedia copyright ©1981-2013.This is why it is important to look at a color in the correct light in the room it is going to be used and during both the daytime and at night. Preferably with all the materials that are going in that room. I know sometimes people get in a hurry and neglect this aspect of color chemistry. Often I am called upon to do a color consult in a room with the wrong lightbulbs or very poor lighting. It is difficult in a remodel to get all the items in place and then select color so I understand how hard it can be, just realize when you pick a color and then add new elements that the color may change a bit. I would like to see the hard surfaces selected first and then the paint color, even with a neutral. Usually since paint is applied first this step is done in reverse. Remember paint is the least expensive item in the room, so choose the others first and then be patient. Select paint last, paint the sample on posterboard and place it in the room and check it during changing light to see if you like it….before the painter comes. Try 2 or 3 options if needed.Now back to the story- I am trying to pick a paint color for my master bathroom, we are refreshing it, and my existing tile is like a “chameleon” so I have had trouble selecting the color I want. I know what I don’t want. So I am having to be patient and place a sample on the wall and wait for the light to change.When you get the correct color and add all the new elements to a room it just makes you smile! So remember this word and if you are painting first and then adding new carpet, you might see a change in your color scheme.

Also I think I’ve said it before, but I really like working with a freestanding paint store where all they do is work with “their colors” and with paint. They can be a world of help- just ask. So I hope you have happy experiences painting your rooms, it feels great to have a new fresh color!

Understanding Color

color wheel

In my first blog-post I would like to start with a basic of interior design, paint color. In my color consultations I am asked about paint questions and color seems to be the hardest thing for clients to select. There is so much to cover but maybe the following tips will help you.


Hue is the color itself
Intensity describes the brightness or dullness of a color
Value refers to a color’s lightness or darkness; adding white = a tint, adding black = a shade

The Color Wheel has 12 colors and is divided into 3 groups: primary- red, blue, yellow; secondary- combinations of 2 primary colors, such as orange (red+yellow); tertiary colors-these are a combination of a primary and secondary color such as red-orange. This is a large area to cover but what I want you to know is that these are what we call “pure” colors and their intensity is usually too bright for a room. Use them for a selection tool for your color scheme and then add a tint or a shade to them.

You can also choose monochromatic- one color, analogous- adjacent colors on the color wheel, complimentary- 2 colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel, or a triad- the most difficult to use (works well with fabrics) and includes 3 colors equally spaced on the color wheel.

Now that we have covered the technical end, what do you want your room to “feel” like? Warm and cozy, cool and serene, spa like, or just a touch of color. You will find inspiration in magazines but I would look in your closet, at your artwork, fabrics, area rugs and items that you can pull the new color from. What is your favorite color? Maybe you have a vacation photo that you can use for inspiration. Sometimes we do have to compromise with a partner. I usually find that you can both get your color needs met by choosing new fabrics and artwork or adding a second room color into the mix.

Be sure and look at the colors in your own home, in the daylight and at night. Paint out the color on a piece of white posterboard and tape it on the wall to see how you like it. If it isn’t quite right now you won’t like it when it’s painted on a large wall.

When you have a room that is an open concept be sure the colors compliment themselves and “walk” you through the home. They don’t need to be exactly the same colors but in the same color family, intensity and sometimes the value is important. This is where you may want to choose one solid neutral color for the body color, then punch it up with art, accessories, fabrics and a painted accent wall.

When purchasing paint, I like to go to the freestanding paint stores for help as they know all about their own brands. Get a good paint, yes it can be expensive but the viscosity of the paint will cover better, splatter less, and good paint adds a luster to the room. Many are VOC now and are environmentally safe. Paints companies are national, local and specialty. There are so many to choose from. I like Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, Pittsburg, Devine, Authentic, C2…………….many more.

It is important to properly prepare the items that are to be painted. If the paint store says prime first- they mean it. If your surface is glossy at all you must prime first for the new paint to stick. Then select the correct finish for the room. A flat or matte has a non-reflective surface so is good for ceilings or less than perfect wall surfaces. Some are now scrubable  if you have kids or are in a bathroom or kitchen it needs to be able to be washed without removing the color. Eggshell is a favorite as it has a soft glow but is easy to clean. Pearl or Satin is durable, slightly more sheen but not a semi-gloss. Semi-gloss is usually used for mill work and trim, is durable and washable with a shiny surface. Gloss- is high sheen! Remember the more the sheen the more you see imperfections.

Ceilings are a big topic. There is no set standard. You can paint your ceiling a white or cream color for contrast or the same color as your wall or a slightly lighter version of the wall. The same is true for trim. If you add a darker color to the ceiling it will lower the ceiling, if that is the effect you want it is fine.

You can use color to recede or expand your space. Just do your homework, it takes time to select the correct color. You may need more than 2-3 color swatches and paint companies. It is easy to change if you don’t like it in a year or two. Paint is the easiest and least expensive way to add character to a room.

If you are still afraid to take the “color challenge” contact Patty for your consultation.