Tuesday, January 17, 2017

How to Pick Paint Colors: Magazines vs Real Life

 Color: Benjamin Moore Aura in Woodlawn Blue #HC 147
Picking wall colors can be daunting, and the best way to find a good one
can be locating a color from an online image or a magazine, but then you must
follow through and get a sample of the color to put on your own walls.
The reason is that magazines can saturate or lighten up actual results and the 
color will be very different than the one you admired.
Often asked questions on my blog are about my own wall colors.
They want to know the name and brand of the paint I use for certain rooms.
Our living room was painted a year ago in Woodlawn Blue.
  This blue has a bit of green to it, and its such a pretty color.  
Things that are more blue make the walls look green,
and things in the room that have more green make the walls look blue.  
The color will be darker when it is cloudy outside or at nighttime. 
The blue will vary on each wall, depending upon the lighting.
My camera may lighten up the color too, depending upon the setting
I use, but this color is pretty much how I think it looks, at least on my screen.
But take a look at how it looks in the current issue of Romantic Country magazine.
Its more aqua, and every color in the room is more intensified, from the 
pinks to all of the blues.  The blue wall here is more aqua than this color really is,
so never pick a color from a magazine photo without testing it first.
 That being said, I love love love this blue paint!
Color: Benjamin Moore Regal in Natural Elements #1515 
Our dining room walls are a taupe color that has a warm tone.  
Some taupes and greys are cool, and some are warm. 
 I have not tired of this neutral color one bit. 
The woodwork is White Dove by BM.
 This bench is in the dining room, and so the wall color 
is the same as the rest of the room.
It is a nice neutral, very light and it appears to go with everything.
 This is the same bench and wall in Romantic Country magazine. 
 The day of the shoot it was so gloomy and 
so lighting was used to simulate daylight. 
Notice how the wall color looks to have a green undertone. 
 My hallways all have the same color, Natural Elements, with White Dove trim.
Using one neutral color will unify the spaces when you have open spaces.
When I painted the living room walls blue, I had to pick an ending point for the
blue color, and you can see right there in the corner by the door how it looks. 
 Benjamin Moore Natural Elements #1515 in matte finish
 Behr paint from Home Depot in Contemplation
Our bedroom was the most "styled room" in the photo shoot for Romantic Country,
as you will see below.  But here it is as we normally have it, mostly blue and white. 
The wall color is also another pretty blue with a green tone.  
Romantic Country Magazine image shows the walls to be more intensified.
So when you love a wall color in a magazine, beware!
Benjamin Moore Aura Spa in Simply White
Our master bathroom's walls are in last year's Color of the Year 
by Benjamin Moore.  I used Aura Spa on recommendation of my paint 
guy at the local paint shop and I hated this paint.  It is supposed to have a 
built in agent to resist mold and mildew, which we really did not have any 
issues with anyway.  What I found was that I needed three coats to cover 
the beige paint that was on the walls, so the effort was incredible to just paint
the walls white.  Next time I would use plain Aura (as it has no VOCs) and
I think it would have been two coats to do what took three here.
But I digress, as we are talking about how paint colors differ from images
found in magazines and in real life.
Can white look different in a magazine?
The Romantic Country magazine image has lightened everything up and 
all of the colors are intensified, and the white looks brighter.
I do love the color, Simply White.  My woodwork is White Dove.
The bathroom cabinet is the same as the wall color
 in the bedroom, Behr Contemplation.
Picking out samples from a paint store can be the most difficult thing to do,
and my recommendation is to pick what you are attracted to, then dial it down
and select a color similar but a lot lighter and a bit muddier.  It will look
more sophisticated instead of something that came out of a crayola color box.
Benjamin Moore Aura paint, Basil Green #2029-10, matte finish
Unless that is what you are going for, lol!
My son, Brandon, an artist from Los Angeles, picked this color out.
Turned out a month later Pantone picked a similar color 
as the color of the year for 2017.
This color has more yellow in it, than our green does.
I would have gone with a color that was more subdued and darker, 
but in the end it is a very fun color and everyone loves it.  
It "needs" things on the wall to balance it out, 
and the black and white is a great neutralizer to its boldness.
When Fifi O'Neill arrived for the shoot, she looked at the tv room 
and said, "oh we won't be shooting this room, it is not romantic at all".
That made me laugh, and of course it is true.  It would have taken 
a flower cart filled to the brim to bring romance to that space.

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  1. Hi Amy,
    As always your home is so lovely and you have chosen perfect colors. I'd love that you were featured in the magazine. I guess not every room can be romantic, after all we do need a place for the guys and a place to plop down!

  2. At the risk of offending . . . . I disagree with Fifi; I think the "Green Room" is very romantic. You made sure your husband felt comfortable in the home too; you took time and care to put together a thoughtful space with his taste in mind and to me THAT is romantic! Too often we get tunnel vision about our homes and making them how we want them without regard to family. Thank you for showing us we can have the best of both!!

    1. That is true, and a good perspective, thanks Robbyn!

  3. How the sun hits affects the color we perceive, and it's something that evolves during the year. You did a beautiful job--there are subtle changes from room to room, but the overall effect is unified. I love how you dealt with the chandeliers in the bathroom.

  4. Your home is just SO beautiful! I have been painting all day, speaking of paint!

  5. i love all of your beautiful wall colors throughout your home...the blues, that fabulous green and the neutrals....Yes, I can say that the wall paint certainly does look different "in print" that happened to me and I assume with most photo shoots!....LOVE that photo of you and Fifi...two pretty ladies on a sofa!

    1. You know exactly what I mean, as your lovely home has been published, and its so fun, but you never want people to paint walls thinking it will look like the magazine pics. Thanks Shirley!

  6. Wow, the colors are very different from your shots to the magazine shots. Looks great both ways.

    1. Kim, you too have been there, your home is so beautiful! Thank you!

  7. Thank you for this post. Though I must admit, I am a little disappointed. Well, not really, I did discover you and your blog as a result...but I bought the magazine because I LOVED the color of the walls on the cover and in your bedroom, in the magazine. The real colors are beautiful as well, but I have been searching for a more blue-green color and thought the cover photo was what I was looking for. :( (I was hoping to find the name and finally finish my kitchen! LOL) Maybe I will just have the cover colormatched. Thanks again for this post!

    1. Hahah! Well it is what it is! And I am so glad you found my blog through the magazine, thanks Kim!

  8. Great post, Amy...and so true-you can never pick a color by looking at it on a magazine or computer. I find even those little sample tags you get aren't really adequate. I always buy one of those little testers and paint a 2 x 2 foot square on each wall to see how it will look in different lights as the day progresses. It has saved some expensive mistakes. White Dove has been my "go to' trim paint for over 20 years. I have used it in our last 5 houses and still love it. xo Diana
    ps- Your home is as beautiful as always.


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