Getting ready to tackle a new build home? You may be asking yourself: which undertone should I choose first if I’m starting from scratch? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
The beginning of beautiful
I love the sense of elated anticipation at the beginning of creating a new home. Whether it’s a renovation or a new build, the opportunity to create a home with everything you love in it, and nothing you don’t is a dream come true.
At the outset, you’ve got inspiration boards crammed with beautiful ideas, and confidence runs high. I’ve got this! I know what I like, and I will trust my instincts and choose finishes I love, and it will turn out beautifully.
Most often though, excitement turns to anxiety when the time comes to make all those complicated decisions. Anticipation turns into worry, am I making the right choice? For most of us, a new build or major renovation is one of the most expensive projects we will ever undertake. There is a lot of pressure in that.
Just choose what you like, it’ll all work out
The problem with making choices based on what you like is that all those tiles and finishes you like don’t all look good TOGETHER.
And what about lighting? It’s almost impossible for a novice to accidentally choose the right lighting unless they are literally copying someone else’s well designed house.
And, if you’re working with a builder, the design centre will have a limited range of offerings, and many of them will feel like they are going to compromise your style. What now?
Making your selections gets complicated fast
If you are even casually familiar with my system for understanding undertones, you know that choosing colour for finishes is not as simple as it might seem. The realm of choosing colour is where DIY and builder home projects most often go wrong.
I recently received this email from a lovely reader:
My burning question is which undertone should I choose if I’m starting from scratch? I’ve got your understanding undertones books and just like you said everywhere I go I now see clashing undertones!
But all your advice seems to be look at your fixed elements (stone, worktops, carpets that aren’t going to be replaced) and chose whichever undertones will work with the ones you have.
But what if you’re starting from scratch? We are completely renovating our house so I’m choosing everything: carpets, kitchen, wall colour. Is it just a case of personal preference or are some undertones “better” than others (ie easier to work with, look better with more colours, less likely to trip up the amateur?).
Thanks so much for your blog! I truly didn’t know what I didn’t know until I stumbled across you and your undertones!
This is such a great question, my immediate reaction was this:
If you’re renovating, why are you doing this without any professional help? You’re spending thousands and thousands of dollars and you have no idea what you’re doing!!
I recommend my eDesign packages to give you a plan. Otherwise, mistakes are just waiting to happen, given that it’s impossible to accidentally get this right.
How do I know this?
Because most renovations are terrible. All you have to do is start searching for a new house on real estate sites and that becomes painfully evident.
And, there’s no such thing as ‘the perfect undertone’. If I give you a ‘greige’ in the realm of ‘green grey’ which would be BM grey mist or classic grey, which is often found in a marble looking quartz countertops, what if you end up choosing a taupe countertop? There’s lots of finishes, including quartz with taupe undertones too since taupe is cooler than beige and warmer than all three undertones of grey.
That means the ‘undertone’ of your wall colour should, in fact be taupe not green? Not to mention all the other decisions that will snowball from the countertop choice.
Hope that helps! Have a space that fills you with happiness not regret! That’s my best advice.
My reader responded by explaining she lives in the UK and went on to say interior design is not a licensed profession there. Anyone can do it. She said doing an online search for interior designers in her area gives her two options, either a designer with flashy taste who only seems to work for the very wealthy OR the self-taught amateur who clearly doesn’t understand colour.
The power of knowing that you don’t know
It is very difficult to be sure that any designer you hire locally has a clue about colour. This is why I created my Online Colour Design Services, so I can help my readers, wherever you live, get it just right.
A timeless white bathroom via House Beautiful
Because it is so true, you don’t know what you don’t know. But knowing that you don’t know is actually very empowering. If, like my lovely reader, you realize that you really are not sure where to start, this is when you know you need to find the right help. I’m here!
It’s when you don’t recognize that you don’t know, that you start making decisions that begin to paint you into a corner. And often mistakes aren’t apparent until they are installed and too expensive to fix. Too often THIS is when the call for help comes, when it’s already a bit too late, you’re caught in a spiral of compromise.
And if you’re working with a limited range of selections offered by a builder, then it’s really important to be clear on what you want and why. Otherwise, you can go seriously off track and end up somewhere you never planned to be.
My spouse thinks I can make all the decisions (for free)
Often, the design decisions fall to one partner in a relationship. And the spouse that is handing over the reigns to the one that cares more about design, or has more time for the project, might say, ‘This is not difficult, it’s your dream house honey, just choose what you like, we can’t afford a designer.’
Because if you don’t care much about aesthetics, it might all be the same to you. And aren’t designers just for the rich and frivolous? How difficult can it be to pick tile?
One mistake avoided, pays for the designer
There is a huge misconception out there that design help is only for the very wealthy. When you’re planning your renovation or build, your eye is carefully trained on the ledger. What’s it all going to cost? Where can we save and still be happy?
I am here to tell you that the mistakes of inexperience are so much more expensive than consulting in the first place. Design help is NOT the place to skimp and save. It is the one investment that will add ease and beauty to your entire project. And, still the least expensive piece of the entire project.
The average new build requires hundreds of selections. Do you know which ones need to be made first? Do you know what the best neutral undertone is for your finishes?
My System for Specifying Colour – Understanding Undertones Colour Wheel. Available here!
If your answer to this question is no, my New Build and Complete Renovation packages are just what you need! For a fraction of the cost of having the wrong countertops or floor installed, you can get the guidance and reassurance you need to take the risk and stress out of your entire project.
So if you know you don’t know, I want to help.
Invest in intelligent colour decisions and fall in love with your new home. Together, we’ve got this!