Look first, before you read any further. Which undertones are the chair and sofa?
My good friend Jan Romanuk and her husband recently moved into a new condo. She asked if I’d come over to evaluate her colours. She had a plan but also wanted my opinion. Jan has been such an amazing mentor to me over the years, I was thrilled to lend my expertise in the colour department!
And, if you’re a designer, you can relate. It’s hard for us to decorate our own homes, something better, more fabulous and more perfect might be just around the corner. Sometimes it’s easier to not be so aware of everything in the world of design.
Here was her dilemma. Her sofa was beige and relatively new (and she didn’t want to change it) and she wasn’t in love with the idea of working with beige. It seemed so, well, dated. However, she had two new chairs upholstered in grey and her area rug coordinated with both.
After all, there’s nothing wrong with beige and grey together.
Jan has designed new millwork which will accommodate the television, however in the interim she had a piece of glass cut so that the TV could sit on top of the fireplace (below).
Love this IKEA hack (below). Jan placed a piece of granite on top and you’d never know the base was from IKEA.
Here’s another view of the chairs opposite the sofa.
And of course with neutral undertones, if it’s not obvious which undertone you’re looking at, as soon as I tell you what it is–unless you’re colour blind–most people can see it immediately.
So what’s your best guess?
You could guess, or pull out your fan deck and wave it around for effect ; ) ; ) and hope that you’re right. Or, if you had my Core and VIP Collection of large samples, one of them would be the perfect colour for this room because they have been specifically selected to work inside my Understanding Undertones™ system.
This living room colour palette is basically two colours so it’s certainly more straightforward than other living rooms but this is why it’s such a good example for this post.
For choosing a wall colour, the biggest items in the room are the first place to look. The upholstery, carpet or drapery are usually a good place to start. Here are the colour options for this room.
- A colour that relates to the chairs.
- A colour that relates to the sofa.
First, I pulled out all of the colours that I thought could work with either the chair or the sofa. Then I had Jan hold them up for me against the column so that I could see them (below):
We narrowed it down to a violet grey which was BM Abalone and a green beige, Manchester Tan. You might have noticed that the chairs had a purple undertone but the sofa was a little trickier because upon first glance, it simply looks like a yellow beige.
However, as soon as we eliminated yellow beige by using my large samples, we were left with a pale green beige that was a perfect match.
Next I turned some colour samples around to basically create a white wall and propped up the same colours to see if they still looked right. The white isolates them, so it is easier to view them this way.
They worked. And I’m also showing Grant Beige on the far right which is one shade darker than Manchester Tan (in the middle).
You can see that the first image with the purple undertone relates to the pillow (which relates to the chairs) and the second and third go with the sofa.
Both of these colours would work in this condo, I felt that the colour of the sofa should be repeated on the walls because the chairs and throw pillows are grey and the area rug reads primarily grey. However, Jan is leaning more towards the grey at this point, and perhaps going even paler towards BM Pale Oak.
Notice, that it’s super easy to simply choose at this point. It’s obvious now that we have narrowed down the colours to two undertones inside of the nine available.
The infinite world of colour gets really small in a hurry once you go about choosing colour this way.
Which would you choose? Post your answer below.
And if you don’t have your own set of boards painted already, this is the best place to get them.
Here’s what two of my recent True Colour Experts said about the boards:
Ever since I took your training in Chicago my interior design business hasn’t been the same…thanks to your 11 x 14 exclusive colour boards. My clients take one look at the large colour boards and how I use your system to enlighten them about undertones. They are always in awe and are amazed on quickly we can select the correct color for their space. They feel empowerment in being part of the process as well because they actually can see what the colour looks like in a large format versus a tiny little chip. I have gained new client’s trust much more quickly than in the past.
True story…just tonight I was in the furniture store selecting fabric for a client and a young lady was studying fabrics and I casually asked if she was working on a particular project. She responded that they was currently selecting paint colors and fabrics for a new home. I mentioned that I was a trained color specialist and that I use 11 x 14 colour boards for a better visual so you can actually see how the color will look in your room. She promptly asked me for my business card. I’ve never had that happen before!
Hands down I would recommend this colour training course to anyone in the design business or for the novice that wants to do their own home or their friends. It is a must in my humble opinion and worth every penny! Julie Kay Design
“I received my set of color boards just a few days after I completed Marie’s Specify Colour With Confidence training. Because I had the boards I could immediately apply the concepts I had learned in the course during my color consultation sessions with clients.
Armed with the boards and the knowledge and confidence I gained at the training, I’ve been able to communicate with my clients in a language they understand…visually. The large samples help my clients truly see the color in context and help me reinforce why the color I’ve chosen for a client’s space is the right one.” Arianne Bellizaire
Which colour would you choose for Jan’s living room? I’d Love to hear what you think!