When I was a new designer and I had to choose a sofa for a client, I would show up with my binder full of every sofa style available.
Then as I gained more experience, I realized that doing that made me look like I had no idea which sofa was the right one. And looking back, I mostly didn’t. I was hoping my client would choose to take me off the hook.
It works the same with paint colours.
If you hire a designer or colour consultant and you are left with 10 (or more than 2) different shades of neutrals or colours to test for one room or one exterior?
Well, she (or he) doesn’t know which one is right either.
And she is hoping that one of them will be right or that, in the end, you will choose.
Vanna White doesn’t choose letters for you, she simply reveals them for you and points.
And just to be clear, every designer is Vanna in the beginning of their career. You can’t possibly know all the answers until you gather enough experience.
I used to follow my mentors around and write down every single thing they said during a consultation. I thought doing that would give me all the brilliant answers to why they made the suggestions that they did and soon I would sound just like they did.
But every consultation is different, and as I soon discovered, I simply had to put in the time and make all the mistakes that would eventually turn me into an expert.
There are basically 9 neutral undertones, 3 greys, 3 beiges and the secondary undertones which are outlined, in detail in my first eBook, How to Choose Paint Colours; It’s all in the Undertones.
Therefore, if you know what they are, the paint colours you are specifying for your client get very limited really fast.
Interior Design by Maria Killam SW 7555 Patience (pink beige)
Tobi Fairley Green Beige
If your client wants a grey palette, you’ve just eliminated pink beige, green beige and yellow beige (above).
Same with gold beige, orange beige and taupe. Now we’re left with violet grey, blue grey, and green grey.
If your client does’t want a blue house, that eliminates blue grey right now.
What about a purple undertone? Could be, there are some pretty ones that might be right.
Then green grey. That’s the grey that often looks the most like a neutral grey.
So now we’re at the end of the neutrals.
Pretty easy really. If you know your neutral undertones.
And this is the reason you should have a maximum of two paint colours to test for any given space.
Because we’ve just taken the world of thousands of neutrals and eliminated all the undertones that are not a consideration down to one or two.
By the way, I wrote an article the other day on Medium. The DIY Guide to Getting your Dream Kitchen. Don’t miss it.
And come back here and tell me what you think!
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