Thank you to the Washington Post for including this post in your blog watch, September 17, 2009!
There’s wallpaper that you can buy off-the-shelf in a paint store–rolls of it, pre-selected in bulk quantities—but the choices are slim. To get the best selection, ordering through wallpaper books is the best way to do it. Usually higher end paint stores will have a wall of books to choose from. And of course your designer has access to wallpaper books as well. Then when you find a pattern you like in the book, you can borrow it and take it home to see if it works in your space.
Benjamin Moore in West Vancouver
If you are working with fixed elements in your bathroom, like this beauty [below].
1) Establish what you need to work with.
Here we decided the pink paint was toast (see how it doesn’t even match the toilet? The flowers in the wallpaper match (in another era) but the paint was more orange than the fixture. By the way, it doesn’t make the paint colour peach, it was still [unfortunately] pink, but that’s the comparison.
2) When you are looking for the matching paint colour (to your sofa, fabric, bedding, countertop, tile, etc) hold the fan deck on the wall beside the item you are colour matching. (Every homeowner should own a fan deck for this reason)
If you hold the colour chip on top of the countertop, you’ll get close, but to get a more accurate ‘read’ of the colour, it must be on the wall (where the wallpaper or paint is actually going to be installed).
Here none of these are the right one, OC-4 and OC-3 are too pink, and OC-2 is too yellow.
Here OC-11 Clay Beige looks like a pretty good match (considering the countertop is not a solid colour).
3) When you get to the paint store, grab the colour chip and it’ll be much easier to find the right undertone when searching through wallpaper books!
4) Determine which elements you will ignore, and which ones will work with the new wallpaper.
Since this bathroom had pink fixtures, a greeny beige countertop/sink, the wallpaper had to work with either one of these fixed elements. If you were to choose paper that had neither colour in it, you would now have 3 colours in the room that don’t relate to each other.
Since your wall covering or paint colour is designed to pull your space together that wouldn’t work. In this case we ignored the pink (because it’s so dated) and worked with the greeny beige. Then I picked the cream that matched the background of the wallpaper and the windowsills and remaining walls and ceiling were painted cream.
See the paper in this room? It’s orange and green and the wainscotting is [green] gray, with black floors and granite countertop. So here we have the black #1, the gray #2, in addition to the orange and green wallpaper [4 colours now] with zero relationship to the other two colours.
Of course, that is not the only reason this tropical wallpaper did not work in this craftsman style home!
I actually tweaked the wainscotting/ceiling/trim colour (although it’s probably hard to tell) and warmed it up to tie in with the taupe shades in the granite.
Then we took that paint chip to find some wallpaper and ended up with a silver/taupe foil look, we also updated the light and had a new mirror custom made for this powder room. (sorry the light is all glaring here again). It still needs art for the walls and an orchid but it’s way more glamorous and sophisticated!
Same idea applies if you are shopping for an area rug. Take your sofa cushion (or match the colour again if this is not possible and paint it up on a large sample) with you, it’s even more painful to schlep carpet after carpet home, only to find that it doesn’t work because it’s too hard to remember the colour in your head when you are already out shopping.
Creative Director and Founder of Understanding Undertones® and the Killam Colour SystemTM. Decorator, author, speaker and internationally sought after Colour Expert. See Colour DifferentlyTM with Maria Killam.