The painter is hovering, waiting for the list of paint colours for your house and he starts next week. You’ve tested them, but the colours you were so sure of yesterday are suddenly looking. . . wrong. They might be right, but at this point you are willing to pay to make sure. So you pick up the phone to schedule a consultation.
I have shown up at many a consultation (when I was new–before I had this conversation with cilents in advance) and the space was completely empty. The clients furniture was either in their last house or still in storage. And they were looking at me, expectantly, waiting for me to pull some magic out of my fan deck (no pressure here!).
Here’s what I know now; sometimes, this cannot be helped. We all know every new space is custom, the furniture you had before doesn’t work or you need more/different pieces to make it your own. Many times the client is saying. . . “We are getting all new furniture so just ignore this”, and so on.
This is fine if you decide to hire the designer to help you to source all the furniture and decorate and style your new home. However, if you are simply investing in the 1 – 2 hour Colour and Design consultation, here are the best ways to get the most from your designer:
Option 1 – You have existing furniture
1. If there is anything at all–including bedding for your kids rooms, a sofa cushion from the one going in the media room, area rugs–that you are moving to the new house, either bring those pieces with you or have the designer come to your old house first. She can get a feel for your style—including picking a range of colours that go with the area rug in the living room, for example– that you might use in the new space.
2. If you have art, bring it or if that’s too hard to manage, pictures from your digital camera are better than nothing.
3. When the consultation is in a brand new house, usually the time to schedule the colour consult is after the drywall has gone up, before all your finishes are about to be installed. That’s when you need that box of tile and granite to be there. (Click here for more on new house colours) And/or everything else discussed above. In this case, since everything will be covered in drywall dust, it’s definitely best to go to the old house prior to arriving here.
4. If your consultation is happening inside of a renovation– BEFORE you install that granite countertop with the pink undertone [read more about undertones here] and the backsplash with the slight yellow undertone that you may have missed–Have a selection of finishes that the designer can tweak at the last minute if necessary, it might make all the difference between ho-hum and fabulous! A professional can visualize what all those installed finishes will look like and can save you from making expensive mistakes that you have to live with.
5. If it’s simply time for new paint colours, all of the above still applies. And please, if you have purchased new furniture and it hasn’t arrived yet, make sure you take the time in advance to go and borrow the fabric samples so that we have them to work with during the consultation.
The more you have for inspiration, the more interesting (and accurate) your colour choices will be. The magic I mentioned earlier? The more prepared you are for the consultation (with everything I’ve talked about including magazine clippings of what you like or even don’t like), the more magic you will get.
It’s pretty hard to get excited about any colour when it doesn’t relate to anything in the room because it’s empty.
Option 2 – What if your house IS empty?
1. You are moving in AND buying all new furniture OR buying in the near future so you CERTAINLY do not want the colours picked from what you have now!
2. You don’t have a choice. You are NOT moving into the house before it’s painted and you haven’t decided which direction to take with your home decor.
Hiring a designer to select a palette of colours is still the easiest and most cost effective solution.
We can help you choose the colour of your furniture and accent pieces because there are too many choices (see more about leather/fabric choices here) this is also the time when you can discuss the renovations you are planning to make sure you are going in the right direction in addition to some space planning so that you know exactly what to buy when you do go shopping.
Why you can’t afford NOT to Hire a Colour Expert
The 3 Most important words in a Colour Consultation
Hello again Colour Me Happy! I was just perusing your blog, and that colors and pics you select are vivid and striking. Good job!
Also, I wanted to send you a link to SciART, the professional colour company who trained me. Their website is http://www.coloranalysis.com, and they offer this phenomenal 3-day color mixing and matching class. I thought you’d be interested in knowing more, as it is considered to be advanced level color training. Just a thought.
So true, so true!
Colour consultations are like going to the salon for a new hair style. The more prep you do in terms of what style has worked for you in the past, celebrity cuts you like, highlights versus all over color etc, etc, the better!! You would never go to a brand new salon and say, “Do whatever you want, I have no idea!” so why do that with walls in your house?
If you have never had a colour consultation before, do it! You won’t believe the value you get both from the actual colours suggested (that you might not have ever considered before), to tips and tricks to maximize space and make the best use of your existing pieces. Best of all, Maria is one of the best!
Great advice! Maria
I wish all the clients I had in the past would listen and be prepared – sometimes they think that we the designers and colour consultants are magicians. There is a lot to take in consideration to create a stunning colour choice.
I love that idea about the head boards – I see those a lot on DIY and it’s a great idea!
Maria–this is so interesting to read–even if it is after the fact. But it brings up an interesting question. I think I picked the wrong counter top paint which is a bad thing considering it is $20.00 per gallon. It's called Rosemary and I'm afraid it doesn't go at all with the grass cloth color (Behr). There was the option for a different color–very close to the Grass cloth and now I'm thinking I should have got it instead. I'm going by Home Depot tomorrow and I'll see if they would consider taking it back.
I posted photos of the paint samples I brought home from Home Depot today. I had to make my own personal paint samples on card stock so they can match them using their store brand paint. I didn't mind because the price was fabulous!
I won't be posting this week but I will check comments. Thanks again for your wonderful advice!
Hi, Maria…I have a question about the photo, in number 3. It looks like muted sofa with fresh colors? I love the colors, but is this one of those instances, when only a designer would be able to know how to do this? Or maybe it’s just my computer playing tricks on me. As you can see, I’m trying to learn, everyday, so thank goodness I have older posts to go to. I look at them all from a different perspective, everytime. So grateful to have them.Thank you. Love you, Candy XXOO