All colors shown from the Benjamin Moore Collection
Let us help you find the colors that describe YOU!
Haven’t we all heard how artists love to paint in a north facing room because of its special light? Is that a myth or is there a scientific reason?
Each direction on the compass has its own light value, intensity and effect on an interior. North facing rooms sit in a light that has the least change throughout the day. This is the main reason an artist would prefer this direction. They could leave their work they created in the morning and come back to the same basic light and unchanged colors in the afternoon. Northern rooms can tend to be the darkest in the house, but painting them in a bright white won’t necessarily help either. White and creams can take on a dingy, gray, depressing look rather than a bright happy one. A better choice would be a warmer color in a light shade. Using the Light Reflectance Value (LRV) rating on color chip can help as a starter. Paint companies list the LRV of each color in the index of their fan decks or on the backs of each chip in the deck. Find a color on the warm side of the color wheel with a LRV greater than 60%. Your northern rooms may never see the sunlight unless there are windows with light coming from another direction and therefore can have a colder feel. A light warmer color would balance the light out, especially if the windows are smaller or shaded by trees, bushes or an overhang. Beware of yellows though. Yellow can be as intense as many whites and their LRV is misleading compared to other colors.
Kitchen and family rooms are great in an eastern exposure with their fresh, new day feel from the sun rising. Because the sun is at such a low point in the horizon the light is warm and glowy yet fresh. Colors can look their best in these rooms.
The southernly exposed rooms obviously have the opposite problems of a northern room. The light is strong and white to bright yellow. These are the rooms where fading of furniture and other surfaces (as well as in the west) has to be taken into consideration. Southern rooms are where paint colors can wash out in this stronger light and look pale or pastel. In the spectrum of color and its relation to heat which is measured in Kelvins, the hottest flame is white to bluish white. This is the same with the midday sun and so- its affect on colors.
Finally, a western exposure brings an entirely different light to a room with the setting of the sun. It takes on the warm yellow to orange glow of the sun and paints the walls along with the color you choose. The sun can be intense depending on the part of the country and the time of the year.
Two other factors that affect interior color are the kind of interior lighting you choose and the time of the year. We’ll touch on the lighting in another blog but just know that the winter light is a cooler more distant light and summer light is more yellow and warm.
Have you ever purchased a home you basically love but couldn’t figure out how to deal with a busy granite pattern, perhaps pink and black tiles in the bath or a room full of wood paneling in a unflattering color? How could these factors be neutralized you wondered. Turn to the next most dominating factor in the room. Kitchen cabinets next to the granite, the carpeting in the paneled room or the stone fireplace, the cabinetry in the bath. What do they have in common? And what era do they come from. Did someone throw a dazzling granite countertop in a 80′s oak cabinet kitchen thinking it would sell better? Sometimes that is the case and you have to then go to the third element such as the floor. Paint can do a world of wonders. Go to a paint deck and find three colors (doing this in your room) that you think would tie the space together better than what it is and neutralize the room bully! As in the case of granite, if it is not black, try the lightest, most subtle color in the stone. Often you have to resort to whites or creams with granite and just allow them to be a diva. Then go to the paint store and buy the samples of these colors, a brush or two and a roll of painters masking tape. After that go to the office supply store and get three pieces of white foam core board or poster board that you can cut into nice large samples, 11″ x 14″ or so. Mask off the edges of the boards for a 1 ” or more border with painter’s masking tape. Give each board two coats of paint, drying in between (save time, use a hair dryer). Stand them in your space and look at them at the various times of the day, with morning light, brighter afternoon light, in the dimness of evening and in artificial light. Does one sing to you more than the others? Does one seem to tie the “dominatrix” in the room to the next most pronounced room feature? The paint samples will also tell you if you will just have to give in and paint the oak cabinets or the room full of paneling. Remodeling is a process. Put thought and effort into it. What will bring you peace in the room short of a demolition? Get the basics under control and then you can get to the fun part: fixtures, fabrics, furniture, accessories.