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Maria Killam wrote a blog Introducing the Understanding Undertones® Colour Wheel yesterday, which is so simple to see how and what colors work with one another. For those of us in the decorating industry we are all gaga about it. Back in May I took her intensive three day course; let me tell you it was chock-full of information and how colors complement one another.
She easily breaks down how colors work with one another by their undertones. When you look at a room and it’s fixed elements i.e. the floors, cabinets, stone on a fireplace… they all have a color right? The area to concentrate on is what the predominate undertone in those elements are. Some people can see it, others can not, and if you are in the can not group then it is worth every penny to have a certified True Colour Expert™ help you out.
You may think that a builder for a new home knows what they are doing when they paint the walls, but I have seen many new builds that have cooler toned fixed elements and the walls painted in warm tones. They do not work together. Color not only translates to what is on the walls, but also all the other elements throughout a space in a room. When we see a room pulled together correctly we drool over the space. The design is complementing the colors through the space. There are many professionally designed rooms that do not have the colors correct, but when it is done right it is harmonious.
So if you want a home that is coordinated and balanced, one room flowing into the next without jarring feelings, color can be the element you have overlooked. Not sure how to pull it off? It is worth every penny to have a True Colour Expert™ come and help you out. Think of it this way; an electrician, plumber, or lawyer – they all have skills that you do not embrace, pay for the help it’s worth the small expense.
Here is my testimonial on Maria’s class I took this past spring:
House color has a big impact on curb appeal. Have you ever looked at your house and felt that it could use a change, or that it might not be the right color? There are several factors to consider when you are choosing colors for your house.
First, take a good look at your house. Details like stone work or your roof are features that typically would not be painted. So use these as a place to get your inspiration for your new colors. Typically I suggest choosing two or three colors whereby the main color is going to be the siding color that will coordinate with your roof and stone work. Keep in mind that the color you choose due to all the light reflecting on it from the outdoors will probably appear lighter than the tiny chip so get a few sample pots to compare. Apply to the different sides of your house to see in various light.
Next consider the style of your home. For example, a Victorian style home can have earthy tones or vivid energetic colors, while a Farm house style is classic in white with black shutters, which would not necessarily complement the details on a Victorian style house. A modern style home looks good in a monochromatic color theme, whereby a craftsman style home would look best in colors relating to nature. Research different color combination on Pinterest and Instagram for images and ideas.
The next color to consider is for the trim. Typically trim is done in a white; but when I say white you have to pay attention to the undertone of the main color you have chosen. If you have picked a brown toned paint for your house, you will want a more cream colored trim. If you have picked a gray toned paint you will want a whiter, cool toned trim.
Last are the shutters, and/or doors. Again they need to relate to the elements that you cannot change with paint. Here I typically will suggest a dark color that relates to the undertone of the main house to give these detail a little pop. The door can be the same as the shutters or trim, or all together different but be sure to relay it to the main color of the house.
As for the finish of paint flat or eggshell are good choices for wood or textured siding. The more texture the more flat your finish should be, sheen enhances the lumps and bumps. Hardie board and vinyl are good looking in eggshell or satin. Trim and doors look best in satin giving the features a rich look.
Have more questions? Feel free to contact me. If you do change your exterior and love the results shoot me a picture!
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Did you know the color of your walls could actually hurt the sale of your home? It’s true, certain colors are a real turn off to buyers, and you have heard me say it before, ‘never give a buyer a reason to walk away’ when you are selling your home.
Color can be very personal, it is similar to keeping all your personal items throughout a house when selling. In a poll done by realtor.com they found 58% of homeowners would not decorate in orange, black or violet. If you have these colors on your walls you should tone those colors down prior to putting your house on the market. Remember when it comes to selling you are trying to appeal to the broadest range of buyers, this is not the time for you to show off your personal taste.
Saturated colors are a turn off and can hurt the sale of your home. The bolder the color the harder it is for the buyers not to be distracted by it. Real estate agents, TV shows, and articles repeatedly direct sellers to depersonalize and de-clutter their house before putting it up for sale, color can be just as personal so tone it down! The more you can make your house stand out and not your “things,” you will improve your appeal to buyers. I cannot tell you how many times I go on a consult to find a red dining room. Yes red is to be known to stimulate appetite, but it does not necessarily stimulate buyers to purchase, it might stimulate them to run- not what you want!
Neutral colors are desirable to buyers when selling. Softer shades of colors create a serene feeling. By choosing calming shades like HC-171 Wickham Gray, or OC-53 Horizon by Benjamin Moore it will add a bit of color to the walls but be neutral enough that buyers will like it.
If you are one that absolutely loves color and has to have it, use it as an accent throughout the house. Of those polled 41% preferred the color used as accents instead of on the walls. By using the color as an accent it gives you flexibility too when decorating, it is a lot easier to change out a few pillows, accessories and art than repaint an entire room.
Keep in mind that the hard finishes like floors, counters, tiles, cabinets etc. tend to take command and dictate the colors that should be used in the house. If you are not loving these colors in your home, when you are selling at least try and work with them to create a harmonious feeling through the house, it will leave a better impression on the buyers. Keep in mind that bold saturated colors along with orange, purple, and black are very personal and should be toned down when you are selling, in the next house you can start fresh.
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Looking at beautiful home interior designs is an enjoyable past time of mine. The combinations of furnishing, layout, and composition of the room are intriguing. You might think “oh bore!” What I do find interesting are the minimal looks that appear in interior design magazines apply to successful home selling.
While minimal interior design to some might feel like there is no life in the room, what it does do is show cases the room’s features. In home selling that is exactly what you want to do, show case the homes interior not the “things” in the interior. The “things” in the interior if complementary, add to show casing the house.
When selling a house it is very hard to look objectively at your home and make it into a house that many buyers would want to have. In order to have a high success rate in selling that is exactly what you need to do, minimize, look objectively at what you have and then selectively choose what to leave when you are ready to sell.
I know many client will say to me, “I love watching HGTV and the way they make the homes look on the shows.” Yes, keep in mind those that are creating the look you love are professionals in the field of decorating and design. They know how to selectively and objectively look at items that when put together create a universal look that buyers will want. Why do so many viewers enjoy watching the shows? Because you can get some good ideas and see, right there, you are just like me enjoying looking at beautiful interiors!
So what are the parallels and essentials of minimal design and staging? Having neutral furniture is essential, neutral meaning solid key piece in the room. If we are working with a living room think of a neutral couch since that will be the key piece. Adding simple tables, updated lighting and a few accessories is all the room will need, if you don’t have those, then get a hold of a professional stager and rent them. In a bedroom the bed is the key piece of furniture, make sure the bedding is luxurious and the feeling is relaxing. The bathroom(s) keep the color on the walls a soothing soft blue, green, or neutral color, white add fresh, fluffy white towels and you will have a winning combination.
To make a house “flow” and feel pulled together use a common color in your accessories throughout the rooms. By doing this it also gives the house the feeling of minimal but pulled together with “life.” By neutralizing the furnishings, using accessories that coordinate the spaces together you will have a minimal, but appealing house that today’s buyers will love.
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Say What!?! How can a house be in charge of choosing colors, you ask. It’s simple really, if you are in a home that has it’s floors, cabinets, counters, tiled walls, and back splashes installed the colors and undertones within these fixed elements are going to dictate what colors will work well in the space.
After taking a class with Maria Killam this past spring, she confirmed my belief that home owners believe they know what they are doing, but typically get it wrong. Many times I will be asked to come to someone’s house because they feel the color they chose is not exactly working as they expected. Most likely it is because they chose a color they liked, not one that correlates to all the fixed components that make up a room, that are already in a space. I have seen and compared many colors in various spaces over the years. Clients tell me “but this one is my favorite color” even though it does not relate to the space, they want to believe it works but deep down they know it does not, hence the call.
So here are some tips along with an example that I feel might help others when they are trying to choose a color for a room. First look at the fixed elements. Those are floors, stone on fireplaces, back splashes, counters, cabinets, or millwork- things that will not be changed or will be easily changed. Second, take note of what else is going on in the adjoining rooms. By doing so this will start to create the “flow” or continuity throughout the house that professionally designed homes have. Next, study those fixed elements in the room you want to add color to.
Here is an example, a friend of mine decided that changing the counter top in the kitchen would update it’s feel. Recently she had installed a Uba Tuba granite counter. Pretty, in the light, greens and gold could be seen.
In her kitchen the counter top “played” on the black side but you could see the movement and a hint of the undertones. She was asking my advice on picking a back splash and really loved travertine.
OK, so when you put these together some might say when studying the stone up close, travertine has gold and black flecks throughout so it could work…. I know because this is what clients say to me all the time, but what color “plays” the most in the travertine? Pink. The travertine she was choosing was similar. Unfortunately the pink is so dominate that it does not compliment the greens and gold undertone in the granite. My suggestion was to go with something more solid than the travertine, she really wanted something that would “pop” like the travertine and did not want “boring” white subway tiles. We looked a various solid glass tiles as an option, which she was not interested in, I then suggested just painting the walls with a color such as Benjamin Moore Dill Pickle, and do a boarder of Uba Tube.
This way the counter would be the star of the kitchen and pulling the color of the counter and cabinets together. Unfortunately she did not like that idea either, and even said she did not see the green at all in the granite! Instead she decided that the travertine was what she really wanted and had it installed. She has not said that she is loving it, and I think too afraid to tell me she now sees it was not the right choice.
Moral to the story: Listen to your house and it’s fixed elements, pay attention to what they are saying concerning color. If you do, and work with those elements you will find that your rooms will feel cohesive and put together.
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