We all know that color affects our mood. But there's so much more to how color can transform a room. I recently came across this stunning deep blue hallway, designed by Bachman Brown Design, in my Instagram feed and it stopped me in my tracks. It's a great reminder of how color can change everything.
When my daughter Andi and I created our paint company, Quiet Home Paints, I knew two things for sure — I wanted the paint to be non-toxic and safe, and I wanted our colors mixed to full spectrum. It’s the way an artist works and it was the way I was trained.
So what does that mean exactly? Full-spectrum paints are created using complementary colors, there is no added grey or black. If one is creating a less vibrant tone, the opposite color on the wheel is added. Contemplating a bold move? Go for it. Is it too bold? Take that heart attack red you're thinking of and mix in some green, this will dull it down without creating a muddy tone.
When shadows hit a full spectrum paint on a wall they reflect all of the tones of the color, soft purples, reds, and green, it's subtle, but it makes a difference.
Architect and interior designer Richard Morrison, who has been featured on HGTV’s “The House Doctor,” explains full-spectrum color perfectly:
“To the very casual observer, there probably isn’t an immediate difference, but full-spectrum paints react in subtle, yet very powerful ways to a discerning eye. Because it has a broader range of pigments in the blend, the paint reflects a broader range of light, and coordinates more easily with the colors around them.”
“It is almost chameleon-like in its ability to pick up colors from adjacent materials, and to change character as the light changes,” Morrison explains. “Because they don’t have any black, the colors don’t tend to turn muddy, or lose their character in low light conditions.”
I always tell my clients that the purpose of color is to manipulate the eye to see only what you want it to see. And what you don’t want to see. Let’s say you have an imperfect or crooked ceiling. Paint it the wall color. Wrap it in color. I know that wrapping color on a ceiling is counterintuitive, but it eliminates any point of contrast and the ability to pick up imperfections. The ceilings do not feel lower. Your eye can travel freely without stopping at a contrasting horizon line.
Another counterintuitive design trick is to use dark colors to help elongate a small or narrow room. Dark colors recede. Paint the far wall a dark color and the deeper tones will help push it away. This narrow living room, featured on Home Design Lover, boasts a dark wall, but it's placed on the far wall which makes the room appear longer.
Bring in some sunshine. In this lovely room designed by Liz McCabe, I created a wall finish of layers and layers of yellows and golds. Even on the greyest day, this room radiates soft warmth.
Conversely, these soft watery tones will keep this room feeling cool on the hottest day. And of course, there's more. Layered texture is always an important design element. But that's a story for another day.
Life can be hard. Let's make it pretty.