BLACK. I love it. Why? Because it has every color within it. Actually, I love every single color on every single fan deck known to man. As the infamous designer, John Saladino, said: “The most important thing about color is that it cannot be isolated….Every color is only ever seen in juxtaposition with other ones.”
By this he means that a color on its own can look drab, washed out, too bright, too dark…on and on. But within the context of the combination of colors in a room, the artificial lighting, and most importantly, the natural light, any color can take on a surprising and fantastic role within the scheme.
Colors do have psychological references for people. My clients continue to amaze me with, for instance, what a poor little green can conjure up in their deep past! The green vegetables that one resisted as a child becomes – “that green reminds me of all the green beans I ever hated”. We won’t use that green, don’t worry. And we will probably avoid green altogether, just to make sure. No problem. When broaching the subject of color with my clients, my first question is not: “What is your favorite color?”, but rather “What colors do you tend to avoid?” Notice that I don’t ask them if they hate the color, because that very color may somehow make it into the room, if only as an accent!
Remember my client who “Asked for Red”? Well, he happens to be color blind. His brain mixes up certain colors and he cannot reference them in the way others do. This was very interesting for me, because he frequently asked me if things went well together, to make sure that we were in sync with the way OTHERS see color. At the same time, he was very sure that he loved certain colors, and we used that palette throughout his home. As the process went on I began to wonder if it really mattered if his color perceptions were “correct”. Whose brain is correct, anyway? These experiences are helpful for me because it always makes me questions my assumptions, and this will undoubtedly lead to creativity.
Speaking of color and paint, here are some facts about paint and paint finishes:
There are lots of paint manufacturers and they all have their pros and cons. Here is a list: Benjamin Moore, Donald Kaufman, Farrow and Ball, Stark, Martha Stewart, Sherwin Williams, Dutch Boy, Behr, Ralph Lauren, Devoe, Glidden, Valspar
Water Based or Oil Based?
There is really no reason to use oil based paint these days, except is very specific situations because the technology of acrylics has almost surpassed that of oils. Oil-based paint remains popular for metal surfaces, glossy woodwork, doors, and furniture, as well as demanding surfaces such as floors.
Flat: Ceilings, almost exclusively
Matte: is the least reflective sheen available – has a velvety texture – helps hides imperfections in walls and ceilings – offers great depth of color – is generally considered the standard sheen for walls – can sometimes be difficult to clean – but Benjamin Moore offers Washable Matte, which I use exclusively.
Eggshell and satin: have some reflectivity – offer improved durability – I use SATIN on baseboards, moldings, and doors – are frequently used in demanding environments, like kitchens and bathrooms, where easy cleanup without a highly glossy finish is desired
Semi-gloss and gloss paint: are the most reflective sheens – are highly durable and stand up to multiple cleanings – are traditionally used on baseboards, moldings, and doors (in commercial applications) – can make a statement, but also highlight imperfections
And don’t forget the BLACK!