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Dream Home News, Issue #012 -- What Color Goes With ... ?
November 01, 2009
Welcome ...

... to your new (or your first!) issue of Dream Home Decorating News - this month, we're looking at wall color ideas and ways to influence how a paint color will look on the wall.

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Thanks for joining me today, and enjoy this issue!
Renate Hering-Shepherd

PS) If the newsletter is difficult to read as an e-mail,
read this issue online.

  1. Publisher’s Note
  2. The Color Course Sneak Preview: Color & Pattern, Part 2
  3. List of the Month: What color goes with …
  4. Reader's Question: "... Crayon Box Explosion?"
  5. Legal Stuff

Publisher's Note

I hope this newsletter finds you healthy, radiant, and happily flouting a handful of decorating “rules”! (Keep nurturing your wayward, creative genius! It’s yours, and it’s gorgeous!)

For the last few months, color questions have continued to pour in, including many questions of the What-Color-Should-I-Paint-My…? kind. Inspired by all the input, I’ve made a new, longer list of interesting color matches for you to experiment with. Use them as starting points for wall color (or fashion!) ideas, elaborate on them, invent new combinations, and send me your photos. (I love your photos!)

Below, you’ll also find the second installment of the Color Course sneak preview, to complement the first part that you received with the September newsletter. If you have recently joined our community of Dream Home Decorators, you can download Part 1 here to get the full picture.

Finally, check out this month’s excellent Reader Question and find out how to take the ‘fake’ edge off modern wall colors.

Enjoy! And have a wonderful Christmas/Hanukkah/Al-Hijira!

All the Best,

PS) The new look of this eZine is the (de)sign of things to come – I am about to transform the whole site so that you can access more information more quickly, efficiently and comfortably. Over the next few weeks, things might get a little wobbly whilst the pages, one by one, take on a new look. I appreciate your patience and look forward to your feedback!

PPS) If you haven’t seen a lot of new development on the site for a while, it’s because I’ve been gallivanting around the planet, including a trip to Tasmania, where I taught an interior decorating class and gave a talk to the Colour Society of Australia. I hope you’ll forgive me … once you see all the new stuff appear on the site. (If you’d like to be alerted to new pages as they appear, please subscribe to my RSS feed!)

PPPS) If you happen to know where I can buy a month’s extension for the year 2009, do drop me a line! ;-)

Color Course Sneak Preview, Part 2

Here it is: Color & Pattern, Part 2

If you want to open the file in your browser window, just click on the link. To download the file to view later, right-click on the link and choose "Save Target As" or "Save File As". Then select where you want to save the file on your hard drive. Once you have saved the file, locate where you saved it, and double click to open.

If you haven't got Adobe Reader, you can get it here (a new window will open so you can download it without leaving this page).

List of the Month:
What Color Goes With … ?

The list has now migrated to this page!

Reader's Question:
"... Crayon Box Explosion?"

Q: Is there a trick to choosing "natural" looking or nature-inspired colors for walls instead of them looking like a crayon box explosion? I love a beautiful piece of blue-green seaglass, but can that possibly translate into a true-to-nature, mature wall color? Would a tinge of grey add realism? How about texturizing or faux finishes? THANK YOU!

Carmen - (P.S. I have espresso colored cabinets, super blonde floors, medium to dark wood furnishings, and neutral fabrics.)

A: Hi Carmen, your general color scheme sounds great, and I think your ideas for addressing the problem are spot on. There are basically three ways to make wall colors look more ‘natural’. You can do it by …
  1. manipulating the topcoat paint color, or
  2. adding texture to the paint or the wall, or
  3. layering paint colors.

1. Manipulating paint color:

You can add liveliness, complexity and sophistication to a wall color by mixing it with a bit of
  • gray (this will mute your paint color slightly, but strangely, will bring it to life at the same time) – or:
  • brown/ochre/raw umber (this will muddy the color & give it an ‘earthy’ cast) – or:
  • a related hue (this will create a subtle color bias) – or:
  • its complementary color (this will discolor a hue slightly, and make it look more complex and lively).
Depending on the results you want to achieve, you can use all four methods together. However, there are two risks with this process:

a) If you go on mixing too many hues, you may end up with a paint color that just looks murky and ‘nothingy’.

b) You will need other complex, subtle colors in the vicinity of this paint color. If you use clear, simple hues on other walls or on the furniture/floor coverings, then your elegant, sophisticated, creative wall color will just look grubby by comparison.

2. Adding Texture:

There are loads of faux wall texturing techniques, and you will find a lot of them explained and demonstrated on the ‘Net. They all add a measure of shadow to a surface, and the wall color looks more ‘alive’ through that added shadow. Let me just cover two of those techniques here:

a) Mix latex wall paint with silica sand (you can buy it in different degrees of fineness; the finer the sand, the finer the texture on your wall).

Apply the paint/sand mix with a low-pile or sponge roller. This technique works at any gloss level. During the painting process, you have to keep stirring the paint as the sand will settle on the ground of the tub. There's no fixed sand-to-paint ratio for the mixture - you just experiment until you have a degree of texture that you're happy with. Alternatively …

b) … paint under and over crinkled tissue paper: Scrunch up and unfold a square of tissue paper and smooth it down onto a patch of freshly painted wall, with the wall paint still wet.

Then roller-paint over the crinkles, leaving them to form an interesting textured pattern on the wall (you can push the paper around on the wet wall, using your fingers to manipulate the look and direction of the crinkles). Add the next piece of tissue paper so that it overlaps the first. Work your way methodically sideways/down a wall, until the surface is completely crinkled up ;-)

3. Layering Paint Colors:

The basic idea is to combine two (or more) wall colors so that one peeks out from underneath the other. This creates an illusion of depth, and the variation in paint color hues gives a ‘natural’, organic impression.

The technique works best, and looks the most natural, if you combine two colors that are quite close in tone and/or hue, e.g. one is a tad lighter than the other, or one contains a little more green than the other. You can

a) colorwash a liquid, transparent topcoat glazeover a basecoat, wiping it on with a sponge, brush, or rag . This would give you a ‘glassy’, watery effect. Alternatively, you can

b) sponge or rag a more viscose, less transparent paint over a basecoat. The ‘drier’ and thicker your paint is, and the more you dab a sponge or roll a scrunched-up rag (rather than ‘wiping’ the topcoat onto the wall), the more you will create a ‘stippling’ effect with defined borders to each stipple.

Like the other tricks above, the “layering” techniques all help take the synthetic edge off commercial wall colors. For the best possible results, always make sure you will have uninterrupted time to finish every wall in one go, while the paint is still wet.

Good Luck!

Get Answers:

Looking for specific home decorating information, or want a question answered? Search Dream Home Decorating and the 'net here!

Legal Stuff

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Here's to a gorgeous home – yours!

"See" you again on January 1, 2010 -
Renate Hering-Shepherd

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