Planning a whole house palette is somewhat of an art. Of course, I don’t know your level of expertise. And yet, there’s one thing I’m absolutely sure of; neither novice nor expert will walk into a paint store, flash the dealer a smile and say: Surprise me!
So we need to start somewhere, which is why I created what I call a process palette–(click back for a refresher), a collection of the unchangeable colors I’m surrounded by.
Today, I’ve made up a quick drawing of my floor plan. Don’t panic on me now.:) Nothing fancy here–could be a layout of your space on the back of a Cheerios box. Let your kids draw it if you’re nervous, and then transfer each of your reference colors onto the drawing. Having a visual reference in hand which designates the placement of existing colors throughout the house will not only help you to maintain a pleasing flow, it will act as a knowledgeable and comforting friend, helping you to make your choices confidently.
Now it’s time to get busy, either working from or around the existing colors. As a practical matter, few of us can heave all of our furnishings or carpets into a dumpster and start from scratch. So we need to get our color fix in whatever rooms we have, that are willing to see it our way. In my house, the entry foyer is very willing!
Shaded by the portico outside, the entry is dark, and I’m going to use this circumstance to my color picking advantage. On a sunny day, and for most of the snowy winter, anyone who enters my house needs to take a minute to allow his or her eyes to adjust. People instinctively look up when this high contrast, light vs. dark transition thing happens. It’s sort of a “give me a sec while I get my bearings” moment. Because everyone who comes through my door needs a little time, and looks up, I’m going to add a very strong statement color to the ceiling. My guests and I will all have a color to admire while we gather ourselves.
Generally speaking, I would choose the warm blue grey of Winter Lake 2129-50 or Normandy 2129-40 for a space like this, and it would be lovely on my foyer ceiling for sure. But I don’t want to advance any kind of nautical or water inspired color reference. I also want to reduce the contrast inside the foyer as much as I possibly can, without turning it into a cave.
There’s a lot happening in this small space already. There’s lots of movement in the hand-painted black and white “wallpaper” and more pattern in the strie below (Blond Wood 1067, over Ivory White 925). The grey floor is neutral but a color all the same. The door is cherry and a tiny bit red. Plus, I have black, white, 2 beiges and a trim color. Seven colors in a 9′x9′ space; be brave my color companions!
Sometime in January, long before I began my color palette planning, I was standing near a window just before dark, looking east over the river. The sky was a most amazing combination of violet, lavender and purple; twilight, or as my photographer husband calls it, ‘magic hour.’ The colors settled deep into my color reference and lo and behold, here we have it: Bonne Nuit AF-635, along with the picture I hurried my husband to capture in January.
More than a splendid color for the ceiling in my foyer, this color turns up often–over the river, in the early blooms of crocus, and the purple magnolia trees, and on my reference plan. In truth, I picked the color without considering any of this, but I love it when my reference colors support a bold decision. How could I go wrong? Bonne Nuit AF-635 it is!
There’s one more tiny tweak I can add to the foyer to settle the entire collection of colors down, and bring the foyer into the adjoining living space . . . ten colors and counting–it’s going to be glorious. : )
Benjamin Moore Colors: