Painting Your Home with Loudoun County Interior Designer, Andrea Schwartz


I. Start Small

If you’re not sure where to begin with color, experiment in a powder room or create an accent wall. Use a favorite color or get inspiration from a color drawn from artwork, rug or magazine. Be sure to tie in something from the room just outside it for “flow.”

II. Think of a Mood

When selecting a color, consider the purpose and mood of a room. Soft, cool colors and neutrals create a serene feeling. Dark colors and those creating strong contrasts create a dramatic look.

III. Lighting Makes a Difference

Natural daylight shows the truest color; incandescent lighting brings out yellow tones; fluorescent lighting casts a blue tone. Each wall will look slightly different because of shadows and lighting. Select a color that looks best in the lighting for when you use the room the most often. Prioritize which wall(s) are the most important in case the color is not perfect on every wall.

IV. Know Your Paint Terms

It helps to understand the terminology used to describe color especially if you need help at a paint store. HUE is what we call a color. For example, blue is a hue. The VALUE is its lightness or darkness. Again, navy is a dark value of blue. When you add gray to the hue, you get a TONE. This would be a dusty blue. Adding white to the hue is a TINT. Now the blue becomes baby blue.



V. Always Test First

Testing your colors is very important. If you are painting directly on the wall, be sure to neutralize the wall color there first with primer. Paint within the primed area and be sure to make it large enough.Painting on a tag board is best because you can move it from wall to wall. Neutralize again by leaving a large white border. Don’t forget the ceiling (the 5th wall). White is not always best. Color helps show off crown molding and can dramatize a room.

VI. Add Depth to Create Interest

Transform flat, dull walls into interesting and personal spaces with subtle or dramatic visual texture and broken color. Burnished mineral/metal finishes and layered colored glazes add depth. Some examples of softly reflective metals are mica, copper, pewter, bronze and, of course, antiqued silver and gold.