Getting the Right Color

I made a mistake yesterday. I should have followed the rules. I’ve done this before and I should have learned my lesson. I got cocky and went against that little voice in my head telling me I should take more time to decide. I should have taken the color swatch home to match it up. But I didn’t. In my own defense I had my three year old with me and thought I would “save time”. So I got it home, painted a bit on the wall and low and behold…it looked BAD! So what’s a girl to do? Well, I really didn’t want to take my son with me, AGAIN to the store, so I decided to tint it myself. This wasn’t the first time I’ve done it so I was pretty sure I could make it better. Using acrylic craft paint I added a bit in the lid so I could mix only a small amount of paint to test. Then when I got the color I wanted, I added a little at a time to the whole gallon. It worked like a charm.

It’s a subtledifference but I like the new color so much better. The color on the far right is the original surface, the color in the middle is the “green”gray and the color on the left is the final toned-down gray.

Mixing some color into my paint.

So what was wrong with the color you ask? Well, it was a bit green looking. After looking at color formula I understood why. Added to the bright white base was black, blue and yellow. I wanted a grayish brown, kind of taupenot greenish. Darn, remember self, don’t just look at the color swatch but pay attention to the color formula. Silly me!So when I painted the color next to my brownish, gray counter, the original color looked green and it made the counter look pink. So I added maroon to the paint to test it out. I had a visit down memory lane. I thought back to basic design class and color theory. The more contrasting the color (colors that are across each other on the color wheel…i.e. red and green, yellow and purple, orange and blue) the more the paint will bring out the other color. So my paint looked green next to something that now looked much more red. By simply adding more red to the paint I was able to tone down the contrast so both the counter and paint looked much more neutral.

Here’s an example of some colors below. Say you have some nasty ’70’s looking cabinets in your kitchen. They are wood but the finish of them are orange-brown. Pretend you have plain white walls when you move in. With white walls, the cabinets stick out like a sore thumb. If you paint your walls blue, the cabinets will look more yellow orange. Since blue is directly across of orange from the color wheel, they are contrasting colors and using these make the other existing contrasting color bolder. Painting your walls yellow will actually make the colors read more as a neutral. Purple also acts like blue making the wood look more yellow. So…if you too have an eye-sore in your home, you can try to minimize it by controlling the colors that are around it. It’s as simple as a gallon of paint (and maybe some old acrylic paint you have laying around, if you try to cut corners like I did). Good luck!