Your Personal Paint Palette from a Photo

It’s the fun part of decorating that many people find rather mind boggling – choosing a paint colour. If you regularly read my blog, you will know it’s a subject I frequently write about but today, I have found another way to kick start the inspiration required when selecting colours. Of course there are many things to take into account when choosing colours which I have discussed in detail previously but if it’s a starting point you are looking for, why not try this.

People tend to be naturally attracted to “colour groups”. The groups may be seasonal colours ( see previous post Finding your Dominant Colour Personality), or environments such as woodland, beaches or urban colours. However, why not flick through your photo collection and find an image with appealing colours. It may be tricky picking out individual hues so why not pixelate your image and discover a palette looking right back at you?

I very definitely fall into the “beach” category so this photo of a Isle of Syke beach throws back a palette which is ideal for me.

As nature is an expert in combining colours, you may find this wild flower meadow a good starting point.

Looking for some natural grays? What about this group of Parisian pigeons

Or your favourite piece of contemporary art?

You may find a palette in a surprising place. This serene palette is a photo of graffiti I saw in New York City.

As you can see there are infinite possibilities so have some fun with your own photo album. Why not have your pixelated image enlarged and printed onto a canvas, a unique artwork for your room – the colours will be perfect!

Decorating with Yellow

I have “empty room syndrome” today. I get it whenever I clear a room of furniture. The room didn’t look particularly scruffy when it was “dressed” but now it’s empty it really is asking for a new coat of paint. Well this is good news because I can choose a new paint colour.

I am trying to recreate the sensation I felt when I saw Wolfgang Laib ‘s  hazel nut pollen art installation last year. I would defy anyone to look at this work and not feel gloriously happy, rooted to the spot and completely mesmerised.  The colour of the pollen simply could not be improved.

Wolfgang Laib's Hazel Nut Pollen

As it’s a highly saturated colour I will only be using it in a small area (plus yellow “grows” and intensifies when on a wall).

I am going to mix my own yellow – the reason I am doing this is because it’s a pretty tricky colour to handle. It is all too easy to get greenish undertones in yellow paint because if you try to darken yellow by adding black, instead of turning a darker more intense hue, it actually turns green, very easily and quickly. Plus, you may not see the green under tones until you have painted it all over your walls…..

yellow + black = olive

If you buy ready mixed paint, ask the manufacturer if there is any black in the formula and if there is avoid it unless you want a greenish tinge.

Another thing to bear in mind is that yellow has a high LRV (light reflective value) so it bounces back most of what hits it. It is therefore greatly influenced by surrounding colours – even from outside. If you have leafy green trees outside your window, the yellow will take on a greenish tone. If you live opposite a red brick building, the yellow will look very golden. Lots to consider but get it right and you’ll not be disappointed.

Confused, too Many Paint Swatches?

We’ve all done it – spent a fortune on tester pots and painted squares all over the house. Of course it’s a good idea to paint swatches (paint as large a sample as possible) in order to check the colour in varying lighting conditions and to make sure you  feel comfortable around the chosen colour (check out my previous post if you wish to mix your own paint colour). However, even after all this effort have you ever felt disappointed with the colour of the room once the decorators have left?

Well I have a simple technique which may help you. Unfortunately I can’t claim that it is my idea, I heard American colourist Lori Sawaya suggest it. Most paint swatches tend to be square or rectangular. However, squares have fairly rigid boundaries and seem to contain the colour inside their shape. Circles on the other hand do not have such rigid boundaries and do not constrain the colour within them. They seem to allow the colour to radiate from the circle and make it much easier to imagine a larger space painted in the colour of the swatch. It’s a very simple idea which I have tried (I painted a cardboard pizza base) and it definitely helps.

Of course there are many other factors to take into account including the fact that if your sample is placed on a white wall, your sample colour will look darker than it will look once it is painted all over the wall. For instance if you put a very pale sample on a white wall it will look quite “coloured” but once all the walls are painted in the pale colour they may almost appear white again.

Lots more decorating tips coming in future posts….