OH NO, I HATE THE COLOUR!
I recently repainted my home studio/office, it was the final room left to paint in an apartment that was entirely the same colour, a colour that I refer to as masking tape beige. I’m not fond of masking tape beige. It’s not only that it’s bland, it’s a colour that doesn’t make any sense in my life. It doesn’t work with anything I own. Every time I looked at a room I felt that my furnishings and art were living in some kind of limbo. There’s a presumption that one colour throughout a house ties things together. At times that’s true, but there can also be times when it leaves things feeling disjointed. Masking tape beige is also one of those colours that looks dirty and tired, there’s nothing fresh about it.
My studio is a creative space, I needed something that would support and enhance that creativity not drag it down.
I wanted a light colour for the studio, I also needed something that wouldn’t overwhelm colour samples when working on colour schemes for clients. Many would say that the perfect colour would be grey and I can’t really argue with that. When I’m working with clients I always look at colour samples on a grey background. However I simply couldn’t bring myself to paint any room that I must live in a pale grey. It would make me sad.
I opted for a lovely pale blue from Benjamin Moore’s Colour Stories line of full spectrum colours. It’s called Cool Breeze.
One needs to be careful when choosing a blue because they intensify more so than other colours and can overwhelm a room.
The first thing I did was to cut into the narrow wall above the doorway. I cut in along the ceiling, down the two edges of wall and across the top of the door frame.
When I came down off the ladder I stood back, looked at the pale blue and…
It looked awful, it seemed like a bright and obnoxious baby blue, not at all what I wanted.
This is the point where the majority of people would run back to the paint store and frantically attempt to choose a different colour. Digging themselves deeper into a pit of anxiety and frustration as well as laying out a tidy sum of cash for another gallon. If I didn’t know better I might have done the same, but I do know better.
The first rule of colour application – never knee jerk.
Rule number two is, you must wait till the paint is dry to get a better sense of the colour.
It’s not always easy to trust a colour. They can seem like a person whom you really need to rely upon and they’re letting you down. The disappointment can be devastating. However, knowing what I know I kept painting. Usually once I have finished cutting in around the ceiling I move to cutting in around the floor. This time I thought I would do an experiment. I wanted to see if my feelings about the colour would change if an entire wall was painted. So, I rolled out the wall around the door frame. It’s not a very big wall I admit, but I still didn’t like the colour. I kept going because there are several important things to keep in mind when making a colour change to a room.
The first is that when we look at colour what we are looking at is reflected light. A colour in a room isn’t true until it’s reflecting off of itself. Even with two walls painted you still have your old colour reflecting around the room.
The other is one of the most important things to understand about colour, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again,
colour is all about relationships.
The blue and the beige were in a disastrous relationship where the beige was having an extremely bad influence on the blue. The blue was never going to become fully itself until it got out on it’s own.
Once the room was fully painted it looked great.
The one last thing I had to do was paint the door frame the same colour and that clinched it. It had previously been painted the same beige and even that small bit of it was dragging the blue down.
Light blues open up a space and that’s what has happened, it feels clean and light and airy. In the end the colour turned out exactly as I expected, but as is so often the case with colour, one must keep the faith.
This is one of the reasons why it’s preferable for clients not to be home when the painters are working, it’s not complete until all the painting is done. The truth is even then it’s not really complete, furniture and art will alter the space yet again. In my case I knew that the birch furnishings, white shelves and white accent pieces would work really well with pale blue.
Another thing that frequently happens when you change the colour in a room is that it changes your feelings for it. In the past I would avoid working there, I’d take my work to my living or dining room. Now I’m so happy to work in my studio, I love being in it.
So the next time a colour starts to be applied and you think you don’t like it remember not to have a knee jerk reaction. I know it can be difficult but try to be patient, give it a chance to fully reveal itself.
We live in a world in which we rarely don’t know the answer to something. We can go online and look at a menu before going to a restaurant. We can Google any topic that leaves us with a question. We can find out immediately what song is playing or get turn by turn directions to a destination. Yet there are still some things that need to be revealed in the fullness of time. There are still times when we have to venture into the unknown and make a leap of faith, colour is one such instance, personally I think that’s a good thing.