Create the perfect palette by asking the right questions

It’s been a long day. You’re tired but finally home for the night, ready to relax. And dinner? That’s probably the last thing you feel like doing.
While we often attribute long workdays and other daily circumstances to the less-than-thrilled feelings toward making dinner, the real culprit might be painted on the walls.

“Color has a huge effect on mood and how a room feels to you,” says Lesley Riva, author of “Paint Style” (Firefly Books, 2008). “If you choose a color you hate or that is depressing, you don’t want to be in the room … [and] this can really affect your behavior. In the kitchen, for example, cooking becomes a chore.”

In her book, Riva explores everything from choosing a room’s colors to adding decorative finishes. But when selecting a color palette for a room, she emphasizes that the first step may not involve paint at all.
“I think sometimes people think about color right at the beginning, but it’s really one of those things that can wait toward the end,” says Riva. “Paint is really versatile and often the least expensive thing you’ll invest in.”

While blues are calm, cool and are said to lower your blood pressure, reds are more stimulating and are supposed to encourage conversation and appetite. Peachy colors reflect well on skin, making them good for bathrooms. Riva recommends looking to the traditional color wheel for advice.

“It depends on the effect you want to have,” Riva says. “If you want a soothing relationship … choose analogous colors (colors next to each other) on the color wheel – it’s going to feel very mellow without a lot of jarring contrast. When you want a shot of energy, look for complementary colors (colors across from each other). [They will] play off each other and give instant energy.”

Another clue comes simply from the clothes you tend to wear.
“If in your closet you have a lot of bold, bright color, then go for it – you already know you like to live with it,” Riva says.

Your palette also depends on your daily habits – for instance, if you work and watch TV in your bedroom at night, you might want warmer colors (like reds and oranges) that look good under lamplight. If you like to wake up early, you might want cooler colors that look good in morning light, like periwinkle or lavender.

And when in doubt, Riva encourages remembering that paint doesn’t last forever.

“People should not be fearful of color,” Riva says. “If they like it, there’s probably a reason, and it’s an easy thing to experiment with. Don’t be scared: Embrace it and experiment – it’s not a big deal to repaint.”

Riva offers the following five questions in her book to help guide homeowners in their paint selection process:
1.What mood do I want to create?
2. What space do I have?
3. What colors do I already have in the room?
4. What is the setting?
5. What’s the available light?
© CTW Features