May 7, 2012

Colour It Your Way

Manufacturers offer all the tools required to choose just the right paint in the right shade to give your home a whole new look.


The world of paint is capricious. As evidence: some colour experts believe that trends in palettes directly reflect the global mood – be it uncertainty or more settled times; others say nonsense, that style and tastes operate independently. Many homeowners play it clean and safe with shades of white; others insist on the latest fancy.

There are points to be made for either side. White opens up space and makes way for colourful accessories while bolder shades make more of a statement. Feature or accent walls? Avoid them like the plague, says one designer. Why not? challenges Benjamin Moore colour and design consultant Georgina King.

“A feature wall enables someone to go wild with a colour they love but contain it within one place. I designed a bedroom for a teenage boy where we did mainly white with a feature wall with Hot Tamale, a bold red, to give him a splash of colour. I also have another older client who tells me each time I see her how much she loves her accent wall.”

To simplify the whole colour-selection process Sherwin-Williams recently launched its interactive, web-based tool, Chip It! First step, create a profile at then add the Chip It! bookmarklet to identify up to 10 Sherwin-Williams paint colours represented in online photos

“We know that finding the right colour is the biggest roadblock for customers when they are ready to paint a room – they want it to be right the first time,” explains Jackie Williams, director of colour marketing for Sherwin-Williams.

The company’s ColorSnap, a free colour-matching mobile application for iPhone, Blackberry, Android and the Android Galaxy tablet, lets customers browse existing images or snap a new photo, scroll around to locate the exact hue to match and then displays the closest Sherwin-Williams colour and coordinating palette. You’ll find it at

Benjamin Moore’s Color Capture tool for iPhone and Android OS phones, a handy little app, allows users to take a photo then find a match from more than 3,300 paint colours. Colour trends for 2012? There’s a broad spectrum. “It’s all over the map,” says Georgina King. “They’re calm – all hues of grey from the blue/greys to the warmer brown undertone greys – but also look for bright, cheerful, invigorating ’60s and ’80s colours like the oranges, fuchsias and reds.”

Most popular colours? Led by Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2012, Tangerine Tango, orange is definitely a go-to colour in all its manifestations – watch for it on front doors this summer. Benjamin Moore chose Wythe Blue, “a beautiful, calming hue that has an element of heritage that offers grounding rootedness, providing comfort and stability.” Sherwin-Williams selected Argyle, Jordan says, “as it represents nostalgia, the colour of commerce and anticipation of greener pastures ahead.”

There’s no excuse to flail about, overwhelmed by the thousands of selections when manufacturers guide the process with tools such as colour guides, colour visualizers, perfect palettes or fan decks. Benjamin Moore’s Affinity Colours Fan Deck, inspired by global fashion trends, far-flung locales and nature comprises 144 versatile hues, each designed to work on its own, or harmoniously in combination, whereas its Classic Colours Fan Deck shows 1,680 classic colours as well as 174 historical colours.

Sherwin-Williams’ 2012 colour forecast features 40 earth-inspired hues in four groupings: vibrant reds, blues, greens and neutrals, with such delightful, evocative names as Kimono Violet, Daredevil, Honourable Blue and Believable Buff. Not brand new but an important advance in paint technology are the waterborne alkyd interior paints with low VOC content and easy cleanup with soap and water, a popular replacement for the oil-based trim paints.

A significant recent development in the world of paint relates to coverage. Gone are the days of four and five coats, especially when using intense, saturated reds or oranges, thanks to paints such as Benjamin Moore’s Regal Ulti-Matte and Aura Matte, both waterborne interior paints, self-priming and requiring far fewer applications.

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