BY MARILYN WILSON, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN July 11, 2014One of the questions I am most often asked is what colour should an owner paint their house or condo. It’s a great question, and one that deserves a more insightful answer than simply one colour name.
Those who don’t consider this question tend to paint with colours that were already on the walls or repaint their new place in the same colour they had in their old. While a fresh coat of paint is certainly nice, you can make it twice as nice by choosing a new colour that is more on trend.
It seems a simple task: going to the paint store and choosing the hues with which to paint. But you’ll live with these colours day in and day out, in every light and every season and this thought is what drives people to persist with neutral tones.
Neutrals can be excellent, but don’t interpret that to mean boring pinky beige or elementary school yellow.
Perk up your selection by consulting top interior design magazines such as Veranda or Architectural Digest, or visiting the showrooms of top condo developers to see what their designers are choosing. By experiencing their design choices and palettes, you can expand your own ideas of what’s in and what’s great.
It’s amazing how a subtle change in tone can revive and reframe your furnishing and art choices.
Over the past few years, popular neutrals have changed from beige tones to grey ones and while there are many to choose from, paint manufacturers offer a wealth of information on their websites to help guide you with the latest colour trends. Or you may find it worth the investment to hire a designer for colour specific wit and wisdom.
Trends for 2015 are emerging as pre-fall fashions hit stores this summer. These colours, chosen some time ago, are influenced by the trends of both international interior designers and cutting-edge fashion designers from hues and tones seen on the runways of Milan and New York.
In turn, these colours trends are adopted during planning and development of new building projects. Some developers work with designers to select the colour palette for their developments as they come closer to the end of a project but basic tones and trends are chosen by designers sometimes years ahead for a large project’s brochures and project models.
Neutral wall tones are best because they allow you to accessorize at will with pops of colour or patterns elsewhere, letting you have peaceful, calming grey walls but adding your own personality in other ways. This way, special personality touches become more of a focus, rather than wall colour.
But be careful, on the other hand, that you don’t make your decor too neutral. After all, dreary winter days can mean you look out of a neutral room into another neutral space: a white winter. Consider what you’re looking out to and how that view will vary season to season. This is important if you don’t have a great view.
Another way to dress up neutral hues is by adding moulding or wainscoting to the space, depending on your architecture and furniture.
Something to consider when painting is the accoutrements. Should there be a contrast between trim, baseboards, door mouldings and wall colour? Some designers think ceiling paint should consist of one quarter of the wall paint colour. These rules change with the times in the same way paint colours come and go.
If you have unusual design features such as tray ceilings and niches, should you contrast them with the rest of the wall or simply extend the same colour into these nooks and design features?
I recently visited a townhouse that was repainted to define the mouldings and wainscoting. Before, everything — including the ceiling — was painted one tone. By adding a rich, light trim colour, the architectural features were enhanced and the difference in the space was astounding.
Bottom line? Make an effort to do some research before you paint.
Marilyn Wilson has been selling real estate for more than 24 years and owns Marilyn Wilson Dream Properties Inc. Brokerage, an Exclusive Affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate. She can be reached through dreamproperties.com.