Sophisticate Interiors Interior Design

Sophie during a paint color consultation.

Blonde color on the walls, shows off the white mantel and crown molding


By Sophie Azouaou - Correspondent - © 2005 SophiSticate Interiors
Alameda Journal, Friday October 14th, 2005

Decorating your home without the help of a professional can be overwhelming. Three important things to consider when you start the project:

  • Wall coverings: paint, wallpaper and borders
  • Window coverings: drapes, shades, shutters
  • Floor Coverings: carpet, tiles, wood floors and linoleum

Ask yourself what needs to be changed.

  • If the walls need to be repainted, if the wallpaper needs to be removed, if the walls need to be textured etc…
  • If the drapes, the blinds are dated or if they should remain.
  • If the carpet, the tiles or the linoleum are old and need to be replaced.
  • Try to be objective and most of all try to see your home in the “eyes of a stranger”, someone who has never seen your house before and what he/ she would change or do.
  • The first important thing when redecorating your home is selecting the paint.

Painting can be the least expensive thing to do in the redecorating process and it’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do! Beautiful crown moldings, baseboards, built -ins are lost against white walls. But they will be enhanced and will look beautiful with the appropriate paint color. A neutral sofa or a set of armchairs can be uninviting but will “come to life” with the right paint color in the room.

Here are 5 simple steps to follow
when selecting paint for your home:
1. The Paint Finishes
Four most common finishes are:

  • Semi gloss finish: for bathrooms, kitchens, baseboards, banisters and doors.(it is easy to clean)
  • Flat finish: for walls, ceilings in dining rooms, living rooms, entrance, hallways etc…
  • Satin finish: for bathroom cabinets (you can also use Semi Gloss, the Satin finish looks more elegant and works very well with dark colors such as brown and black).
  • Egg shell: for all walls and ceilings as an alternative to flat finish. It has a low sheen to it and is easier to clean.

 2. The Paint Samples
There are three popular choices:

  • Colors to go: most paint stores such as Sherwin Williams sell them.
    These are paint samples in small containers for you to take home and try. If your paint store does not carry them, you can also buy one quart of paint for each color of your choice. Do not buy bigger than quart sizes as you will not use much.
  • Giant paint swatches: they work well. Most paint stores sell them.
  • Small paint chips: they are available for free everywhere. But the 2’ x 2’ paint chip is hard to translate to an entire wall.

I recommend buying paint samples.

3. Testing the Color

  • It is better to test the paint directly on the walls, as colors can look different when applied to a wall.
  • Paint small squares approximately12’ x12”. Wait until the square completely dries, from15 to 20 minutes.
  • Remember that a color will look one to two shades darker when dry.
  • It is safer to opt for one shade lighter when you purchase the paint.

4. The Number of Colors

  • I recommend selecting 3 to 5 colors maximum for your entire house.
  • Your house should not look like a rainbow of colors. The colors should work together for a harmonious flow throughout the house.
  • You can choose only one or two colors if you prefer and use different shades of that color. This is usually done in smaller houses.

5. Choosing the Colors

  • Evaluate the space: the smaller the space, the lighter the color should be. Small spaces need very little color - Large space can take deep and even bold colors.
  • For a refreshing and cooling effect: usually rooms that face west or south and get too much sun. Choose light blue and soft green colors.
  • For a warming effect: rooms that receive little light. Choose yellow, gold, blonde or orange colors.
  • For a sophisticated look: choose rich dark blue, dark green, deep red or burgundy colors.
  • Try to coordinate your colors with your furnishings, window coverings and floor coverings.
  • After you have selected the colors, look at them at different times of the day.
  • See how the natural light plays on them.
  • Check the colors in the evening as well to see how your home lighting reflects on them.
  • Try to live with the colors for a few days. Then you will be ready to make the final decision.

Keep in mind that Interior Decorating trends change all the time.
Select what is right for you not “the color of the season”.
Your home should be a reflection of you and who you are.
Happy Painting!


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