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March 14, 2011

How to Create a Perfect Color Palette 1, 2, 3, 4!

Lucianna Samu

I am over the moon today, blissfully poking around in my basket of loose paint color chips.  My Benjamin Moore fan decks are present and accounted for as well, but I don't need them just yet, and I will (almost) NEVER cut them up.  Whenever I have a palette to plan, I prefer to work with loose chips, gathered up from here, there and everywhere.  Flipping through the colors with an open mind gets me in a very good mood and I set aside any chips that I linger with for an extra second.  It's color picking Gestalt style--open-minded leap thinking--a belief that the sum is greater than the parts.  I'm not trying to make anything yet, and I'm not doing much thinking either--just perusing my options . . .


Once I'm a little color delirious, I'll get to working on what I call my process palette.  To begin, I'll choose a group of reference colors that represent each unchangeable color already in my house.  So far, my process palette looks like this:


Interior Reference Colors

Floors, marble, cabinets, upholstery I'm keeping, plus metal finishes, brick, and wood surfaces . . .


Almost forgot the range!

Next, I choose some colors that represent what I see outside my windows throughout the year.  In my house, the contrast between the colors of summer and the colors of winter could not be greater.  The trees are as much a part of the interiors as the smoky grey mist, which hangs over the snowy river for most of the winter months.

You may not have a view, yet there are still a group of colors that get into your mind before you walk though the door.  Like the fixed colors inside, the colors outside of your home have an influence your color perceptions.  For that reason, it makes sense to work them into your color-selection process.

Let's see now, I have horse fencing, the river, trees, grass, a relentless grey haze, and SNOW.



Exterior Color Reference

So far, my process palette is looking beautiful; lots of ideas, but not a single wall color yet for inside the house.  I'm getting there, though--it's a process!


Final Reference Colors

I know from experience, that this is when many of you will start thinking 'I'll just go with the Linen White.'  That's an option, but I have much more colorful plans!

Go, gather up your reference colors.  I'll meet you back here next time!

Stay colorful,


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Are you planning a project too Vanessa? Spring is such a great time for a quick color fix!

Windows--ugh! Improvements do make some trouble, but I like to use it as just another good reason to paint. : )

Wondering if your color is "ROASTED" and not "burnt"--lololol-- Sesame Seed, 2160-40, a mid tone godly beige? Love that color. I used it in a stripe once, with mixed pale greens beautiful. If you get in a fix, visit the experts exchange on the Benjamin Moore Facebook page, and I am here for you too twice a week!

Hi Lynn--I'm admiring all the plums and purples in the Affinity collection as we speak--stay tuned...

Welcome Kristie!--we all have our methods don't we. : ) I so appreciate when fellow pros like you offer their thoughts--keep an eye on me will ya?!

I love the fall sky too Sonu--must be why I "need" that marigoldy orange (august morning) everywhere i live.

The winter sky here is especially interesting. It's violet!

I'll need to pick my colors before the tulips are in bloom--I'm overly inspired by natures palette.

I'm very excited to see where you go with all these colors. Can't wait to read more!

I painted my living room in a "similar" orange, my dining room ceiling in the olive green....all from Benjamin Moore. I'm looking at painting the rest of the house but we are slowly installing new windows - much needed - but it does a number on the paint...

Looking forward to the rest of your choices! I have painted our family room "Burnt Sesame Seed." Older name...
I'm stuck so I hope some of your choices will give me direction!

Please check out the new colours from Benjamin Moore in the Affinity collection- the colours are fantastic. Absolutely beautiful.

How fun! I love to see/hear how other color professionals choose palettes. Can't wait to see what you decide :)

Ahhh, those lovely color tools can indeed be used to represent all the color that is life! Looking out the window is a great idea. Even the light coming in is reflected by the season, don't you think? I personally love a good fall with light tinted with a fiery spectrum of colors reflected from the changing leaves!

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