Choosing Colours: Part TWO


May 17, 2016 | ROZ MORGAN

My little dog Fisher got into the paint the other day. I had to stop what I was doing to give him a bath. I think he is looking sheepish. Whatever I am doing he has to be right there with me.
If you read the post before this one you will now be ready to go to the store to pick some colour chips and hopefully buy some sample tins of paint. When we go we will bring our piece of inspiration fabric or what ever it is we are using to inspire our colour choice.

Fabric is easy for inspiration because we can put the colour chips up to it.  Photos are a lot harder because we have to guess what the colours are in the first place.   A favourite painting has sometimes inspired a client’s whole house.  We will also bring a piece of white paper or card stock if we have it. You will see why as we progress.

It is rather daunting when we look at the chip rack and look at hundreds of colours. No wonder the vast majority defer to beige or white.

Beauti-tone paint


So here is a peice of fabric a client and I used for her living room.  I stapled this to a piece of card stock and kept it in a folder for reference.  It goes wherever I go when I am out shopping for her.  My client has one too.



Peacock Swatch

When we get to the store we are going to take the fabric and pick out a few colour chips that are close to the colour we like in this fabric.  We have already decided on a pale taupe for the walls an off white for the trims and blue for inside the book cases.  We can take the colour chips that look right and compare them to the  colours in the fabric that we wish to pull out.  When we are happy with our colour chips  we then need to put our choices  on our nice clean white card stock.   Because, look what happens when we don’t.

See how different this colour looks when you see it on red, which would have been the background on the fabric. It looks like it is white, so if you had painted it on the trim you would have had the wrong white.  It would have been pinkish.  When you see it against white, it looks truer to its real colour. And so we went back for another white.

So now you have chosen your best colours. And you have asked to have sample tins mixed so you can go home and test your choices. Some people will buy several samples. For instance; I would probably try to match the yellow too and see if I preferred it to the blue.

Next you drop by the dollar store and you buy several sheets of white bristol board and some foam brushes. Make sure you have an extra piece that isn’t cut up. The rest of the bristol board will be cut into four pieces.

Now paint your bristol board pieces with the paint samples. You will need several coats but usually they dry in about 15 minutes, each coat.

Paint your bristol board


Notice the difference between the paint chip and the actual paint colour.    The taupe also looks very dark in this picture.  This is because it is lying flat on my counter.  It was much lighter.


Paint your bristol board


Now tape the big piece of bristol board to the wall  and then tape your painted samples to the white board. REMEMBER Never put the paint chip on the floor to look at the colour.   Lying it down flat will darken the colour.. It must be up against the wall. If you are changing the ceiling colour you must put your paint sample up on the ceiling. It will be darker once you tape it up there.


paint your bristol board

You can see that in the artificial light the taupe has gone greyer. At least I hope you can see the difference in the photos. You would then have to decided whether you wanted to try a different wall colour that stayed warmer at night. It might need to have a tiny bit more red in it. This one was a purplish gray and the blue shows more in the artificial light.

Paint your bristol boardThis is the safest way to get the right colour.

So this is what our fabric and samples looked like when we had made our final decision.  We also did a grey because we decided to border the curtains with grey.


We cut a two inch strip off the bottom and cut it into three pieces and stapled it to card stock to go in our reference file.

This was the final result

This is a small snippet of how it looked in my client’s home.

And here is the blue in the book case.  A little grainy but my client got an offer on her house and sold it before I could get pictures 🙁



When I do a colour consult for a client this is the process I more or less go through. I already have large colour swatches for several paint companies because it makes my process so much quicker.

If you want to love where you live call me: 416-577-4944 or email me at  I do  e-consults too!

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