Paint Chipping Part 2 – 5 Ways to Expanding Your Color Vision


An expanded Chip it palette from an abstract image on Pinterest

Before moving on, I must take this opportunity to share a viewer correction:

Betty shared via today: ” Chip It! actually gives you up to 10 colors. Just click the “More colors” button underneath the Chip it! card. Here’s what happens when you Chip the image larger and then select “more colors”. Thanks to Betty for today’s topic!

I am not sure what to feel worse about – over-looking the sledge-hammer obvious “more colors” option or that it provides more colors – I loved it when I was using it improperly because it made it really possible for me to show everyone how I actually see color when I am talking about it.

But Betty makes an observation that would be really obtuse to ignore (or as in my case, really silly to overlook). and wiping some occasional egg off the face does everyone a world of good, in my view…yet from a standpoint of simplifying color use for people who are less comfortable with it, the expanded view might lead to more solutions than answers.

Tools are only as good as the processes or formulas of the user. So let’s break it down, and keep it simple.

Paint stores feature foreboding walls of paint chips – thousands of choices, lit in a manner that you will never encounter in any home setting – so let’s begin at the beginning. Don’t forget to live with sample color on a white background for a few days before you sign off on your design!

Let’s start with yesterday’s rice patty image, and consider  the words of Henri Matisse to begin:

National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. image – Wikipedia

“When I have found the relationship of all the tones the result must be a living harmony of all the tones, a harmony not unlike that of a musical composition.
—Henri Matisse

The image (below) from nature truly embodies Matisse’s description, and shows an expanded view of 10 colors derived via Chip – it! Note the variation between my additional color and that of Chip it! There is no technology that can replace what draws you to color, or the perception of the human eye – but if you find you have difficulty visually articulating your color preferences, a tool like this comes in really handy.

Here’s what I see as the minor color range:

Now here’s the expanded Chip it! selection:

Rice patty image with 10 shades via Chip it

There’s no right or wrong; they are two  different and equally viable views of the same color palette. It just comes down to preference – let’s go with the Sherwin Williams take on color and make it work.

1) Don’t fall in love in the paint store. If you have a different love affair every time you paint a room, your see-through or open format layout will have no unity.

Let’s say we’re working with an open floor plan – here are the 10 colors. Interestingly enough, Chip it! has divided the colors into warm and cool tones – this is not a built-in function, but I suggest you start with this step on your own, because:

2) whether your color palette monochrome, complimentary colors or Analogous color, as the image I have chosen (schemes are based on colors adjacent to each other on the color wheel) it’s important to have some differentiation or your room becomes dull.

3) Your room has many layers of color. If you are unsure of brighter color, divide your room into color opportunities based on your  proportionate color comfort zone. Try the 60/30/10 rule – (which is not my favorite because it leaves out floor and ceiling color) but it gives a place to begin – 60% is wall color, 30% furnishings, 10% is accents. If you are challenged by color make that 90% those cool neutrals.

image from Jones Design Company

If your only almost in love, don’t be scared to make some tweaks in the color palette – this is foundational to applying your own personal signature to color. Variations on the classic theme I chose here make inspiration plentiful, such as Martha Stewart‘s website. She built an entire color creation story on colors very similar to our inspirational rice patty ( I feel a sudden need for an espresso, biscotti and a copy of The Good Earth).

The Chip it! palette in close contrast to one of Martha Stewart’s Supernatural color palettes

4) Combine some of those neutral base colors with pieces that are unexpected so that there is a harmony between what the contributions of the neutral and accents palettes – if all your flash comes from bright accents, your room will be about as predictable is the ending of a Scooby Doo mystery!

4-Door cabinet from OneKingsLance – image from OneKingsLane

Your neutrals can perform double duty in your design – define their interest via shape, surface and texture.

5) For color comfort sprinkle your brights like cracked pepper on organic salad colors, like our Pinterest inspiration image.

Bright pops of our palette colors – image via HGTV

You can also reverse engineer your palette to stay on the lighter side by eliminating warm tones altogether to make vivid cool color pop even more.

neutral palette with thomaspaul pillows – mikeandmcgee.blogspot

A special thanks to Betty for that correction – and remember everyone, above all else, don’t shy away from making mistakes! Mistakes litter the path to great discovery and no great design ever came from an ethic of safety!

Tomorrow we get out of our color comfort zone with rainbow brights!

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About Kimberly Latimer

My background is in fine arts. In addition to residential work in interior design, I have designed both product and packaging for childrens' retail products at Disney's Animal Kingdom and Natural History Museums in the US and Canada. I am an expert in color and my style embraces color, art and up-cycling for a green edge to design.
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