As you know, on this blog I actively encourage people to contact me with a design question - 
which I answer for free.   
I have a few rules, though...

1. just one question

2. include photos if you really want a serious answer

3. I get to post it on my blog if I think it will be interesting for others

That's not asking a lot for a bit of free professional advice, right?  

More than one question gets us into the long distance decorating area of services 
and I have killer rates for that kind of help.  
It's also really, really fun!
You are the decorator - with my long distance help...
You hire the labor - or DIY it...
You go at your own pace...
You do a room at a time or get advice for your whole house - you are in charge of your budget.

Our Vintage Home Love

Out of the questions I receive from readers, I would have to say that 90% are about color.
I'm not surprised.

Take into consideration you are looking at a paint swatch smaller than the size of a business card, 
in fluorescent lighting in most stores, 
with hidden undertones
that will most likely change the minute it is painted on your walls,

1) you have different lighting than the store; 

2)  color will intensify or change based on the size of your room and height of your ceiling, 

3) color will be affected by the light where you live, the direction your home faces and the geography around you. (I once had a client who complained all her paint had a green tone to it - and found she lived in a forest...)

So, it's no surprise at all that most of us have a difficult time finding the perfect color.

I understand your frustration and maybe I can get you started with a little advice:  

When choosing a wall color - neutrals are your friend.

Why, you ask?  
Because in most instances your wall color should become a background to a beautiful room.  
It should allow your lovely furnishings and beautiful fabrics to take center stage.  
It should never be the design hog - trying to grab attention by hitting you in the face.

No one should walk in to a room and say.... "that's a great wall color".  
They should walk in and say... "that's a beautiful room".   

There are exceptions, of course.  
There are times when a dramatic color makes a room, 
or when a wall needs to be accented, 
or when the color is the design focal point - 
but that is rare in a family home.

Neutrals have the added benefit of flexibility.  
You have only to change your accent colors to transform or update your room.

It's a misconception that 'neutral' translates to boring color.  
This was true in the past, when neutral meant 'beige'.  
Today, nearly every color has a neutral representation.

Once a color has been 'grayed down' or neutralized, it can be used as a background or a wall color that will blend with many different accent colors and sit quietly, and beautifully, as the backdrop of a room.

Here are some examples of beautifully neutral walls in fabulous rooms.  










Jolene Smith Interiors

The Creativity Exchange

The Creativity Exchange



Designs by Katy




Hi Claudine,
I desperately need help picking paint colors to go with my very light gray shingled roof.  I was reading on one of your blogs that the roof should always be the darker color and I am stumped.  Other than white – there isn’t much lighter than my roof.  Is there every an exception to this rule? 
Below is a picture of my house.

Thanks for any input you may offer.
There are always exceptions.
When the house is nearly the same color as the roof, there isn't much interest to draw the eye.

So contrast is a big deal - see the difference between these two photos?

White can work with a lighter roof if there is a contrasting trim.

When you have a lighter colored roof, contrast is key.


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