So, the rumors are true: I have an issue with color.
I'm the one who's set new records for the number of test gallons purchased when selecting a new wall color. Just ask my husband.
The thing is.....it just has to be right. Not close. Not almost. It has to be perfect. The ONE.
That's why I'm repainting all the trim in my foyer, vestibule and office. Yep, the same trim we painted last fall. The same trim I didn't color swatch correctly, that ended up with that creepy linen white color.
This time around, I've asked architectural color consultant and decorative artist, Patricia Presto, from On The Surface, for suggestions on how to pick the right white for your home. Here's her no-fail formula guaranteed to get you the trim color of your dreams.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Step One: Understand painting the trim isn't just about the trim. "Your goal is to pop the wall color and ceiling," says Patricia. The color has to blend with the surrounding shades to make it work. So if your current wall colors tend gray or yellow, you'll need to make sure your trim color is from the same color family. She also suggests you always use a fan deck to "see where the color is coming from" and to make sure it complements your overall palette.
Step Two: Take it out. To get a true reading on a color, Presto always checks the color outside. "There are many whites. To truly understand the 'color nuances' or undertones when selecting a white, you need to take it out in the natural light.... but in the shade, not direct sunlight." Ok, got that.
Step Three: Supersize it. Truth is, it's almost impossible to judge a color from those teeny, tiny color squares you get at most paint stores. The solution? Make your own. "Paint a large sample on a 8x10 or 11x16 piece of paper," suggests Presto. "And make sure to use 2 coats, not one, to get a true color." She also reminds me to never violate the cardinal rule when swatching color; never paint directly on the wall--the old color will tweak the result.
THE RIGHT WHITES
Patricia, like most color professionals, has her favorites, and I'm all ears. Anything to up my chances of getting it right this time. Here's a list of her top picks for trim whites that have a proven track record:
Benjamin Moore Cloud White 967 A HGTV and Houzz designer favorite. Warm with a touch of yellow.
Benjamin Moore Oxford White 869 More modern and contemporary than Cloud White. A crisp white that moves toward gray.
Sherwin Williams Alabaster 7008 An On The Surface top pick Patricia uses time and time again. A good overall white that complements today's popular gray color palettes.
Benjamin Moore Natural Wicker OC1 A great white that gives the look of cream without being too yellow.
Sherwin Williams Aesthetic White 7035 Another go-to white with a cool base that works well with gray palettes, especially deeper grays.
Looks like Aesthetic White, it is. Perfect for my gray based color palette. My thanks to Patricia for the insider's tips--just think of all the money I'll save by getting it right the first time!
(Photo Pamela Ogborn)