We had a request to share the inspiration colors for our August 2011 Design House. Paint is inexpensive and a great way to breathe life into your room. We're always on the hunt for great color and we hoard paint chips, scraps of paper, and fabric samples with every color we like. A lot of the Design House colors we featured in August came from fabrics and artwork. We then go to the paint store and try to find something similar, usually just handing over the swatch or paint chip (if we even have a chip...and the color is usually retired by then) and ask them to mix the color for us.
I wish I could simply point you to an exact color by a certain company and you'd be all set, but I can't always because our colors are pulled from fabrics and art. I will share with you some suggestions on where to find similar colors and how to duplicate a great paint job.
The best color families I've seen that are similar to the ones in our August Design House are at Restoration Hardware. I recommend the colors in the "Butter Paint Collection" for taupe and light browns, the "Shore Paint Collection" for dreamy blues, and the "Flint Paint Collection" for greys similar to the ones that we used in the August Design House. These are nice limited color families of 5 colors each. It's just too overwhelming for me to try to look at 60 shades of light blue and try to pick one.
Since we paint soooo much around here, here is a quick list of our tips for painting walls:
Stay mostly neutral. We tend to go neutral on most walls, bringing in the punches of color with accessories. This makes it easier to switch out decor with the seasons and ensures you're not regretting a color choice that quickly goes out of style or only matches with specific furniture / accessories. Light colors also tend to make rooms feel larger.
Mix multiple gallons. If you're covering a large space that requires many cans of paint, mix cans in a bucket so the color is uniform. Just because each gallon has the same color formula doesn't mean the color is exact from gallon to gallon. Trust me, I'm speaking from experience.
Take a break. Put brushes in a plastic bag if you're taking a break so they don't dry out.
This goes without saying, but anyway, here goes....wall prep is key. If your wall is a mess and you try to put a pretty color over a mess, you'll get a pretty-colored-mess. Take the time to fill nail holes, sand rough spots, and use blue painter's tape if you need it. Use fiberglass tape to clean up large cracks or holes. Prime the walls with tinted primers if you're transitioning colors, otherwise you'll need extra coats of paint (best scenario) or the finish may never be even and you'll have to do everything again (worst scenario). Also take time to prep the room - take down draperies & hardware, put out drop cloths, move furniture to the center of the room, and cover furniture as needed.
A Bonus Cool Find for You! Decor Pad has a pretty neat paint gallery on their site. Choose a color family you're interested in, look through user photos, and if you see a room or color you like, click on the photo and you'll see what paint color and brand the person actually used.