Today Is A Great Day To Paint !

Fall In Love With Color

Brown is the new black, grey is the new brown and lavender is the new beige? Trying to decorate your home based on forecast colors and design trends can be confusing. It is always best to consider the mood you want to create, colors you are drawn to, and the furnishings that you have to work with. Trends should not dictate your personal style, but can inspire us to think outside the box.

Color trends for fashion, interior and graphic design, automotive, and technology are decided two to three years ahead of time by a group of international color experts called the Color Marketing Group. Color directions always reflect what is going on in society. For example, during recent recessionary times we saw lot of subdued browns, grays and neutrals. But according to CMG member, Annette M. Callari, the emerging “trend” colors for 2011 and 2012 are “brighter, clearer, and more optimistic. The undertones are now light and airy and colors are reflecting….HOPE.”

One new shade to watch for is “Resplendant,” a raspberry fuschia that will add drama and a fun to your interiors. While green has been popular it will become fresher, the newest being “Rain Forest,” lush and rich as its name suggests. A new blue called “X-Hale” will bring fond memories of simpler, happier times and Dad’s 1957 blue Chevy. Another blue called “Military” will make a statement which reflects honour, tradition and endurance - another sign of the times.

The muted yellow-gold from the past will become a clear bold yellow, “Limoncello,” named after an Italian icy liqueur – one more wave to fun and optimism. Another shade that reflects simpler, happy times is a warm neutral called “Reflection.” This color is “fresh and youthful” combining pink, peach and beige.

Michelle Lamb, editorial director of The Trend Curve, forecasts that coral will be “the single most important color of next year.” Two more impact hues for 2011 will be red-cast blue and a warmer gray, moving toward brown.

Neutrals remain the core of home décor, providing a chameleon backdrop for punchier colors like aquamarine, quince or royal purple. Combining these accent hues in surprising ways can give neutrals a modern edge.

Most of us can’t redo our décor every time new trends emerge but we can infuse some fun and personality into our homes, with accessories or a fresh coat of paint. Forecast palettes can show us a world of new color possibilities. Just remember the most important thing is to love the color you choose.

Curb Appeal

Spring has finally bloomed and the focus of home projects has moved outside. While you’re digging in the flower beds, take a moment to study the exterior of your home. Is it time for a fresh look? Since the outside of your home is always in full view of neighbours and passers-by, making the right exterior color choices can be challenging, but it’s easier than you think. A well planned color scheme will enhance the curb appeal of your home and give you a feeling of pride every time you come home.

Before beginning your exterior makeover, it’s a good idea to take an objective look at your house from the curb or take a photograph. Consider the style of your home and your neighbourhood. An older home may suggest a palette of historical colors, while homes in newer developments usually have a more uniform look. While you want to add your own personality, extreme choices can make your home stand out too much.

Taking an inventory of colors that are on all the existing surfaces, like the roof and eaves, brick or stonework, siding or vinyl windows, will provide the foundation for your palette. Decide what surfaces you would like to paint, such as the doors, trim, shutters, siding or window boxes. The colors you choose don’t have to “match,” but should harmonize with, or complement the hues already there.

Now, the fun begins, its time to look at paint chips! Most homes have 2 or 3 colors, a main body color, a trim highlight and an accent hue for the door or shutters. Staying within a color family that coordinates with the largest surfaces, like the brick or siding, is safest. You can add variety by using darker or lighter shades of the same color. For example, if your brick has a mixture of brown and orange you could use shades from chocolate brown to light tan, or dark rust to salmon, staying within the color family. Varying the depth of color provides contrast and helps to highlight important features, or minimize less important ones. Light colors can make a home look larger while dark colors make it look smaller or emphasize details. Current trends are to paint trim in rich neutrals that complement the masonry, garage doors that blend in, and a welcoming front door that coordinates but adds punch. How about “merlot” or “hot tamale”?

It is very important to test the colors outside in natural light. They will look different depending on the amount of sun or shade, or the time of day. Testing outside, with real paint samples or large color swatches, is the ideal way to tell what a color will really look like in different conditions.

Painting the exterior of your home can be a big investment in terms of time and money. You want to make the right color choices the first time. If you’re unsure, professional color consultants are happy to come to your home to help you find the perfect exterior palette. A well planned, harmonious color scheme will add value to your home and have neighbours stopping to take a second look.

Dreaming Of A Colourful Christmas

The holidays are a great time to freshen up tired walls or give a splash of new life to a dated color scheme. You want your home to look its best for seasonal parties and family gatherings. But you don’t want to add stress to an already overloaded schedule. So here are some tips for stress free color selection that apply all year round.

  1. Traditional holiday colors like red or green usually aren’t the best idea for a wall color. While your Christmas tree will look fabulous against a deep red wall, consider how it will look when the tree comes down. This rule applies to “popular” or “in” colors as well. While there are always trends in decorating, these colors may not work with the rest of your décor. You can give your color scheme some fashion punch with accessories like pillows or candles, or by painting a bold accent wall. A new wall color should still make sense with the existing décor, which brings us to the next point.
  2. Take inventory of what you are working with. Paint color is just one piece of the decorating puzzle. Consider the color of the floor, fabrics, tiles, cabinets and adjoining rooms. Think about the kind of atmosphere you want to create. When you go to look at paint chips, take with you as much information as you can.
  3. Explore the psychology of color. Think about the type of mood you want to create and what colors make you feel good? Do you prefer warm, energizing colors like yellow and reds? Or are you drawn to calmer, cooling shades of green and blue?
  4. If your creative juices just aren’t flowing, use some basic color theory to find a solution. Harmony is easily achieved with a monochromatic color scheme, by choosing a lighter or darker shade of a color already in your room. More dramatic effects can be achieved with complimentary (colors opposite on the color wheel) or triadic (3 colors equidistant apart) color scheme.
  5. Utilize the expertise at your local paint store. A trained color consultant will listen to you and consider the different pieces of your decorating puzzle, then give suggestions for the perfect shade. Keep in mind that color is personal and emotional, and there is always more than one right solution!
  6. Finally, always test the color at home! When the crunch is on it is tempting to skip this step, but keep in mind that colors can change dramatically depending on the type of light and reflection off of surrounding surfaces. Testing a color at home with a small paint sample or large paint chip can give you peace of mind and will help to avoid wasting precious time and money.

If painting is on your list of holiday preparations, make sure to set realistic goals so that you can enjoy time spent with family and friends. With a little planning and creativity, the Christmas you’re dreaming of will be the perfect colour.

Decorate with a Giving Heart

For many the holiday season is a busy time for shopping, preparation and parties. More importantly, it is a time for sharing and giving. We believe that the spirit of giving can go hand in hand with decorating and renovating. It is simply a matter of awareness and a making a choice. For example, by choosing green or low voc paints, you can give back to the environment and to the health of those around you. There are many premium quality coatings with zero or extremely low emissions now available.

Most elements of décor can be earth friendly, as well as beautiful. Flooring, for example, offers many renewable options such as bamboo and cork. When choosing a wood floor, look for FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified products which are guaranteed to come from sustainably managed forests. Flooring, as well as fabulous furniture is also made from salvage and reclaimed wood. There are carpets, counter tops, fabrics and even wall coverings that are made from recycled or renewable materials.

When renovating, you can give back by recycling. Old cabinets, light fixtures and furniture can be taken to places like Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, where they are sold to raise funds for community home building projects. Thousands of tons of usable materials can be kept out of landfills. It’s also a great place to find new and used treasures for your own home. With a little imagination and a coat of fresh paint, the possibilities are endless!

Giving back also means responsible disposal of Household Hazardous Waste. Everything from alkyd paints and paint thinner, to fluorescent bulbs and old computer monitors can be taken to one of York Region’s HHW & Recycling Depots. Visit for hours and locations.

Decorating with heart can be so much more that just recycling. When looking for new décor accessories consider vendors like “Ten Thousand Villages” who follow a “fair trade” philosophy. This unique business model is based on a partnership with thousands of talented artisans around the world that helps communities build a sustainable future.

You will find an amazing inventory of baskets, pottery, recycled glass, sculpture, picture frames made from newspaper and so much more! Or support the many talented artists in your own community. Visit local shops and galleries and reduce your carbon footprint!

Enjoy your home this holiday season and all year through, with a joyful spirit of giving.

What Determines The Quality Of Paint?

Paint quality is determined by several factors. High quality paints contain better raw materials and more of them. The best paints are made with the finest ingredients from the resin (usually 100% acrylic) to the white pigment (TiO2 “Titanium Dioxide”). Less expensive paints contain cheap, inferior raw materials like blended resins, extender pigments such as clay and calcium carbonate, even off specification or “dirty” TiO2. High quality paints must achieve higher levels of quality control, often exceeding industry standards, while low cost paints are routinely passed even though they fall well below specification and outside acceptable batch variances.

The % solids (by volume, not weight) of a paint helps determine quality, however this can be misleading if the solids (resin and pigment) are primarily low cost raw materials. The solids portion is what is left on the surface after the solvent (water) evaporates. High quality paints contain the best solids at a higher percentage than low cost paints. The result is a thicker, stronger film of paint that requires fewer coats.

Quality paints are also processed or “ground” longer and filtered multiple times. The result is a smoothly refined, full-bodied paint that applies easily and goes further. The best paints wet or “massage” the surface, have excellent flow and leveling, with little or no spatter and higher coverage. In short, high quality paints are easy to apply, hide better and go further than lower quality paints that can be thin and coarse or “gritty” and are often difficult to apply producing variations in the film, most noticeably inconsistent hiding or “shadowing” and differences in sheen known as “flashing”.

Beyond the composition and application of paint is the performance of the finished paint. High quality paints offer excellent adhesion, durability and washability. The heavier film provides more protection and longer life than cheap, thin film paints with lower solids. High quality paints maintain their color, gloss and depth longer and stand up to repeated cleanings without sacrificing their rich, fresh, uniform look.

With respect to pricing, more expensive paints cost a little more but contain significantly more quality when you consider that the fixed costs of the solvent (water), can, label, packaging, storage and shipping are the same for any can of paint. The difference lies in the factors mentioned above.