What I Learned At Color School

June 2, 2011


One: Clean vs. Dirty


 I discovered you must compare colors together when you are trying to determine if a color is clean or dirty. If too clean of a color is chosen for the wall color, your furnishings will look muddy and dirty. A good tip I made up to remember about clean vs. dirty is white (clean) vs. beige (dirty).

*Black, navy and dark brown colors work well with both clean and dirty.

Two: The best way to sample a paint color


When sampling a paint color with your existing furnishings, be sure to place a white sheet of paper between the sample and the existing wall color.  That way you are not influenced by the existing color on the walls.  Thanks hubby for holding sample for me! 🙂

Three:  Determine the Undertones First!

BM Moccasin/Pink beige:

BM Powell Buff/ Yellow Beige:

Wheeling Neutral HC-92   Green Beige:


A. You must first determine the client’s  dictating, existing elements   (countertop, tile, wood flooring, etc.) in the room.

B. Use large color samples of a pink, green and yellow beige against the surface to ‘see’ which undertone is working best.

Four: Do not test a color next to the window!


A color will always look darker on the wall where the windows are. I did not know that but it only makes sense.

Five: It color matters if your wood is horizontal or vertical in a space.

Most hardwood floors (horizontal), are considered a neutral when choosing a paint color.  But if the wood is vertical, such as cabinets, the color of the wood must be taken into consideration.

Six:  Sometimes a boring neutral on the  wall works best!


Home Sweet

When working with elements such as fabric that has a lot of color and pattern, the background color of the fabric is usually the best choice for the wall color. Why bring another color into the room?  Be sure to watch the number of colors you incorporate a room.  Two or three is best.

This list is just a few of my favorite designs tips I discovered.  Comments?  Are any of these design ideas new to you?

If you need help choosing the best colors for your home, contact me today!

Other related topics:

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Color

Understanding Beige Undertones

Working With The Stone Fireplace


  1. I have a 12×22 livingroom that needs to be repainted. There is a 6x9ft window on the south/west side.
    The wooden floors are light/medium brown and my furniture is mainly darn brown. What colour would work well on the walls and ceiling 8ft high/crown molding.
    Thank you

  2. Kelly thank you for sharing your knowledge. Please clarify your clean vs. dirty analogy a little more because you reference wall color yet you compare fabrics in the room. Using those fabrics would you say a green beige would look better on the walls versus a yellow beige? The most prevalent piece is the carpet, in your illustration, so it’s better to match the background colors in that versus the floral fabric that might be in the draperies???
    Thank you

Leave a Comment

Keep the conversation going! Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.