Color Blog


My blog offers a fresh voice on the design scene, with ideas, inspiration and color advice focused on color for the built world. Updated regularly, discover current trends and tried and true proven approaches to color design for your home, your business or your brand. It's all about the human response to color. Learn how to choose and apply color in a way that supports well being and adds beauty and function to any environment. Whether interior or exterior, residential or commercial, smart color design makes the difference between a space that's hardly noticeable and one that makes you feel alive! Thanks for stopping by........Amy      

10 Tips on How to Choose Wallpaper

Choosing wallpaper can be daunting. It's a bigger commitment than choosing paint color because of its expense and removal process. Chances are you're going to keep it longer than you would a paint color so you really need to be sure about your choice. Apply the following systematic approach to picking the right wallpaper for your home and it should be smooth sailing.

What to consider when picking a wallpaper.

1.Every item in your home pays homage to its identity. Each piece tells another bit of your story. Nothing telegraphs a story faster than wallpaper. It covers a large expanse and sets a tone right away. Ask yourself, "What story do I want to tell?" Are you looking for whimsy, elegance, fun, sophistication, historical reference, cultural identity ? Choose a paper which contributes to the story you want to tell.   Amy Krane Color 2. Just like choosing paint, the color palette of the wallpaper helps create the mood and ambience in a room. Cool colors: blue, green and violet are soothing for most people and visually recede, making a room feel larger. Dark colors add drama. Warm colors: red, yellow and orange add excitement to an environment. Light colors create a feeling of expansiveness and space. What kinds of colors do you like and what works for the room in question? Amy Krane Color

What's trending in wallpaper for 2018?

3. What kind of pattern appeals to you? There are so many different styles . Right now botanicals, geometrics, hand drawn & whimsical, folkloric, metallic, chinoiserie and global patterns are some of the most popular styles out there. Black and white prints are also trending at the moment.  
Amy Krane Color

Sanderson Wallpaper

4. Remember scale is very important. Small rooms will do better with small or medium size prints. Large rooms with medium or large prints. Large scaled patterns may make a room appear smaller to some degree. Vertical stripes will enhance the perception of height in a room and horizontal, width. If you like mixing patterns be careful to vary up the scale of all of the patterns in the room.
Amy Krane Color

Linear Stem by Harlequin

5. Think about the function of the room and choose accordingly.  In a bathroom be careful about water splashing and consider a backsplash for your sink. Dining rooms with a chair rail can utilize wallpaper above the rail. In a bedroom consider wallpaper on the headboard wall if papering the whole room seems too much. A long hallway which is dim will benefit from a bright or light wallpaper or use it at one end.   Amy Krane Color6. Order swatches. They may take time or cost a bit but they're so important to make sure you've chosen a pattern and color that's right for you. 7.  Get creative. Don't want to paper a whole room? How about one wall as an accent or a fireplace wall, a headboard, a cabinet interior, a bookshelf interior, a drawer, a closet, a ceiling?  
Amy Krane Color

Shibori by Scion

8. If pattern feels too bold consider something neutral like a textured paper, perhaps a neutral grasscloth or a metallic textured paper. Textured paper will help cover wall imperfections.  Places to try a bold print is in a powder room or other areas you spend little time in. Amy Krane Color 9. Embrace new technology. Digital printing has allowed custom wallpaper creation. Customers can send hi- res digital images to fabricators and have wall murals created for them. Removable adhesive wallpaper has ushered in new wallpaper options for apartment dwellers.
Amy Krane Color

Mr Perswall Vibrant Vintage

10. Pay a professional to hang it. Don't risk a costly mistake.
Amy Krane Color

Woodland Chorus by Sanderson


A Primer on Paint Sheen

choosing paint sheenWe all know that choosing paint sheen (or finish) is one of the most difficult decisions for the average home owner. There are many different sheens and to complicate the matter paint manufacturers use a different array of names to describe more or less the same finish from brand to brand.  

What to consider when choosing paint sheen.

The proper choice of appropriate paint sheen is a matter of considering the type and function of the room, the amount and direction of natural light and to a lesser degree, personal taste and design goals.  

Semi-Gloss and High Gloss Paint.

The higher the sheen, the more reflection on the surface. This means every imperfection in the wall will be visible and available to scrutiny. Light will bounce off the wall, in effect, lightening the color of the wall. In certain situations, especially with dark color paint, you will literally see white/light patches on the wall. A high gloss paint is a terrific choice for an exterior front door where the shine creates a more formal look and the high gloss is robust enough to stand up to the wear and tear a front door takes.

gloss sheen paint

House and Garden

Millwork, doors and wooden moldings do well painted with a higher paint sheen. Here satin/pearl or semi- gloss work well. They stand up to fingerprints, the wet mop and more regular use.
high gloss walls

Livia Mucchi Roberto

High gloss on walls and/or ceilings have come into vogue in the past few years but this treatment works well in rare situations. In the first example above, gloss has been used on a ceiling creating reflections which bounce off the white walls which is the most reflective wall color there is. This is hardly a visually ergonomic design. In the green room, the paneled walls are painted high gloss but because of the uneven nature of the paneling the walls don't become a mirror-like lacquer surface and is therefore more livable.  

Eggshell Paint.

Rooms which are more trafficked or need to have walls washed regularly like a kitchen or bathroom are better with a low level sheen as those finishes create a harder shell and are easier to wipe down. I use eggshell for kitchens and bathroom walls and satin or pearl for cabinets. In this bathroom the wainscoting has been painted in semi gloss. Not only does this higher sheen look appropriate on the millwork but it will stand up to the water splashes from the sink better than a flatter paint finish.
semi gloss paint on wainscoting

Amy Krane Color

Matte Paint.

Rooms which don't take much abuse do best with a flat looking finish. They cover wall imperfections very well. Today's matte paints are billed as washable flats which allow for a certain amount of washing. (not scrubbing) The surface looks velvety and rich with a suede-like appearance and the color looks true, not adulterated by light reflections. I use matte whenever possible in a home. For even less reflection, a Flat paint finish can be used on the ceiling.
matte paint sheen

Amy Krane Color

Painting a Staircase.

Paint sheen for a staircase

Amy Krane Color

If you choose to use paint on your staircase keep in mind how much abuse it withstands. As you walk up a staircase the risers occasionally get scraped by a shoe. Bannisters are constantly handled. These are reasons to use a stronger, higher sheen like a satin or semi gloss paint. Ultimately, your own personal taste should inform your choice of paint finish but keep in mind it may be at the cost of practicality.

How to Create Curb Appeal

Well, summer is here and it's a great time to take stock of your home's curb appeal. By now your landscaping should be well out of the winter doldrums and producing its finest. Whether you are there for the long haul or thinking about selling, curb appeal is extremely important. People really do read a book by its cover and first impressions are hard to dispel.

What are the elements which create maximum curb appeal?

The home in this photo covers all of the bases.

Exterior siding or cladding.

Is it chipping, peeling or fading? If so, it's time for a paint job but this time of year you're going to find your painting contractors already booked through the end of summer, possibly even Fall. If you're unsure about color, find a color consultant whose reviews show a person of skill and knowledge who knows how to listen to what you want and translate that into a color palette that works for you. Choose a color palette which enhances the beauty of your home, befits your style of architecture, melds with your neighborhood and is in line with any Home Owner Association rules. The color palette should be appropriate for your region of the country and whether you like neutrals, deep colors or classic white, the front door is a place to add an element of fun and whimsy, not the body of your house.
Curb appeal

Hudson NY                         Photo: Amy Krane

Even if you've missed the boat to find a painter in the next month you can still improve the look of your home by cleaning the facade of dirt and mold. The power washer will be your best friend here.

Hardscaping and curb appeal. Curb Appeal

Your hardscaping will contribute in a big way to your curb appeal. Do you have a path which clearly leads to your front door? Way finding is key and such a path is important and welcoming. Is it in good shape? Are there weeds between your bricks, pavers or stone? Moss or a low ground cover like creeping thyme adds old world charm to the look of a pathway and a plant which sends a waft of perfume towards you as you step on it is an added bonus. Front porches add loads of curb appeal. They come in a host of different layouts from the wrap around you find on Victorians to a more simple front with a deck, balustrades and posts. Remember your porch and post style should match the architectural style of your house.

Landscaping and curb appeal.

Can't say enough about it. Plants add the final touch. Consider them the garnish to the dish. Different styles of landscape design work best with different styles of houses. Got a modern glass, concrete and/or steel home? Think monoculture - one type of shrub or perennial in a swath. Have a natural shingle cottage? Think English, cottage style plantings with more colorful mixed beds with a variety of heights, textures and blooming seasons. Have a formal Federal or Georgian style home? These houses call for either very minimal foundation plantings or the use of a more formal shrub like sculpted boxwood. Remember seasonality is important. It's a vote to have some evergreens which give you some green throughout the winter if you live in Northern climates. And don't forget about the flower pots. It's easy to go crazy with them but one or two interesting planters which contain either a mix of plants  which complement your house color or a bunch of red geraniums adds cheer to any front door. Curb appeal  

 Lighting is often overlooked.

Exterior lights serve many functions. Most obviously they allow you to make it safely from your car to your front door. But lights are wonderful accessories which dress your home's facade and give it a finishing touch. They come in hundreds of styles and finishes from sleek and modern to old world, from oil rubbed bronze to brass.                

The Address Font

Every detail pitches in to create curb appeal. Don't forget the font you choose for your address. The home below has craftsman architectural details so the homeowner, a designer, chose an appropriate font for her home address. Do you want a numeric address or to spell the number? Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 6.19.59 PM         In the end you need to pay attention to all of the details as they each contribute to the overall look. Maximize each element for the best overall impression like the home for sale below.