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 Choose Interior & Exterior Paint Colors For Your Home

how to choose paint colors Are you about to redecorate, renovate or build? Learn how to choose paint colors. Many people want to make their own color decisions but end up stuck, staring at color chips pasted to their wall for months. Choosing colors is difficult but the right color makes the difference between a home that makes you feel great, reflecting who you are and one which leaves you cold and uninspired. Exterior house color is the number one factor affecting your home's curb appeal and therefore its value. Learn how to choose paint colors which reflect your individual stye, the ambience you want to create and the decor you have. Nationally recognized Architectural Color Consultant, Amy Krane is an professional colorist sought by media outlets like Elle Decor, Consumer Reports, Domino, Family Circle and more. She has been awarded "Best of Houzz 2017" after receiving the same award 4 years running. This presentation, filled with visual examples, will walk you through how to choose colors. You'll learn the basics of color theory, what's important when choosing color, what's on trend and what kinds of color support a healthy environment. The 75 minute talk will have a Q & A following. Germantown Library, February 12, 2017. 1pm- 3pm.

A Look to 2017: 10 Design Trends

design trends

Photo: Mike Baker

While it's been a tumultuous year politically, design trends spotted in 2016 and even before, continue to manifest. Warm metals like copper and brass abound, pinks of all types continue to appear as sophisticated wall color choices and dark tones are showing up everywhere. Live edge wood used in everything from tabletops and shelving to bed frames continues to be featured in shelter magazines and homes alike.
Amanda & Chris Air BnB

Amanda & Chris's Air BnB

Purple

A deep jewel purple, Shadow is Benjamin Moore's 2017 Color of the Year. Mid-toned violets like PPG's Violet Verbena and Olympic's Cloudberry made the top list as well. Perhaps purple's association with mystery will help transport us to another, more pleasant time, if only emotionally. Purple has got appeal for many applications. A room with lots of natural light will help it sing. design trends 2017

Bleached Wood Floors

The choice of bleached, pickled or gray washed floors continues to dominate wood floor tones. Used in conjunction with deeply pigmented walls the combination is irresistible. Note 3 of the 4 photos above show the trend. Even wood floors laid in herringbone or parquet patterns are going this route. It's a more, rustic, unfinished look borrowed from influences like Scandinavian design and the Boho look, prevalent last year.

design trends 2017 bleached wood floors Wallpaper

It's true wallpaper eased back into use a while ago but it's here full tilt now. Used in powder rooms and bedrooms before, it's beginning to appear in hallways and foyers, living rooms and restaurants. Pattern continues to engage and delight the senses as one of the coming year's most exciting design trends. Last year we saw a real uptick in the use of patterned cement floor tiles. While that trend continues, pattern is everywhere on the walls now.

design trends wallpaperThe Modern Farmhouse

If I've heard it once I've heard it a thousand times this year. Many people who own single family residences are looking for the modern farmhouse look. What exactly is it? It's shiplap, (horizontal paneling), predominantly white or light Scandinavian cool colors on the walls, painted built-ins in the pantry and mudroom, shaker or inset kitchen cabinets and drawers, an airy modern clean feel with warm touches from rustic beams and organic materials like wood floors.
design trends modern farmhouse

Fixer-Upper

design trends modern farmhouseTone on Tone

One of the first things one learns training in the field of color is to vary up the contrast, LRV (light reflectance value) and color temperature when choosing hues for a room. This tone on tone look defies good visual ergonomics and healthy color practice but it's out there and catching on as one of the newest design trends. The look is monotone and therefore (seemingly) soothing and sophisticated. Too much time in a room like this can cause eye fatigue from the monotony but there is certainly a contingent that finds it glamorous and au courant.

design trends 2017 tone on toneThe Camel Leather Sofa

From moderately priced purveyors like West Elm to Room and Board, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams and beyond, everyone is selling it. It's clubby without being stuffy, informal and sexy. While leather often appears masculine it's being used in rooms with a more feminine twist as well. The more aged, scuffed and worked in like an old pair of boots, the better. design trends Camel Leather sofa Dark(er than the walls) Trim Colonial homes were often decorated this way and it's back. Generally less applicable for modern or contemporary homes, in more historic venues with wide and decorative trim it's becoming more common. design trends colored trim

High Gloss Painted Ceiling

For a few years now we've seen designers creating glamorous rooms in homes, clubs and restaurants using high gloss paint on all 4 walls. This kind of paint finish creates a highly reflective space which can be uncomfortable and it requires perfect walls as the gloss shows off every bump. This year we have started to see gloss on the ceilings with matte walls. Depending on how much natural light in the room, the kind of artificial light, the amount of hard surfaces in the room, how the floor is treated and the color of the walls and ceilings, it may or may not work.

design trends high gloss ceilingsBlue, Green and all in between

While neutrals continue to be the most commonly employed colors for dwelling interiors, and purple is the new "it" color per the paint companies, there is no doubt that blues, greens and the hues in between are making a splash. Pantone hit the nail on the head with "Greenery" as their new color of the year. You can't pick up a shelter mag or take a peak at Pinterest without noting the interest in these colors. Known as soothing and/or refreshing their application is appropriate for any decorating style. As people have moved away from the all white kitchen and even the grey kitchen, we're noting a prevalence of cabinets in deep greens, mid blues and teals. This year's bleached wood floors, camel leather sofas and even modern farmhouse vibe all work with this palette.

design trend Tealdesign trends blue and greenDesign Trends : Black Accents

Let's face it, black is sophisticated. But it's easy to go overboard so the key is to use it as an accent. Make sure to add touches of warm colors to the space so it doesn't come off sterile. Incorporating black into a room adds instant contrast and a graphic quality to the decor. It's showing up as kitchen cabinetry, on millwork throughout the house and on interior doors and window mullions. Black window sashes and mullions help the eye move beyond to the outdoors, bringing the outside in. design trends 2017 Black accentsWell there you have it! 10 emerging and developing design trends for 2017. At Amy Krane Color we're looking forward to exploring the home design world with you next year!