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


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


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!

Painting a Ceiling with Color

painted ceiling

Amy Krane Color

When you’re looking to add a design detail that’s a bit out of the ordinary, consider using color on a painted ceiling. It adds an element of fun and whimsy to a room. But designers really differ on the when and how-to.

Parameters when deciding to paint a ceiling with color.

If the ceilings are low, don’t do it. When the ceiling is painted differently than the rest of the room the eye will gravitate towards it. If the ceilings are low it will accentuate this problem. If the room is very colorful already either from wall color, decor or both, don’t do it. It might tip the balance in the room and create a chaotic space. Consider the color of the walls and floor. The most sure fire way to guarantee a colored ceiling will work is by mixing it with white or off while walls.

Painted CeilingsNext choice is with neutral, low saturation colors. Again we are looking to keep the harmony in the space by not getting too busy. Low saturation colors have a lot of grey in them which will counter balance more hue on the ceiling.  Another way to prevent mistakes is by choosing the same color as the walls but changing the value (or lightness) of the color on the ceiling.

Painted Ceilings

Types of colors for a painted ceiling.

Choosing to carry a muted, soothing color like a desaturated blue onto the ceiling works well. Remember in general, cool colors recede, warm colors advance. Black is tricky. Sometimes it creates the illusion of infinite space and looks like a night sky. If the ceiling is high enough this is often the case. In these circumstances it’s a wonderful choice. Other times the dark color will really make the ceiling feel like it’s coming down on you causing a cave-like ambience. A color painted on the ceiling in the wrong environment can do that.
Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 11.32.40 AMNote above, in the room on the left, the black is just on the ceiling but in the middle photo the black was pulled down to cover the top portion of the wall. This will, in effect, lower the ceiling so it should only be done in a room with very high ceilings. In the room on the right the black ceiling echoes the black floor, creating a very different effect than in the first two rooms whose floors are white. This creates a sort of book ended feeling ~ very cozy.
painted a colored ceilingChoosing  a warm color for your ceiling really changes the temperature of the room. Again, this is most successful in an otherwise neutral environment.
In general, I advise to use flat or matte paint on a ceiling to avoid reflections bouncing all over the room but if gloss is desired make sure the rest of the room is devoid of shine.
painting ceilings with colorCreating patterns with color can be really interesting but if you plan to pull the ceiling color onto the walls be careful how you to do it. By pulling the green onto the wall and the floor, the room on the left has created a balanced environment. I would have not painted the molding green on the entranceway as they did though.  The room on the right is less successful. They’ve tried to balance the activity on the ceiling with pattern on the floor but the room feels disjointed. A doorway serves an important function and making it disappear, though playful, doesn’t help it fulfill its role to signal a place of egress.
color on a painted ceilingLastly, tying the color of the ceiling into another part of the structure adds to the cohesion of the space. The black ceiling works beautifully with the black doors and trim in the loggia on the right. The bathroom on the left would have worked better without turquoise on the vanity as it’s not a part of the architecture and ends up appearing piecemeal and arbitrary.