I use a specific “magical tool” kit, which has trained my eye over the past five years.
This magical tool kit, is my collection of 11″ x 14″ large painted color samples - a carefully selected collection of tried and true colors which I've been using over and over again successfully.
Have you heard of the 80/20 rule? (the 'Pareto Principal’) It means that in almost anything, only a few (20%) are vital and most (80%) are trivial.
The 80/20 rule also applies to colors - out of >2000 colors in a color fan deck, we only use about 20% of them.
But how do the large painted boards make such a huge difference vs. small 2”x2” swatches?
most of the time, I select neutral colors (grays, whites, beiges). Neutral colors are complex colors, meaning that each color is a unique mix of lots of different color hues in tiny tiny amounts, which makes it almost impossible to accurately see all the undertones on a tiny swatch of 2” x2”!
In contrast, having the large painted boards makes it possible for me and my clients to clearly see the nuances (“undertones”) of each color, and therefore select the right color.
the “right” color is the one the looks best with all the other colors in the room. Using the large painted boards in “context” makes it obvious both to me and my client, which color is correct and which one is not.
Painted versus printed
Swatches from the paint store are often not accurate – that’s because they are printed and not painted.
Below is an example of a color consultation - I needed to select a wall color for a master bedroom. The upholstered headboard color could not be ignored, so I had to pick out a color that worked well with it.
Below are the four options we looked at - which one do you think works best?
Both Edgecomb gray and Classic gray could have worked here, but I picked out classic gray because it's lighter and was a perfect choice for this room, which doesn't get enough natural light.
Having the large color boards is like looking at color with a magnifying glass. When I don’t have my large samples with me, I’m basically visually impaired in terms of specifying color accurately. With them, I can see all the undertones clearly, and so can my clients. We can both make successful selections, eliminating wasted time money and aggravation.