Which Comes First? New Sofa or Paint Colour?
This week, while creating a master colour palette with a new client, she expressed confusion over whether her sofa or wall paint colour should be chosen first. She’d been advised in a furniture showroom that the sofa fabric should be selected and then the paint colour could be chosen more easily from the myriad of paint colour options.
This is sound advice for many circumstances, but for this particular home, the keepers (the hard finishes, such as flooring, countertops, carpeting, that are staying), will strongly dictate the direction of the colour palette. This home is an open concept with a full-height stacked-stone fireplace. So, the fireplace colour and its violet undertones will have a lot to say about the direction of this colour palette.
This particular project presents an exciting colour selection challenge. The original palette of this circa 1980s home was based on grey with violet undertones and was done quite nicely. Over the years, the palette has been switched over to a variety of beiges. We counted four different undertones to the beiges. (Best practices recommend two.) Plus, the original violet greys are still peeking through in a few places!
My client wants a soft grey and white palette, so to create a welcoming, beautiful and correct look, the undertones of the new pale colours must play nicely with the keepers. Because the undertones of the keepers don’t quite work with each other, the new paint colours need to help balance the undertones of the keepers throughout the home.
Selecting pale neutrals and whites is exacting work at the best of times, but when most of the walls are either an orange beige or a pink beige, it’s hard to see undertones past all that reflected colour bouncing around the space. An exciting challenge, indeed!
So, back to the original question… which comes first? The answer is… it depends.
If you have any finishes and items, the keepers, that are having a big say in your palette direction, start by selecting your primary paint colour.
Otherwise, if you’re undertones seem to be working nicely, the sofa would be your first selection, then the paint colour.
Or better yet… start with a toss cushion fabric even before you select your sofa fabric. But, that’s a topic for a whole other post. 😉
So, how did we create a colour palette for my client? We selected a wall paint colour that plays beautifully first, with the fireplace, and then, with the hardwood floors, tile and white trim (the keepers). I’ve recommended my client paint all the walls before we move on to selecting the new hard finishes and cabinet colour. We need to see the space without all that warm light bouncing off the orange beige and pink beige walls. The keepers will look quite different once the wall colour changes and then it will be much easier to select the new finishes, furnishings, and paint colours.
Once the primary wall colour is up, the sofa fabric will be selected off the fireplace as it’s such a strong presence in the room. (We already know the wall colour will work with the sofa, because it works with fireplace.) Then the accent fabrics, will be selected and they will, in turn, dictate the remainder of the master colour palette for my client’s beautiful new home.