Wednesday, 28 February 2007

How many paint colours?!

Image:HSLSphere.svg Author: Mike Horvath
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Wonder why a trip to the paint store to choose colour can be overwhelming? Should be simple....right? You don’t have to study colour theory or colour meanings to make a decision. After all you know what you like...right? Once you’re faced with a wall of thousands of paint colour chips it’s easy to become trapped in indecision because there’s actually too much choice!

A consumer living in an urban centre and looking for interior or exterior paint colour has an estimated 20 to 30,000 options. Benjamin Moore has over 2500 colours, Parapaint a couple of thousand, Pittsburgh another couple of thousand...and on it goes. But Glidden? Well, Glidden has 6000 colours they can formulate. Glidden is the grandmother of paint colour offering.

As a colour consultant, I’ve noticed that each paint company has it’s own ‘personality’ in the colour palette it offers. For example Benjamin Moore and Pratt & Lambert have a lot to offer in the ‘historic’ look... murky and aged-looking colours that change a lot during the day and into the evening. Sico, Para and Pittsburgh are known for clear colour and strong pigment. Para and Pittsburgh have some fantastic ‘almost blacks’. Glidden has a lot to offer in more interesting pale tones (probably due to their 6000 colours!).

So, how to narrow it down? Determine which paint company’s palette you generally like the look of and try to keep within that company’s offering. Test the colours you think you’ll like (some of the companies mentioned have test pots you can buy... if not buy the smallest can to test the colour). Whether you’re selecting interior paint colour or exterior paint colour, this testing is a valuable step.

It’s amazing what happens to colour when you start to spread it around!
This article was contributed by Sylvia O’Brien, creative director of Colour Theory, a colour consulting firm in Toronto, Canada.
Colour Theory helps clients pick colour for interior and exterior paint, flooring, cabinetry, tiles, countertop, roofing, siding, aluminum, vinyl and hard landscaping.
To contact Colour Theory call 416-766-6789 or visit the web site at

Wo-Built Inc.: Paint Colour Trends 2008... Are you making the most of your investment?
by Sylvia O'Brien

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