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As the first coat of Sherwin-Williams’s “vigorous violet” paint went on Nakisha Straker’s living room wall in late summer, she admits she was scared.
“OK, this is kind of bright,” she initially thought. “But after the second coat, I really loved it.”
Straker and her designer Iman Stewart picked the rich purple shade during a summer makeover of her cream-painted condo. The Trinidadian-born hairstylist, who wears bold, bright colours to suit her personality, wanted “something tropical to spice up the room.”
The purple for the focal wall behind her blue sofa was pulled from artwork by Synthia Saint James of women in jewel-toned attire. Straker later added other pictures and tried out a few complementary furnishings from Elite Furniture Rentals (which rents pieces for staging purposes).
“I love being in my living room now. It definitely brightened up the space,” says the Torontonian. Turns out, she’s on the cutting edge of colour trends with some forecasters giving magenta the nod for the new year.
Her verdict on violet didn’t surprise Stewart, who also redid Straker’s hair salon in Leaside, SheBeenHair, in a muted mauve.
“Colours are an instant mood booster, an automatic pick-me-up,” says the design director of Iman Stewart Interiors, the Toronto firm she founded almost seven years ago.
Another of Stewart’s clients told her he became more productive, and felt more comfortable, in his redecorated bedroom sporting deep blue drapes and headboard in front of a dark green wall.
Walls don’t have to be bold or vibrant to be transforming; subdued and muted hues also work, she says. And for renters in neutral-painted living spaces, a focal wall in a different shade “gives a nice pop.”
As a mood changer, paint has been the go-to decorating tool during the pandemic, Stewart adds. Predictably, soothing green is most paint makers’ pick for 2022’s colour of the year.
Paint provides a low-cost redo with prices ranging from $30 to $95 for a one-gallon can, depending on brand, quality and features. An average-sized room takes about two cans.
While deciding on paint is one thing — Stewart suggests basing it on your style, culture, personality and preferences — getting it right at the store is a horse of a different colour.
Years ago when she worked in a paint shop, people would come in multiple times “to get the colour right,” she recalls.
“Fortunately,” tales of tints gone wrong are rare at Cobourg Paint & Wallpaper, according to Jacquie Halligan, who co-owns the thriving downtown business with Charlene Jacob.
With more than 6,000 options in Benjamin Moore’s lineup, they encourage customers to choose “what you want,” usually based on the colours they like to wear.
With any redecorating project, “never pick your paint colour first,” Halligan advises. “It’s so much easier to match paint to bedding, for example, than match bedding to paint.”
Major components such as flooring, cabinetry and sofas will often dictate the palette. But smaller pieces and accessories can suggest a specific shade to match if you visit the paint store with a sample such as artwork, cushions or a floor tile, she says, noting that her spectrophotometer can produce custom colours with 99 per cent accuracy.
There are also painting apps and online tools that let do-it-yourselfers test-drive and match colours virtually.
Halligan and Iman Stewart offer a few tips to avoid paint pitfalls:
If you’re stuck for inspiration, a consultation with a designer, starting at about $100 an hour, can help, Stewart suggests.
The professionals have their own faves, according to trend-trackers at mydomaine.com. Among interior designers’ 10 most popular paint colours in 2020 were charcoal grey, dark olive, white, forest green and light grey.
You can also stir your creative juices by watching Architectural Digest’s YouTube channel, which offers a whose hue of celebrity palettes in video tours. The rich and famous reveal their true colours, ranging from the toned-down grey, black and brown of “Breaking Bad” actor Aaron Paul’s Idaho abode, to the hot red and purple in rapper Wiz Khalifa’s recording studio in his West Coast home.
Mortgage experts at U.K.-based Uswitch, ranked the top 10 most-watched home tour videos, identifying “Iron Man” star Robert Downey Jr.’s windmill cottage in the Hamptons as one of the most popular, dressed in kaleidoscopic pink, orange, mustard and teal.
Some trend forecasters, including Pantone, IKEA and global authority WGSN, have picked variations of pinkish-purple as the colour to watch in 2022.
But when paint makers opened the lid on their new colour of the year, in most cases it was a tranquil shade of green. The versatile colour pairs well with wood and earth tones, and can work in any room and design style.
Here’s a sampling of the new hues:
Benjamin Moore: “October Mist” is described as a “gently shaded sage” that is “harmonious yet diverse, reliable yet whimsical, and meditative yet eclectic.”
Sherwin-Williams: “Evergreen fog” is called “a chameleon colour of gorgeous green-meets-grey” with a hint of blue.
Behr: “Breezeway,” a “relaxed and uplifting sea glass green,” promises to bring a breath of fresh air to any space.
Dulux: “Olive Sprig” is touted as an “enticing green that emulates the feeling of soothing aloe vera or a fragrant plant.”
BeautiTone: “Warm hugs” offers “hope and comfort in one exquisite hue” that combines mid-tone red/pink with a hint of orange.
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