April 16th, 2006


the trouble with colours

I've been spending my free time flipping through catalogues and window shopping. (Well, browser-window shopping; there are no really nice stores in Champaign and we didn't feel like going to Chicago this weekend.) It's not something I've done much of before, but I can kind of see why people do it — it's fun, at least in limited doses. Thursday night was spent putting stuff up on our registry. Friday night we looked at furniture and paint possibilities. We've been playing around with various online paint-selection tools, and we spent some time at Home Depot today sorting through paint chips. We've even created something in photoshop, and I think we have a vague plan for how to repaint the house. But I still feel like we're making an uninformed decision.

The software for playing with colours can be pretty nice; for example Behr lets you adjust hue, saturation, and value individually, selects matching colour palettes, and see your colours applied in a bunch of room settings. However, there's a mountain of difficulties. First, some of the colours are just wrong in the software; for example, a saturated "Chianti" colour is represented as a 80% dark grey. Second, the monitor we use totally changes the colours. Comparing with the paint chips we picked up, it seems that the software is mostly tuned for PC monitors. The colours we picked out last night when playing online looked totally different once we got to Home Depot and started actually looking at them.

The paint chips themselves are not necessarily great, either. They are printed on this highly reflective paper that shows different colours depending on the angle; I don't know if this
is on purpose or not, but it certainly doesn't help. Plus seeing a 1"x5" segment isn't the same as seeing a whole room in that colour, at least not for me. I think the best we've been able to do is to play with the settings until the colour on the screen vaguely matches the paint chip and then use the room visualization tools. And then picture furniture that might be ours there. (Furniture that we haven't yet bought and that's out of a catalogue, with its own colour-reproduction issues.)

Anyway, going through this whole exercise, I can see why many people stick with "safe" colours. I guess we can get some samples and play with them right after closing (I don't think the current owners will let us do that earlier...), but I'm pretty sure I'm not going to really know how the colours look in our rooms until we finish painting and move in the furniture. I just hope we like what we end up with...

Speaking of which...

Are you planning to visit us in the next 5 years?


What colour would you like the guest room to be?

Feel free to enter colours in any format you like...