The other day I had a real Aha! moment. Oh, I love it when that happens! While working on the many paint posts, I’ve been looking closely at the walls and trim in my home. I’ve been noticing how the colors change with the many different shades of light throughout the day.
When I moved in, in 2012, I didn’t touch the trim or any of the paint colors.
The trim is white. Plain old white. It doesn’t ever read yellow, green, pink, purple, or blue. It is ever so slightly gray and usually warm but looks cooler in my south-facing living room. I’ve never specified this white before. It’s not terrible. With warm golds, it can look a little icy, however. It depends on the light.
See, it looks pretty white here. But, it’s not bad.
Alright, let me get to my point. The point is that if you look around you at the colors of your trim and walls, you’ll see that it is comprised of hundreds of colors. There are shadow and shade, reflection, and hi-lights. Our eye blends it all together and decides what the color really is based on years of experience.
That’s why computer-generated walls that are more or less one flat painted finish look fake.
Look. The paint companies are in business to confuse you. They make a lot of money by trying to deceive you into thinking that there’s really a difference between blah, blahhh and blah, blahhhh. The painting gurus who make money selling you books and courses in picking out the “undertones” aren’t going to tell you either. They WANT and need you to think that this is more difficult than walking across the Grand Canyon on a tight rope without a net.
The Difference In The Paint Colors Is Often Insignificant.
Or, I should say, the difference is so negligible much of the time that I promise you, you will not be able to tell the difference. One reason is, because within each color is a rainbow of colors that change with the light. Then, there’s the light itself and the shadows and reflections that are created.
Friday, I conducted a little experiment and I think that you are going to enjoy this a lot. I downloaded the Benjamin Moore Color Capture App on my little eye-phone. ;] The way it works is that you take a photograph of something and it spits back what it sees. And then along with that, a couple so-called coordinating colors.
It was a bright sunny day when I took the photos, so perfect for getting every variation of white I could muster.
But here’s the thing. 95% of the colors sent back to me were anything BUT white!
Please note that I did nothing to my camera. I did not color correct or purposely try to make things dark. Conversely, I tried to make most of the images as bright as possible!
In each of these photos, the piece of white moulding, trim or door I shot is in the middle on the bottom. Please remember that my apartment is old. Not all of the trim is as crisp as it should be. But most of it is okay.
So, let’s just jump in here and take a gander at the first set of images via the Benjamin Moore Color Capture App.
This is a window sill with shadows and a bit of the dark frame showing. The large colors are the colors that the app sees through the camera and the small colors are the colors that have been deemed to be coordinates. Some as you will see are good and some are really not good.
Graytint which is a lovely pale gray is a good match here. However, it looks lilac here and gray tint is not lilac
The inside of a window frame
One of my favorite colors which is especially nice in a bedroom is Benjamin Moore Abalone 2108-60. It is a warm greige with slight lavender undertones but enough brown to keep it from being too sweet.
Winter Gates AC-30 is a very close match but it’s certainly not white! This is one of my favorite ones here, just not a fan of gingerbread man.
Again River Reflections 1552 is a close match. It’s a deep warm greige with slight green undertones. The golds here make me slightly queasy. How about you? Not sure why they think they are good coordinates.
This was the inside of a window frame in a bedroom that faces SSW. It’s actually on an angle. The architect of this building took great care that every unit was created to get maximum sun exposure.
I’ve decided that I don’t really like taupe unless it’s almost brown or is veering towards purple. If it’s a pink beige. Just plain yuck. Go away! And I really don’t like pinky-beige-taupe with blue.
I’m not sure where this is. I did take some of my front door and hall closet doors that do not have any windows nearby. Again, don’t understand the golds. There are so, so many better colors! But nearly every one of these has gold in it so someone over at Benjamin Moore loves gold.
Now, we’re getting into the blues. The camera read many of these as either violet or blue.
Funny, but my bedroom walls are a “dirty” purple– Tropical Dusk, it’s called. You can see a tiny strip of it next to the window casing. Lots of different whites here, which I rather like.
I don’t know if you noticed, but the majority of these say “CSP.” That stands for Color Stories Paints. This collection came out fairly recently. They are “full-spectrum” meaning that they have no gray or black tint but are made up of 5-7 different colors.
They seem to be pushing these colors. The formulation only comes in the Aura. Aura is their most expensive paint. However, it is very low VOC and covers beautifully. They claim only one coat. I say it’s almost always two but not more than that.
With the old formulations, if you were painting a deep color or painting over a deep color with a very light color, your painter might need to put up to FIVE coats for excellent coverage. Well, having to order twice as much paint plus the labor costs will actually cost you far more in the end. Just something to think about when one is balking at the price of paint.
I don’t know where this is either. But isn’t this a riot? That is a deep gray-blue. It is nowhere near close to white! It might be my front door which is indeed in deep shade with no lights on.
So what can we conclude about paint colors from this exercise?
I see two main things.
- One, my so-called white paint is actually many, many colors. Therefore, small differences in paint colors many not actually end up looking much different from each other once on the wall.
- The camera does not read the colors perfectly. I would say that it rendered the colors darker and far more saturated. So, if you are looking to “capture” a color as they suggest through the APP name, you’d be far better off going back with your fan deck and matching it that way.
“Small differences in paint colors may not end up looking significantly different from each other.”
The problem is… there is just too much choice! And that’s one of my projects. I’m working on narrowing them all down for you. In fact, I’m planning on turning it into an E-book. I think it’s going to be pretty cool and a very useful tool.