How many paint colors are too many?
slepard
July 27, 2012 in Design Dilemma
We are in the midst of repainting our soon to be new house, head to toe with new paint, walls, trim and ceilings. Think 1930 traditional, red brick Georgian, center hall floor plan. Back of the house had an addition for kitchen/family room great room. Is it too much color to do one color in dining room (navy), one color for center hall 1st and 2nd floor (butter cream yellow) and then 3rd color for formal living room space and family room/kitchen? I have been told that 1 or 2 colors is more 'sophisticated' but we don't seem to gravitate to 1 or 2 for the entire main.... Thoughts?
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
I officially declare your 3 color scheme to be very sophisticated, tho that's brave of me since I don't really know what the third color is. But I do know that you're putting a very pleasing and fairly neutral color (butter cream yellow) into the largest area of the house. And an interesting color (navy) into the dining room, so I'm taking on faith that you're not going to blow the deal by painting the rest of it black.

Interior design is an art and not a science, and it's a good thing because i wouldn't be able to tell you all what to do if it were a science. So don't worry about those rules quoted by others. Do what is pleasing to you and your family.
July 27, 2012 at 7:08PM     
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Wow Great Place
Go with your gut! It is the one rule I always stress to my clients. When something makes your heart go pitter patter, then it means it is the right choice for YOU. I have done several colors on a main floor, with beautiful results. Trying to stick with 1-2 just because someone said that is the rule is just going to cause you to dislike the end result.
July 27, 2012 at 7:15PM     
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Carrol Trefler
Here's what I think.....throughout the house, you should work with three complimentary colours - my place is presently shades of grey, shades of cream, and the accent is aqua. So you mix each room - so one room can be cream walls, grey upholstery and splashes of aqua......or the walls can be a pale acqua grey, upholstery can be cream and again touches of acqua, or you can swing into soft teal blues (it's still in the aqua family). This way each room will flow into the next, but each will have their own feeling.
July 27, 2012 at 7:23PM     
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Denise Jones
I vote for three colors in the same family.
July 27, 2012 at 7:36PM   
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
Color schemes are not determined by vote. They are determined by personal preferences. But, hey, your vote works in your own house!
July 27, 2012 at 7:38PM     
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slepard
Thank you for your responses, they help tremendously! And to Carolyn, we are stuck on our 3rd color but gravitating towards some type of light gray/beige...maybe Ben Moore Baby Fawn.... We are starting with paint and then know that in a year or two we will change our fabrics/colors...so we want to try and keep the paint versatile enough. Picking paints is so tough!
July 27, 2012 at 7:43PM   
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
If you have a friendly designer in your area, hiring him/her for an hour for a paint consultation will be well worth the money spent in peace of mind. A professional opinion on the spot is worth far more than anything I can tell you online.
July 27, 2012 at 7:46PM     
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Wow Great Place
Yes, listen to Carolyn!! Hire someone to come help you decide!!
July 27, 2012 at 7:54PM     
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slepard
Yes, I agree! We have hired someone and they suggested navy in the dining room (love) and Manchester Tan for the rest (so-so). She is now out of town for a bit and we need to have it figured out in only a few days as the painters just finished the trim and ceiling. We love the butter cream for the hall but i don't want it in the kitchen. So now we are into Baby Fawn.. That is how we got to the place of moving from 2 colors to 3.... I commend all of you who do this for a living!
July 27, 2012 at 8:00PM   
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Wow Great Place
Where is the Manchester Tan going?? Upstairs? (you mention butter cream for the hall and navy in the dining room)
What is it about Manchester Tan that is turning you off? (if you want just a touch deeper, go to Bleeker Beige, the next one in the historical color collection from BM).....one is HC80, the other is HC-81, I just can't remember which is which, my kit is in the car, and I'm in my jammies!
And most important, especially if you have doubts, always do a tester on the wall!!!
July 27, 2012 at 8:06PM   
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slepard
We finally decided 'no' on Manchester Tan...we are on to either the Baby Fawn to replace it OR Abalene...has more of a contrast with the butter color (windham cream). This is enough to put me in the loony bin. Thank you though for your help, advice and suggestions! And to answer your question about why we are turned off to MTan...my husband has a thing about 'beige'...he thinks it is boring, he wants more definition and color than what MT has to offer in the room. Lots of windows but shady light. I could go on forever but I will now refrain from doing so! :)
July 27, 2012 at 8:13PM   
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Charmean Neithart Interiors, LLC.
I think three colors on one floor is a good plan. More importantly, the colors should be cohesive. I like to think of a "house palette". Look at the whole house, is there good flow from room to room. I would be more concerned about flow than how many paint colors are being used. You sound like you're on the right track. Also, Van Deusen Blue HC-156 by Benjamin Moore is my favorite Navy. Very similar to this room...


Hope that helps. Charmean Neithart
July 27, 2012 at 8:28PM   
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Wendy Hoechstetter
I agree there are no rules about how many (or how few!) colors one should use - except that they should all flow together cohesively from room to room in some reasonable fashion, and that your choices should support the overall look and mood you are after.

At the end of the day, too, it doesn't really matter what the "experts" say. You are the one who is going to have to live with your choices, and if you love them, then who cares what anyone else says?
July 28, 2012 at 12:27AM     
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Wendy Hoechstetter
Also, it's important to start with what you want the space to feel like - and the furnishings you already have and will be keeping, or what you are going to purchase new. Choosing paint colors should not occur in a vacuum separate from the rest of the design decisions; it should actually be one of the *last* decisions made. This is because there are already thousands of stock paint colors, and it is incredibly easy to create custom tints to get exactly what you want, so paint is by far the easiest part of an interior design to adjust to suit once you get everything else down pat.
July 28, 2012 at 12:31AM     
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Faireden
I think 3 colors are perfect. And don't forget beige, gray, white, tan are considered neutrals, so they don't even count as one of your color choices! Sophisticated is a style not a color - so go for it.
July 28, 2012 at 1:24AM   
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Dytecture
I would agree the maximum number of wall colors in a room is 3, you might want to try with only 2 colors to start with since more colors will be added through accessories, and it could become too busy very quickly.


July 28, 2012 at 5:51AM   
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jillybeanz
I think you should with your gut and follow your inspiration!
October 26, 2013 at 7:46AM     
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Whitfield Properties
Painting walls Navy blue strikes me as risky and tends to raise my blood pressure at the mere thought. I've just never seen it I don't believe?? Of course you should do what you want and all that...but to be honest...there might be some snickering going on behind your back. That's just my honest opinion. I'm not trying to be rude in any way shape or form, please believe that. If you like Navy blue...I think you can use that for the color of your place mats and maybe your drapes... The new Chanel patterns that are trendy now would look cool on some navy drapes. You know,like a white geometric octagon print on navy?? As for using lots of colors. Of course that would be fine. Maybe try to keep your off-white trim color continuous and your ceiling color a half-chemistry of your trim/door color. Do you tend to like jewel colors on walls rather than pastel colors? I will say that for a 1930's Georgian with center hall floor plan...a color like navy could possibly work...if ever. Just really think on that and get some more opinions please! I want you to hit a home run!
October 26, 2013 at 8:17AM     
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simmermom
We have more colors in our house and I was a bit concerned it'd be garish, but they are all lighter and from the same tonal family- greens, a blue, and a grey. Guests always tell me they love the house and ask if I'm available to decorate theirs so even if it's not ok according to current popular design, it still is nice :)
October 26, 2013 at 9:11AM     
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lindaraeob
Don't be afraid of color. It's only paint! Go for the Navy. I did my college age son's room - 2 walls 'naval', 2 khaki. It later became our guest room and we got lots of positive comments; especially liked how the brass bed pops. Also did a china blue in our master and loved it.
October 26, 2013 at 9:39AM     
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slepard
Since everyone was so kind in getting back to me on my question i thought i would share what we did since it has been a year! We ended up painting the entire first floor one very neutral color and then we painted our dining room a very dark navy...white trim on crown molding and around windows. It shows well and we get fabulous comments on it as it makes a nice statement walking through the front door. Next project, the fireplace! :) The pics are reversed clearly...new pics first, old pics 2nd
October 26, 2013 at 2:37PM   
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Whitfield Properties
Well, you proved me sooo wrong. And I'm glad. The navy paint color looks really nice!!! I'm glad I made my comment a year after the fact as well. lol. Nevertheless, you have helped open my mind! I guess it really goes to show that when a person has a vision...it's really hard to share that vision until you actually create it and put it out there. I guess that's what you call art. Your own personal expression of design and color. BRAVO TO YOU!
October 26, 2013 at 2:44PM        Thanked by slepard
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simmermom
I did not see it was a year old! How funny that it popped up today :) Fun for me, though, because I didn't have to wait weeks to see the finished product like usual!
Very beautiful! I adore navy and crisp white. I think you're doing a great job with your colors :)
October 26, 2013 at 3:20PM        Thanked by slepard
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Shelby Savka
No, you shouldn't be afraid to use bold colors but, too many colors is distracting! You can't go wrong with neutral and pops of bold colors but, if you walk into a blue room then a yellow room then a green room people are going to be confused and feel as though a child has picked the theme by going through their crayon box! Remember color is good but, in moderation!
November 5, 2013 at 5:41AM   
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caitbug80
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March 8, 2014 at 6:33AM     
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malleymay
Many colors can work well together. When we moved into our house, there was mauve carpet throughout the main floor, and all walls were white. It is a semi-open floor plan, and from the front door you can see all four rooms on the main floor.
I wanted to create a relaxing living room area, a cozy dining room area, and an energizing kitchen.
I ended up keeping the mauve carpet, and choosing a color combination for the walls that sounds odd, but it turned out beautifully.
Living room: two walls deep purple, two walls tan.
Dining room: two walls deep green (same value as the purple), two walls tan.
Kitchen: an eclectic mix of lavender and stunning yellow.
Foyer: wallpaper (deep-green, tan, mauve) and one wall tan.
There is a deep-green element to every room, such as wall decor, cushions, plant stands, etc. The deep green looks wonderful against the mauve carpet, and accents the wall colors remarkably well.
May 20, 2014 at 6:07PM   
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