Condo Design Tips from an Award Winning Designer!

Monday, September 13, 2010


Selecting the right paint color can be as difficult as choosing the right tie for a man’s suit or the right shoes for a woman’s outfit.

Most of the questions related to selecting paint colors come from people who already chose the finishes at builder’s decor centre, they have moved in or will be moving in shortly and they’re shopping for paint colors ideas. It is no surprise that many of you opted to go with a neutral color, as accessories, art, few pieces of furniture can effortlessly bring in the pizzazz .

Among the many color palettes, neutrals are probably the least understood. They can help you create muted and subtle color schemes or they can help you create dramatic spaces. And in the same time neutrals could be one of the easiest colors to work with as you can layer them with your furnishings so they become quite versatile when mixing and matching them.

As previously explained, choosing the right color can be influenced by the orientation of your condo space, the amount of natural light, the type or artificial lighting you use for each room, the height as well as the open/closed type of space.

There is a huge range of color ideas, each can create a different mood for your space, even more the look can be very different from morning to evening. This is why I always suggest testing a small area on few walls and most importantly never buy all the paint from a paint company’s website, each monitor has different settings and can drastically influence the perception of each color.

To make it easier to understand how colors are paired with your finishes, let's assume the floor and kitchen cabinets are color coordinated. Most open space condos have the kitchen as one of the first area you notice when you walk in, even after the space is furnished. 95% of all questions related to selecting paint colors revolve around the same question "how do I make sure the paint color works with the kitchen I already have?" And because the cabinets and countertop are the largest surface, they set the tone for the kitchen/dining/living space.

There are many ways of working with your kitchen colors, but probably the most important question to address first is - do you want your kitchen to stand out or to blend in the overall design?

As many of you chose standard finishes from builder's choices, selecting a neutral color comes easy because most of standard finishes are somewhat similar and because most people prefer the simplicity and balanced look given by the neutral colors.

Here are few color palettes I have prepared for you, all you have to do is choose, order a small can and do a test and before you know it your condo can be painted and ready to move in in just few days.
For this exercise, all paint colors have been selected from the canadian paint colors selection from Benjamin Moore.

Both options are very similar, the granite selected sets the tone for a totally different color scheme- the left one with warmer hues while the right one has a cooler feel.
The "olive" hues present in the kitchen cabinets give you the option of continuing the tone throuhgout your open space or going for more greys and taupes in the overall look and feel.

Off white kitchen cabinets can be paired with many types of granite and offers you a wide selection of paint colors. When choosing an off white tone for the adjacent walls compare the cabinet door with the paint color to make sure they have the same tonality, off whites can be very challenging when choosing the wrong shade. When selecting a dark wall paint color, the kitchen cabinetry will stand out and with the right artwork and furniture it could be a very interesting and dramatic space.

Dark espresso kitchen cabinets will give you a smilar result when paired with neutral colors. For a big contrast between the kitchen area and the dining/living space, opt for lighter paint colors. When choosing darker tones, you create a uniform look for the entire space and the focal wall can drive the look of the entire space. Darker walls are often perceived as creating a look that makes the space feel smaller. However, it is not the wall color that creates the look but everything that is in that room- artowork, mirrors, upholstery fabrics, accessories all play a very important role in creating the Wow factor in any condo space.

This maple kitchen cabinet can create two different spaces just by using a different granite choice and totally opposite paint colors. The left option creates a cooler look and feel where the kitchen cabinet warms up the entire space by contrast. The right option continues the warm hues and when paired with the right colors in furniture and furnshings could become a very bright interior When facing north using warm finishes can make up for the lack of direct sun light.

Very popular choice among small space dwellers, perhaps because of the light natural maple cabinets. As you can see, the granite color can dictate which color tones to follow. Hard to say if one option is better than the other because without knowing the furniture and all accessories you can't choose one paint vs another. My biggest advice is to always have the big picture in mind, start by imagining the space after everything is installed, curtains, furniture, area rugs everything is in place.
well... if you don't know exactly what goes in each room, start working by layers- from the largest items to the smalles ones.
In any kitchen there is a visual connection between the color of cabinet doors, countertop and backsplash, here are more images for you to explore.
Start with the floor, walls, kitchen (if working with an open space) then get down to the nitty gritty and think of all small details. Once the big items are in place it will be really easy to go shopping for the accessories that will spice up the space and create the look you dreamed of.

This should be fun! :)

AND what about the backsplash, granite countertop and kitchen cabinets? How to select them when there are soooo many options?! FIND OUT Here
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  1. Cabinets, counter-tops, and paint seem to go together when designing or remodeling your condo.


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