As an interior design afficionado (working on my own homes and learning from mistakes), graphic designer and amateur photographer, I have come to realise that, while there are exceptions to the rule, mid-to-dark walls in a small space with little (to none) natural light often make it less dingy and dim. Conversely, painting that same small space whites (or a pale colour) can actually highlight its lack of light. So, the carefully chosen Vivid White you choose to paint that small space in order to brighten the room, can look Yucky Paste because colour is very much influenced by available natural light as well as the colour of that natural light, which differs greatly depending on latitudes (see here and here).
And we know that colour influences how we feel about a space. How we interpret a space internally and externally. That’s why red is a good colour for dining rooms and certain yellows can be bad for bathrooms.
When a strong colour is picked for a small room with little natural light, the colour choice feels deliberate. [Of course, hopefully, the decision maker has a vision for the space.] So what happens, I feel, is that the available natural light allows the colour choice to shine, rather than to struggle to bounce off white (or off white) walls; in a room that invariably will contain more (shelving, house-hold items, etc) than just bare walls.
Well, in June 2017 it came time to attack the next space in my home. The walk-in closet. Our master bedroom is quite a large room with an excellent floor to ceiling window at one end. The other end houses the walk-in closet which then leads into the ensuite. This far area contains but one small window (which is in the ensuite) and a skylight for the walk-in.
My daughters playing in our bedroom before I attacked the space with paint. You can see how dated and tired the bedroom and walk-in closet looks.
The existing paint colour was very, very wrong. Firstly, the paint was a pale apricot – so bad/dated. Secondly, the light colour meant that it was smudged, dirty and dusty, from years of being a rental. Thirdly, the pale yellow apricot colour was too close a shade to the basic melamine shelving in there. It made the wall disgusting and the shelving cheap. (The shelving wasn’t going anywhere, it was quite decently outfitted and had different types and cavity sizes and pretty good hanging space so replacing it would be senseless.)
I knew I wanted to go with a stand-out colour. I had harped on this blog about a vibrant yellow for years, but somehow, this house was not for the sunshine yellow I love.
Because this small space opens up to our bedroom, I opted to go for the same colour: Colleen’s Cote by Haymes. It remains one of my favourite colours ever. The bold colour on the long wall that almost spans the width of our entire home makes me constantly happy. I painted this mid 2015 and still, the verdant green nourishes my soul when I gaze at the wall opposite our bed. The other two (fourth wall taken up by the large window) are painted a beautiful white with a touch of umber, Modesty White by Haymes Paint. (I’ve painted the whole house AND ceiling with Modesty White!)
My bedroom is by far my favourite room in the house.
Always ask advice from the paint specialists when you buy the paint. Never assume the undercoat is white. Most paint mixing software include information on best undercoat colours. And NEVER skip undercoats!
For my verdant green paint colour, a mid-grey undercoat was recommended. I purchase the undercoat in basic white tint in 4L tins, which will paint 2-3 mid size rooms. So when I buy topcoats in strong colours that require tinted undercoats, my paint supplier gives me a small jar of tint. (Helps to build up a good relationship with the paint shop!)
After painting the entire space with the undercoat, I toyed with just going with a mid-grey topcoat. It looked so nice, even just with the undercoat. I think it was the allure of a different look. The grey made the space look sharper and cleaner.
I couldn’t wait to get started with a topcoat. Any topcoat. Grey as my topcoat would have looked good. I to-and-fro-ed with grey and green for a day. Ultimately, I went back to my original plan. Since the walk-in-closet is a small space (1.5m x 1.5m), I felt the best thing for it was to continue the green from the wall just outside.
It was a small space, but boy did three topcoats take forever! I had to mask off around the shelving. I typically don’t use masking tape for painting but more masking tape was used for this small space than the entire house.
The gorgeous space is sharp.
The clothes stand out more with the green walls. I love the florals and different colours against the emerald green.
When the green dried and the room was painted, I was then able to envision how other things could be stored and arranged.
I found the white cubby-hole shelving at a closing down sale many years ago and finally found the right use for it. Looped up belts fit in there beautifully. The wire basket beneath stores all the belts that won’t fit in the cubbies.
My IKEA scarf holder and brooch display behind the walk in door stand out sharply against the green wall. I painted the door in a gloss Modesty White. Since the ceiling and door trim is also painted in the same Modesty White, so it’s all very clean and sharp.
I bought some clear perspex magazine holders to hold the clutches and purses. Two fit perfectly in one of those melamine shelving cubbies. I think the cubbies were meant for shoes, but we have way more shoes and I cannot stand to store our shoes in the same space we hang clean clothes.
It seems that the natural light available to this space works better with the green!