When skies are gray in Seattle (and they quite often are) the best colors for the home are definitely ones that look best in filtered light. We know that variations in light (both direct and reflective light) affect the appearance of color. The hot tropical sun of the Caribbean is perfect for highly-saturated colors. The high altitude and red earth of the American Southwest are a complement to warm hues. And highly filtered light, with overcast skies, call for muted tones.
Although we all have our own color preferences and tastes it's important to be aware of the environment and natural light as it will affect our perception of color. Refined Finishes, based on beautiful Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound, knows a thing or two about color in the Northwest. After years of working as a faux finisher and mastering various painting techniques, Pat Ruchon developed an eye for palettes that work best in the cloudy Northwest.
"I like to recommend colors that complement the beautiful Northwest. Just as I feel that tropical plants seem out of place here, hot, brilliant colors somehow conflict with the local environment. I advise people to pick clear or muted colors. Colors that reflect the moody weather or the changing colors of the sea and mountains."
Pat has worked on several collections that works well with grey skies. One of these collections, Bainbridge Blues, was designed in collaboration with her friends at Bainbridge Blues Textiles, enabling the homeowner to create a harmonious interior. The palette is serene and comforting without being boring — a word that is sometimes associated with muted colors. The above image shows just a few of the paint chip colors within this collection.
But now that you've found your appropriate hue you may still find it challenging to know how to utilize it well inside your home. Pat advises:
"Pick colors that are easy to live with. Intense colors that are muted and deep will feel wonderful but not if they are too bright and brash. A home should make you feel able to relax and toned colors will help to do that. In general, pick colors that can blend into your decor, not contrast with it."
For even greater room harmony, don't forget to think about repainting or reupholstering your furniture. If your walls are getting a re-do maybe your dresser would do well with a fresh coat of color and new throw pillows can transition a changed wall color with an existing sofa color.
For additional collections that work well with cloudy weather try looking at Devine Color and the Martha Stewart Collection. Farrow & Ball, based in another famous grey-skied city (London), has a wide range of appropriate colors that would also work well.
Image: Refined Finishes