Pantone’s Colors Matter… Customer’s Preferences Matter Most

As any reasonable person does before starting off your day, you should check the forecast. Unless, of course, you live in Ohio, where the weather doesn’t seem to notice it should obey the forecasters.

Likewise, as color expert worth their weight in salt would do, one must consult the Pantone Color forecast to keep you in the loop of what’s haute and what’s waning, color-wise, that is. Robin’s egg blue  is a big one this year, as is the Tuscan Gold and grey. Actually, there are two hues of grey, Driftwood and Starfish, with unique undertones all of their own.

Obviously, I read this report, as I have robin’s egg blue Chucks andI own a “Margarita” “Cockatoo” and “driftwood” (green, robin’s eeg blue and grey, see colors below) bedspread. I know what’s hot!

So I’m doing a color consult for a client’s kitchen redo. I presented many different shades and hues to the client. Her house was mostly shades of eggshell, parchment and white. A pop of color would be amazing! Think of what we could do on such a clean, empty palette! Bright, airy picture-windows and white (ish) floors allowed amazing amounts of light to move around the space. The accent wall would look amazing in a vivid red-violet, since purple was her slef-proclaimed favorite color. (Although there was not a lick of it in her house, so I wondered about that.)

She was utterly indecisive, with all both one factor: she loved country. Now, when I think country, I think 90’s geese figurines, plaid, plaid and mauve. Ew. I was determined to pull her up by her acid washed jeans and explain to her that we COULD NOT have such hideous colors in our home.

Paint chips lay strewn across the coffee table for weeks. Finally, I took the client’s daughter to the paint store. We decided perhaps narrowing the options to around seven, instead of a mere 1,300 in Pantone’s collection might take the pressure off mom and she might make a decision quicker and therefore it would actually get done. I tried the same tricks with daughter. She insisted mom didn’t like “bright” or “vivid” or a “splash of color.” Rather, she preferred “muted” and “homey.” bleh.

In the end, a shade of parchment is being applied to the maple cabinets, “pacific blue” (baby blue) for the accent walls and a light sunny gold for trim. Not exactly what I had in mind. I constantly doubted the decision, thinking perhaps I could secretly alter the paint hues and no own would notice. Maybe? Doubt it.

I go to the library a week later and find a book by Country Living on kitchens, aptly named “Country Kitchens.” I open it to find page after page of creams, parchments, whites, eggshells and for color, pastels or navy. whew. Plaids and checkers are preferred patterns. The list goes on and on. In the end, this client, who lives in a farm community, who was raised in a farm community, knew what she wanted.

Even though it didn’t make sense to my artist student’s eye, it was perfectly acceptable.

And so I learned: do your research. More research. Search using terms the customer used, verbatim. And most importantly, don’t push anyone into something they aren’t sure of, because it will likely be covered in parchment, eggshell or white within a year.

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