Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ask Cristina: Hacienda Color Palette

Dear Cristina, (via my website at
I'm looking for a color palette to complement the old Mexican unglazed pavers that cover half the living space in my home. This is a small house with an open floor plan. I have exposed beams and squarish columns. I think it's mission style? I've found reference to a"hacienda style color palette" from Pittsburgh paint but it"s not available yet. Do you have any suggestions for me?
Thanks, Michelle
Dear Michelle,

Your house does sound like it's Mission or Territorial Spanish style. Usually the beams are natural wood or darkened with age. The walls tend to be a version of a warm white. Centuries ago in New Mexico and other areas of the Southwest, it was usual for the final interior plaster coat to contain mica if that mineral was available. The bits of mica in the wall plaster would subtly reflect the candlelight, making the most of the light of the candles.

Of course, you don't have to be overly traditional with the colors you choose, or put mica in your plaster. It's good to know the traditions of a particular style so that when you alter them to create a contemporary color palette, your choices make conceptual sense.

Here's a course of action that can lead you to choosing the colors that are right for your home:
  • Pittsburgh Paints Voice of Color has a wonderful selection of color groupings. I suggest that you visit the paint store and ask to check out a fan-deck of paint samples.
  • Open the fan deck and fan it into a circle so that you can see the various colors against the floor. Do this with daylight.
  • Note the colors that you think look best with the floor, then double check them against any other elements in the room, such as a fireplace, wood ceiling, beams, furniture or favorite painting.
  • Winnow your choices down to the few you'd like to test.
  • Visit the paint store for samples of the actual paint and do a test area of at least 2' x 2' and in a corner so that you can see the color on 2 planes of walls.
If you'd like to read about my color consulting services, contact me and put the words, Color consulting, in the text box. I'll send you a link to my FREE E-booklet explaining my service.

See examples of my color consulting portfolio and articles on my website. Call me to schedule a color consulting appointment in Bend, Oregon or a phone appointment if you don't live in Oregon.

Read more of my Choosing Colors blog entries.

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