I always loved color, felt like I had a good “color sense” of what went together well, and a great memory for color. When I went shopping, I did a good job of finding that color that matched something else I had. I relied on that good “color sense” for many years.
When I started my home staging and design business, I learned more through my training about picking paint colors to help home owners sell their house. While I learned the value of neutral colors to help appeal to more buyers, picking the exact colors often came down to using guides others had developed on what colors they thought worked well together, based on their personal opinion and their “color sense”. The basis for how those colors were selected was never clearly explained.
Wanting to learn more and struggling with how to determine and work with so called “undertones”, I took a color training with a well-known “color expert” to become a certified color expert. I received information on how to identify “warm and cool” color schemes, what paint colors with certain “undertones” generally went together and which paint colors to avoid. Again, I received a list of paint colors that were favorites with notes on their “undertones”, and colors to be avoided. It all was based on the trainer’s “perception” of what the “undertones” were, and what worked together and what didn’t. There was no clear direction on how to determine these “undertones” for yourself other than looking at colors against a so called “white” background and using your own visual perception of what you were seeing.
I continued to study color by reading blogs or listening to podcasts of many “color experts”, all of whom had developed their own methods for describing how color worked and their perceptions of what went together and how to determine the elusive “undertones”.
I started to wonder if maybe the paint companies had the secret answers and would call them to ask whether certain colors would work with others and reviewed their suggestions for color combinations. I poured over fan decks and thought there were secrets to unlocking the mystery of color in the way the colors were ordered on the sheets. Wrong!