Although many designers like to test paint right on the walls, color consultant Paulette Diamond, ASID, vice president of the International Association of Color Consultants - North America, suggests buying 8" x 10" flat canvas boards from an art supply store and painting one in each of the colors you are considering. "This system allows you to move the paint color samples around the room easily," she says, "while eliminating the mess and confusion of having several different colors painted on the wall." Finally, once you are pretty certain you have found the best color for your bathroom, "Just go for it," Joan says. "Remember, it's only paint. If you aren't happy with it you can change it very easily.
The final selection of your bathroom's color palette will depend not just on the color of your tub or the tone of your tile, but also on the overall look you want to achieve. A bathroom that incorporates white marble, white porcelain and pale wood will have an entirely different look with soft green walls than with walls of metallic blue. Ask yourself: Do I want my bathroom to be relaxing or energizing? Trendy or timeless? Whatever mood you're after, the process of choosing a color will feel less overwhelming if you take it step by step. "First," says Joan Osburn, of Osburn Design in San Francisco, "pick all the colors that you like, no holds barred. Then narrow them down to two or three options. Look at them in different lights and at different times of day.
I painted over the Masonite with a really good primer and then I decoupaged tissue paper in vivid colors over it — indigo blue, sunny yellow, even some silver tissue paper. It looks luminous, freckled, almost like water. Above the shower stall, I did much brighter colors and I sealed it all with a water-based polyurethane." While Cy applied his decoupage directly to the wall, his "simple French" look would work just as well applied to foam core or poster board, framed or not, and then hung on a bathroom wall for a splash of color you could change out whenever you want. "Paint the walls, or if they're mostly tile, paint the ceiling!" says Cy. "If the color doesn't work, you can paint it something else." And should you need to sell the house later, and believe the accepted wisdom that only white walls are appropriate in "For Sale" bathrooms, you can spend an afternoon painting it back. Or for just a minimal change, paint a frame and hang it on the bathroom mirror with Velcro.
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