The Beauty of a Blank Canvas + Decorating Theory by Crocodile Dundee

Having a new home is a learning process, and we already have a few lessons under our belts. One of the biggest is that to properly choose a paint color for a room, it helps to have a blank canvas.

Before we’d even signed the papers on our place, I had paint swatches for the living room. Based on our Maps & Travel inspiration board, we’d selected sand and sky colors. After holding a few color chips up in the actual room, we loved the innuendo-ish “Mature Spanish Chestnuts” as our wall color, with “Spring Oasis,” which looked like a pretty blue-aqua color, for the ceiling. After priming the walls – a lot – we rolled those shades on. And we were underwhelmed. More specifically, I instantly hated both colors.

On the wall, the once sandy tone became more like an icky paper bag that someone unskilled in Photoshop had tried to “warm up.” The ceiling was more bleh than blue; a muddy, greyish green instead of the spritely, clear sea glass tone we’d imagined. What was happening?

We figured it out when we turned to the other side of the room, the side facing the still un-primed hall. Next to the former sea foam green color of the walls, the current colors looked different. The overwhelming dull green in the room had made the only slightly blue paint chip look like a brilliant turquoise. Sans the duller, greener influence, the sea glass tones sank.

Right after this incident, I came across an article in an old issue of Coastal Living featuring the Malibu home of Paul and Linda Hogan – who you know as Crocodile Dundee and Lady Crocodile Dundee! They, too, bought a stuck-in-the-‘70s pad, and when faced with the head-spinning choice of what to do to cover up all that Nixon-era décor, Linda asked the contractor to just spray everything white so she could think. Once it was a blank canvas, they decided it was perfectly pared down and kept the white look. Here is a photo of the Hogan’s bedroom, which certainly is a stunning place to dine on a midnight snack of Vegemite, no?

You don’t have to paint your whole house white before picking paint colors (although if you’re like the Hogans, you might find happily that white IS your paint color). A piece of typing paper can provide the white background needed. Be sure to look at your swatches in all corners of the room. Take your paper and paint samples in front of windows, and also into the darkest corners. Turn on your lamps, and check the colors out at all times of the day. It’s worth waiting 24 hours to see how the color changes at different times. Light can make a huge difference in how colors are read by the eye. Don’t even think about choosing your paint colors right in the florescent light hardware store!

How about you? Have you ever found your “perfect color,” only to shudder once it’s on the wall?


7 Responses to The Beauty of a Blank Canvas + Decorating Theory by Crocodile Dundee

  1. Yeah…the nice butternut color that looked like pumpkin on the walls. And the bright rose that made it look like the room was on fire. And the tan that should have been named “toe tag.” And…shall I go on?

  2. Alexis says:

    What was supposed to be butter yellow looked like I’d plastered the wall in post-it notes. Don’t get me started on the burgundy my mom choose for our childhood kitchen.

  3. Ooh…I like that inspiration photo!!

  4. Pingback: This Paint Battle Has Been Won…

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