In the contract of a house? It can feel like it will take forever to reach your graduation date and you will no doubt click your home’s list again while waiting to move in. Do you use this time, do you use Benjamin Moore and are you planning a revision of the color?
After four moves in six years, including a stay in London, design writer Kathleen Luttschyn, her husband and two sons were ready to move to their new home in River Forest, outside Chicago. “I wanted our house to feel like home as soon as possible,” she says. “We bought the house when we were living abroad, so I looked at the pictures dozens of times to plan what I wanted.” Choosing colors was a fun way to prepare for the family transition and make their new home their own. This is how Kathleen did it:
Give yourself a goal
Color is more than just a line item on your home renovation budget. It is the background of your daily life. Before you start choosing colors, decide how you want your new home to feel. “The sellers updated our 100-year-old house before listing it and they left the walls a lot white,” says Kathleen. “We wanted to warm it up with color and pattern.” Not sure where to start? Browse other local listings and note the color palettes that appeal to you. If you ever feel stuck along the way, get back to your overall goal for the project and let it guide you.
Kathleen planned her house pallet around the kitchen cabinets, which the vendors Benjamin Moore painted midnight blue in 1638.
Order samples that will arrive on the day of the move
Color chips are useful for narrowing down color families and shades. Only with samples can you get an idea of what a color will look like on site. “When we moved in, I had several ideas,” says Kathleen. “But we didn’t paint until we could see the patterns in the rooms. Our house has many windows and natural light, so the colors appear very different throughout the day. “Whether you’re painting a color directly on the wall or painting a surface that you can move around in space, sampling shades will help you build confidence in your choices. Order the samples that are best for your room – color swatches, peel-and-stick or pints – directly from the Benjamin Moore eStore so that they are in front of your door on the day you move in.
Fix any imperfections
Older homes often need some work to get walls into shape. Sometimes it’s so easy to fill a few holes with a filler and then sand the walls to smooth them – but major renovations are not uncommon for new homeowners. “We covered three sockets in the middle of the walls for wall lamps and artificial lights,” Kathleen recalls. “We also had to make a furrow on a glass doorknob that had struck a wall.” Postponing these types of fixes can make a room feel incomplete even after painting and decorating. Therefore, plan the necessary repairs when you move in.
Create a palette for the whole house
Painting each room at once can feel overwhelming, so it’s helpful to start small. Kathleen concentrated on the kitchen and dining room, and everything else extended from these rooms. “We based our color palette on two things first: the kitchen cabinets that the salespeople painted midnight blue and the floral wallpaper we chose for our dining room.”
In the breakfast room, Kathleen used Landscape, “a fresh, bright green that matches the blue cabinets in the kitchen and looks beautiful with the trees and garden outside.” A popular cream-colored Swiss coffee creates a feeling of calm in the living room and provides a backdrop for versatile art and textiles. “We covered the walls of our conservatory with grass,” explains Kathleen, “and painted the ceiling Gray Wisp, which looks airy and pretty.” By moving from room to room and looking at colors in context, Kathleen was able to create a varied palette that still feels pulled together.
Benjamin Moore’s Swiss Coffee OC-45, a sophisticated creamy white, is the perfect backdrop for the textures and textiles in Kathleen’s living room.
Make a plan for painting
Whether you are hiring a contractor or painting yourself, it helps to have a plan. If you do the job yourself, collect everything you need – from tarpaulins and painter’s tape to rollers and brushes. To hire a painter, ask family and friends for recommendations and receive a few different offers to compare. Or (even easier if you are new to town) contact your local Benjamin Moore dealer for a recommendation. All Benjamin Moore retailers are independently owned. So you’re supporting a local business while making connections in your new neighborhood. For Kathleen’s project, she was able to hire the same contractor to fix her walls for painting and hire a friend with an interior designer to help choose the furniture. The result, she says, is a home that feels customized for her family.