Color Theory Archives - Color Confidential
Select Page

The 10 Commandments of Choosing Color

Selecting colours takes courage — and best done with lots of cups of tea (or bubbly). Here are the 10 things I recommend to make sure your color choices are spot on.

  1. To Each Their Own: Be authentic to yourself, as what really matters is how you respond to it. If the colour works for you, it’s right!
  2. Feel it Out: Ask yourself lots of questions about the experience you want to have within that particular space. What colours come to mind for you personally that create that feeling. That’s the best starting point and will lead you to making authentic choices.
  3. Identify Inspiration: What is the colour “driver”? That one ‘thing’ that you knew to be the engine starter, inspiration and energy instigator.  It could be in the form of fabric, tile, flowers, paper … absolutely anything! Once you’ve found it, you’ll know it.
  4. Colour Questions: Color is never seen in isolation – it is always in a relationship with something else, so the question is:  what kind of relationship do you want to have with colour? Dramatic, bold, energizing, neutral, quiet, calm, etc. Write out a list of words to best describe this for yourself.
  5. Exploration: We often imitate before we can innovate, so resource through as many areas as possible for ideas. Magazines, movie sets, art and nature…. get out there and explore.
  6. Form & Function: What is the function of the room? Is it used mostly day or nighttime? Ask yourself why you want to have that experience in order to broaden your vision and consider other contributing colour elements.
  7. Break it Down: Break colour down into manageable components considering your space like Paint by Numbers. Pair surfaces together as you build your palette (i.e. ceilings/floors). This concept helps you layer the colours while exploring the relationships between them.C2 color palette
  8. Let it Flow: Consider threading one colour throughout your entire home – one that links all of the rooms, varying from being a full on broad stroke to barely traceable. Your eye will always find it and it will help your color transition easily from room to room.
  9. Attention to Accents: All colour schemes are improved by accents, the final touches of colour that add an element of surprise, and bring rooms to life. Introduce colour accents with pillows or unique tabletop accessories – these will help tell your individual style story.
  10. Simple Surprises: Use colour in unexpected places, behind closed doors, inside cabinets, drawers and closets. All those tucked away places that provide an element of surprise once revealed. Much like having a beautiful lining inside your coat.

    C2 Al Green

    Painting the inside of your front door is a refreshing surprise.

Colors do not transition from home to home in the same way, so be mindful of using the same palette all the time. New spaces warrant new colour consideration.

I’m happy to assist with your color questions. Just add a comment in the area below.



How moody are you? What is your color story? One might ask these questions when approaching an interior design project. The presence, or absence of color is in our daily lives — from the moment the sun rises, casting its tone and mood on the day, to the clothes we wear, to the spaces we live in. Light and color are synonymous. Looking inward to the space we live in, specific hues can provoke different emotions, associations, and responses that affect how one’s home is perceived. In fact, some research has shown that color can increase mood up to 80%. (more…)

Let Color Choices Dictate Design Plans. Color choices can make or break a design. Fortunately, we are far from the times when our color choices were limited to a small batch of natural pigments. Synthetic pigments and the screen have made our lives increasingly easier, while also making decisions infinitely more complex.

Full spectrum paint creates a dynamic, luminous effect

Full spectrum paint creates a dynamic, luminous effect

Faced with such an overwhelming amount of color options in today’s markets, many homeowners profess to be afraid of color, for fear of making mistakes.  Consulting with an interior designer when selecting a color palette for a design project is an integral part of the process.

How Mood and Color Create Your Story.  When telling a client’s color story, I always start with getting to know their personality and lifestyle. A color story should reflect various elements of a personality to avoid looking like a theme, so it has always been important to me to add a mixture of light and dark.

Each room tells a story

Each room tells a story

A rich color story should also be offer flexibility and adaptation – I decorate for all seasons and moods. Purely as a personal preference, the complexity of moods is what I am drawn to, love and relate to. I probably wouldn’t be happy in a totally light, airy home; my nature and personality requires a moody house so much so that a light and cheery environment, for me, would feel as if it was missing some depth, richness and contrast.

Darker colors create a sense of richness and depth

While I typically have a mix of light and dark all in one room, I also find it creatively interesting to experience various moods as I wander through the house. The “moodiness” of a room doesn’t have to come only from colored or dark walls, of course, it can also be achieved through layers, darker floors, a mix of richer furniture, antiques, fabrics, or painted cabinets—all combined to reflect a mood and tell a story.

A color story should reflect various elements of a personality to avoid looking like a theme.

At times, the actual space also dictates the setting of a mood. Moody rooms might feel more appropriate with certain styles or even locations and settings of a house. Case in point, when a space has a lot of natural light at the back of a house, dark wall colors would feel washed out, so a lighter color and tone and mood works best in those rooms.

Play off the natural light

Play off the natural light

For me, I feel best when the mood of a home feels inspired by and incorporates aspects of the mood of the natural habitat we live in. I tend to feel more comfortable with colors that have slightly warmer or gray undertones. Selecting colors that reflect and arouse a sense of cohesiveness inside and out feels more settling and comforting to me. So, don’t be afraid of being moody. Use it to tell your personal color story.

About Designer, David Chenault

David Chenault

David Anthony Chenault

These words have been used by clients and peers to describe the designer who is David Anthony Chenault. Born in Denver, Colorado and raised in Missouri, David Anthony Chenault had a creative eye and a penchant for making things beautiful since early childhood. He was simply born and destined to be a designer. He went on to graduate with a degree in Architecture with an emphasis in Interior Design from Southwest Missouri State University.

Over the course of 28 years, David has since transformed many homes in the tri-state area, as well as designed memorable residential and commercial projects across the country. As the principal interior designer for David Anthony Chenault Interior Design, David creates fresh, timeless spaces that are beautiful, elegant, and unforgettable. The design is a collaboration of his own vision and that of identifying the dream that is within the client’s desires. The style of his work is traditional with a modern approach. “We want our homes to reflect the client’s lifestyle, not a fancy trend,” he says. “Homes should emanate personality and warmth, and be comfortable and livable while retaining a certain formality.” David’s work has been published in Christie’s Great Estates, Home & Design, Washingtonian, Northern Virginia, Architectural Digest and 417. Regularly featured in, currently, Home and Design “PORTFOLIO” has also added David as one of the Tri states’ Top 100 Designers.

Contact David at


Why Full Spectrum Color is Changing the Game for Paint Companies

Brilliant Color and Better Coverage

Have you ever heard someone toss around the term “full-spectrum paint” and wondered what they were talking about? Well, it’s not just for insiders anymore. Most of us are looking for paint color that will be beautiful, dynamic and durable. Enter, full spectrum paint.

Quite simply, full spectrum paint color utilizes multiple pigments that represent more of the color wheel. Most paint colors are made with two or three pigments, plus black, to create the majority of paint colors on the market. Full spectrum paints often have upwards of eight or more pigments, and no black, to create more beautiful, luminous colors.

C2 Paint’s “Zorro”, a near black color that feels as mysterious as the masked man himself, contains no black pigment. Black paint made with no black? It sounds crazy, but it’s true! So, why does that matter to you?

Zorro image for blog_REVISED

Historically, black has been an important pigment in the paint industry because it gives paint makers a shortcut to getting great coverage in one or two coats. If you have ever had the chore of painting four or five coats of red on a wall, then you know what I mean.

There is a huge drawback to using black in the production of paint colors. Black pigments “de-chromatize” colors and make them look lifeless at certain times of the day. That means that the rich claret color you so painstakingly chose will look grayed and dull instead of colorful and interesting. Think about it in scientific terms: black absorbs light, rather than reflects it. Make sense?

Since no one wants muddy, lifeless walls, the solution is to use a full spectrum approach to creating every color. Once I explain how C2 Paint colors are made, I am often asked by my customers: “Why doesn’t every paint company do this; it seems so logical?”

Top 3 Reasons Why Companies Don’t Invest in Full Spectrum Paint Color:

#1 The basic pigment cost is higher, and most paint companies are interested in shaving those dollars OFF their costs, not adding to them. Investing in better pigments and investing in new color recipes for an entire paint brand is not seen as a priority to those shareholders. I certainly don’t blame them; the cost is immense to make changes across a national platform, but it DOES affect how the paint interacts with light, and ultimately it affects how I feel about the color!

#2 Most paint makers don’t consider color in their decisions. (I know, it makes no sense!) And if they do, it’s pretty much last in the equation. First, the price points of the paint are determined, and then the paint itself is formulated. The color conversation is secondary to all of this.

#3 Lack of interest in color. This sounds pretty fundamental, but I think there is a lot of truth to this idea. Paint chemists are not by nature colorists. So, it’s simply not on their radar in the same way as it is to you and me.

When you or I get ready to repaint, our primary concern is about the color. We know that when we go to our independent paint store, they represent great-quality products. But how that color will look on the wall year after year has to be taken into consideration.

At C2, paint color is as much a primary value to the company as is the paint product itself.


The Proof is in the Pigments

Are you aware that different paint companies use different pigments to make their colors? That’s why you can’t just take a paint recipe from one company and have it made into someone else’s paint brand. They don’t necessarily translate without some serious color-matching skills.

Some pigments are finely ground and are made of very small particles; others are larger and less uniform in size and shape. The smaller ones cost more than the larger ones, which is one reason why cheap paint never looks like it does on the sample. This particle size also affects how the color displays on your wall.

Paint, by its very nature, is transparent. Yes, you can actually see through it! That’s why it takes four or five coats of “average” paint to get adequate coverage on certain colors, like reds. When you use a finer grind of pigment to make a color, you end up with a paint that also gives much a better, more opaque, coverage or “hide.”

It’s similar to the difference between using cheap, drugstore eye shadow and higher-quality department store eye shadow. The color, application, longevity and final product are that much better with the good stuff.

With better hide, our old friend black is no longer needed in the equation. And with black out of the picture, we can make our walls feel luminously beautiful. Not bad for a can of paint!