Why you shouldn't pick final colors or materials online

Kitchen materials

Kitchen materials

I have a client who is wanting to get a new look to her kitchen. We have talked about a full remodel, but it might not be something she can afford. So we are talking refinishing the cabinets, and new paint for now. Over the weekend, she asks me about colors by texting me photos of kitchens she is finding online. My gut reaction to all the photos is no...and here's why.

Photos found online are more tools to guide you to find a look for your space. Keep in mind as you are looking on product sites, that these are professionally taken photos. The lighting is set for a professional shoot, and do not take your interior into account. An image of a deep gray interior may look good online, but in your home it can have the potential to make your space look heavy.

Now I hear you saying "but I like that interior." I'm not telling you you can't have it. You may need to adjust the look for your home. Lighting plays a big role in any interior and you may have to address your lighting to create that look you want. If you aren't planning on updating the lighting, here is a bit of advice that I have been passing along to clients for years.

For paint colors, find the color you love and a shade darker and lighter. Pick a section of your room that gets all stages of light. Prep and paint a section that is about 12"x12", but make sure this area gets hit by natural and artificial light throughout the day. See what it looks like with bright light from the sun and lighting from your fixtures at night. This will give you the best idea of which color is right. 

Designer fabric

When it comes to fabrics, textiles, and draperies-if you aren't ordering something custom-buy it and keep your receipt. Treat it like your paint, lay it out in your room or find a way to hang it (without damaging it) and look at it in various lights. If it doesn't work return it. Going custom? Order a sample and see how that looks, or work with a designer to get the right look.

While photo quality is so much better than it was when I opened Muse Interior Design, photos can't give you the full experience of the product. Photos can't portray the feel of the texture under your hand. Nor can an image give you the look of the paint as the sun rises in your kitchen. Take a little time, and get a little help from a designer. It's a good investment!

Muse Interior Design is based out of Vancouver, Washington, serving residential and commercial clients through Northern Oregon and Southern Washington. Contact us for consulting for your upcoming design projects.