Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Quality in Colors Pays Off

I am very impressed with Dabney Frake's discussion of Color Quality
This is an easy one to remember, but speaks to what you buy and invest in for your home. The quality of the color in your home is directly related to the quality of the material you have purchased and how that interacts with light. Whether that is paint, cotton, wool, or ceramic, choose the material of your products wisely. The depth of color and the hue and saturation will be greater and will last longer if the quality is better.
These two throw examples are made very differently from very different materials. They also have different costs so you can't compare them evenly. Everyone has to choose the best their budget will allow, but the one on the left is made of organic wool and natural dyes, while the ones on the right are made from 100% polyester. The one on the left is extremely rich in color and will look even better with time.
Color gains subtlety and depth from a number of material factors, and though I am no scientist, I can attest to my own greater attraction to those colors which are not simple, primary hues, but which are more complex mixes of pigments and hues. Additionally, I've found that higher quality materials carry a richer color quality which also lasts over time. While it can be deceiving to judge some things inside of stores under fluorescent lights, you can tell when you drag stuff out under the sun.
This lovely pic from The Rug Company shows some great color in some high quality materials. The rug is entirely handmade of lanolin rich Himalayan wool dyed with natural pigments.
My biggest lesson with this issue came from buying a number of rugs from IKEA many years ago. Much as I love the Swedish Giant, I found the color in the wool went "dead" fairly quickly, and I attributed it to the lower wool quality, which shed for months and picked up dirt and stains easily. If you've ever bought more affordable off-the-rack clothes at big box stores, you may also have noticed how the color quality, while seemingly fine at first, does not last long.
How to do it: When making a 20% color choice for your home, remember that this is the attention getting element and be aspirational with your budget. You will appreciate it as your home grows and this piece grows with you. This applies to textiles, paint, wood, ceramics AND artwork. When in doubt, read the label and go with the most "natural" ingredients and look into vintage or antique as the quality of the materials has to be pretty good if it's still around. :)

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