Back Orders: Every Designer’s Worst Nightmare & Picking Paint for Your Walls

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By Barbara Kaplan –

Q: What happens, when something I have searched endlessly for and chosen is back-ordered or discontinued?

A: Although it isn’t frequent, it does happen that something we selected is on back order, which means we must wait for it to come in. Worse case is when something we have ordered has been discontinued and we must go through the process of reselection. Usually there has been time and effort put into selecting an item — and when we learn that it is not available, this is upsetting because in some cases we must start all over. Back orders and discontinued stock is a nightmare for interior designers and disappointing for clients.

Interior designers put in a lot of time shopping and making selections to create a total look for a project. We then make a presentation to our clients and they accept the design and they set their heart on the outcome. It is disappointing when something happens to change the picture. Unfortunately, when one thing changes, everything else may have to change as well. It depends if the piece that’s missing is a central point and the rest of the choices were made around that selection, or whether the object or selection is just a small addition.

The good news is, and it has never failed me that, when this happens, as upsetting as it is initially, the outcome has always been better. When we must go back rethink and research other options, it enhances the outcome, which creates an opportunity for the end result to be even better. I generally refer to these occurrences as opportunities for greater creativity.

Q: Why is it so hard to select paint colors? No matter how much time I spend looking through paint samples, I am disappointed when the color is on the wall.

A: Choosing colors to paint your walls is one of the most difficult things to do because looking at a small sample can be deceiving. When looking at paint chips, be aware that they are surrounded by white paper, which gives it a contrast that is not there when it is on the walls. You are also holding it horizontally — looking down at a flat surface — and the paint on the wall is vertical. In a room, the four walls and ceiling all have light hitting it in different intensities. One wall may be in shadow, another may have bright light on it and the other two may be somewhere in between. So, color doesn’t look the same on any of the walls.

When color bounces off itself, as opposite walls do, it intensifies. The texture of the wall and he finish of the paint also influence the outcome. Some walls are smooth, while others may have the popular “knockdown” texture. The textures are seen more significantly when using paint with a higher-sheen finish. (The choices of finish include flat, sateen, low sheen and hi-gloss.) Depending on the type of finish you are using, the colors will also take on a different look.

Do not be afraid to experiment. Buy a small amount of the color you want to use and put it in various places on the walls. Also, be sure to make these areas large enough to really get a feel for how the room will look with it on the walls. This way you have the experience of seeing exactly how it’s going to look. When making color selections, don’t be afraid to make a statement. It is so much more fun to live in color.

When you encounter these scenarios as you decorate your home, remember to welcome the unknown as a chance to try something new. And remember, rooms have no feelings, you do!

Thanks for all your questions and comments. If I use your question or comment in this column I will send you a free, autographed copy of my new book, The Bajaro Method: Rooms Have No Feelings, YOU Do!

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