Accent Walls Out, Statement Walls In

What's really the difference between an accent wall and a statement wall? I mean, really, is there a difference?

Yes. There is a difference.


Statement Walls bring personality, while accent walls break up space and highlight architecture. That's the gist and we think statement walls in 2017 and 2018 are just what the doctor ordered to breathe life back into adding big pops of color.  

Consider the living room above where this statement wall features a large off-center circle that overcomes half of the floating shelving. This isn't your stock square on a wall. 


Partial walls with a strong color on one side of the room and a neutralizing color on the other give the room a personal touch without envolping the entire room. Extending the statement wall and feathering the edge give it a uniqueness and personality that just isn't the same with accents. 


Kill two birds with one stone with a painted backsplash. Use a satin finish for washability and let your personality shine.  


I love this painted yellow archway surrounding the dining table. When open concept flats or living spaces have walls that connect from the living room into the kitchen it's hard to know where to change color or at what point to break it up. Making this wall your statement wall gives you the ability to be very creative by designing a statement that interacts with the other elements of the room.  


Last, framing wallpaper is getting a lot of nice press as an option for making a statement. It's certainly less commitment than wallpapering an entire accent wall and with the myriad of options and patterns you'll never run out of ideas and quick changes to keep your room ever unique and current. That's what making a statement is about. It's about you.   

Why you'll never choose colors without a consultant ever again!

I was talking to a fellow contractor friend of mine not too long ago and they told me, "man, our clients could have really used your services". He told me how the customer bought $800 worth of a single paint color and his team got the entire first coat of the project complete (around $2,000 in labor) when the client came in and burst into tears because she hated the color.

There is your reason. Need I say more?

The financial risk inherent in choosing the wrong color hinges on taking a 2 inch color swatch and mentally blowing it up to the size of the entire room. For most people this is a really difficult task but for Color Consultants projecting colors and imagining them in an open environment is par for the course. 

Color Theory Consultants

Color Theory Consultants are specially trained consultants with advanced training in color interaction from university art programs including Indiana University.

We pour over color and keep current with the trends so that you can be sure about your color choices.


How does working with a Color Theory Consultant work?

How to fix the 5 most common wall repairs.

Small Drywall Holes


Drywall holes result from both intentional actions like hanging a picture and unintentional things like dinging the drywall while moving furniture. Fixing small holes is a sinch. All you need is some light weight spackle and a small flexible putty knife.



  1. Before you apply the spackle, indent the hole with the back of your putty knife creating a small recessed indentation. This will make it so your repair work is flush with the rest of the wall.
  2. Then apply a small amount of spackle to the hole with your knife. When you apply the spackle, use your knife to scrape away excess leaving the surface smooth so there is little to no sanding required.
  3. It's better to have to recoat a second time to account for shrinking than it is to gum up the wall and spend unnecessary amounts of time sanding it down smooth. As long as it dries smooth you're good to go. But if you feel a little roughness, hit the spot with a sanding block.

Large Drywall Holes


Larger drywall holes happen as a result of bigger accidents. They can also arise when a handyman needs to get behind the wall to fix something like electrical work or plumbing. For this step you'll need a drywall patch, scrap wood, a utility blade, fiber mesh tape, a broad putty knife and trough, as well as drywall screws.


  1. The best drywall patch to use is a scrap piece of drywall cut in the shape of a rectangle slightly larger than the existing hole.
  2. Trace the patch on the wall with a pencil and cut out the damaged piece of drywall so that the patch will fit perfectly in place.
  3. Install the scrap piece of wood behind the drywall with a screw so that you have something for the drywall patch to attach to.
  4. Screw in the drywall patch into the wood.
  5. Place strips of fiber mesh tape over the seams of the patch.
  6. Apply 2-3 coats of joint compound over the top of the repair sanding between coats.

Nail Pops


Nail pops are pesky little things. They result from the house shifting or settling. Every now and then the nails will loosen and start to pop out of the drywall. At first the blemish is subtle but over time they can get worse, exposing the bare nail.



  1. Scrape out the drywall covering the nail with a five in one tool or a scraper.
  2. Approximately two inches below the nail, drive a drywall screw into the stud.
  3. Hammer the nail back in and coat it with joint compound. Recoat as necessary.

Door Frame Stress Cracks


Stress cracks are typically found at a diagonal stretching from the corner of a door frame toward the ceiling for about 1 or 2 feet. They result from the house settling and are a common problem to solve. You'll need some fiber mesh tape, joint compound and drywall screws.



  1. Scrape the crack out with the corner of a five and one tool, widening the gap just a little.
  2. Locate a stud, if there is one and drive a screw above the crack and below the crack. This step is really optional but it helps.
  3. Cover the crack with a piece of fiber mesh tape.
  4. Apply 2-3 coats of joint compound over the mesh tape, sanding between coats.

Loose Drywall Tape


Loose Drywall Tape is another consequence of a shifting and settling house. These faults usually manifest themselves in corners of walls and along ceiling lines. Sometimes they look like a wrinkle or a gap. In order to repair this type of wall damage you'll need fiber mesh tape, a utility blade, a putty knife and joint compound. If the tape is peeling from the ceiling you'll need a texture brush to match the texture of the ceiling.



  1. Scrape out the loose tape and remove it completely until you reach a place where the tape is firmly attached. It may be helpful to cut a straight line with your blade for a clean break.
  2. Place the fiber mesh tape in the place where the old tape was removed. 
  3. Spread 2-3 coats of joint compound over the mesh tape sanding in between coats.

Finishing Up



Now that all of your wall damage is fixed, it's time to make those repairs disappear. When touching up it's important to do so out of the same can of paint you used on your walls. If you need to go out and buy a new can of paint, the odds are, the touch up won't match up. If that's the case, the best thing to do will be to paint the wall corner to corner. However, before you paint, you'll want to "spot prime" the area with the patch to avoid what's called "flashing". Flashing is where the sheen of the touch up looks different than the rest of the wall. Adding primer or even just a coat of the paint you're going to use will prevent flashing.

Sounds like a lot?

Don't be afraid to call Color Theory as you first choice of painters who fixed drywall damage in Bloomington and Indianapolis. Our craftsmen are all trained and practiced at a broad level of wall repairs and fixes. We'll have your walls smooth and we'll keep your house clean while we do it.

How often should I stain my deck?

Finally, it's grilling season and time to eat dinner outside on the back deck. Your deck is an extension of your home. (Literally, just look at your property taxes.) As an extension you want to keep your deck in tip top shape.  


Staining your deck regularly is the best way to maintain it and avoid warping wood. So how often should you stain your deck?  

The answer here lies in the product and type of stain you use. In general, if you buy cheap, you buy twice. I meet many home owners who come to me fretting because they just stained their deck the year before and it's already chipping and flaking. It's because they used a cheap product and their previous painter didn't take any concern for the proper prep work. 


We recommend high quality products like Benjamin Moore Arborcoat or Sikkens Stains. But even with a high quality product you'll be looking at continual maintenance.  


For translucent stains, my recommendation is to powerwash every year and apply a clear coat at the beginning of the season. This is a project that will only take two half days in general and would cost around $800/year to have professionally done or around $150 if you decide to rent a powerwasher and buy the products to do it yourself. If you let it go for two or three years you'll be looking at more extensive labor, trying to restore the finish and coat it again with stain. 


For semi-solids and solids you'll get a little more longevity out of the product with less maintenance. I still recommend powerwashing annually. But you'll get a strong 3-5 years out of the coating. If, you're using a solid stain, you can also sand down areas that are starting to flake and touch them up.  


This all sounds well and good but the reality of what we see is that most people let their decks go uncoated for years and years at a time. It's costly to maintain. But it's also costly not to maintain. Sometimes we see decks that have never been coated. The wood has weathered and grayed. The boards are warped and rotting. Some of the boards will need replaced. Others can be restored through cleaning products that kill mildew, restore weathered wood and brighten it making it look new again. But to say this is a process is an understatement. Often you'll have to strip and sand the stain in addition to using these products. Then recoat one or two times depending on the specifications of the product. This type of deck staining job will cost between $1500-$3500 or more depending on the size of your deck.  


So, the choice is yours. Maintain regularly or wait until just before the point of no return. Either way, the luxury of an outdoors space doesn't come without costs. Hopefully, the joy decks bring, out-weigh the cost of maintenance.  

And don't forget about the fences!



Get a quote! Call 812-668-2113

7 Necessary (but not evil) Exterior Spring Cleaning Projects - Checklist Included

Thank GOODNESS Spring is Here!

Something truly magical happens the day Spring arrives. Bloomington feels different. It's like breathing is fuller and my eyebrows feel lighter. It's finally time to get outside and become a real person again. Unfortunately, the winter has turned your house into the setting of the Walking Dead. It's time to get to work.

Here are 7 Necessary (but not evil) Outdoor Spring Cleaning Projects to restore balance to the Force:

  • Rejuvenate Lawn - Rake out and vac leftover leaves and thatch using a metal rake and leaf vac. Pick up sticks.

  • Weed Flower Beds - Pull weeds, trim dead stems, clear out old leaves and sticks, add new mulch.

  • Build raised garden beds - Pick up fence pickets, balusters and soil. Build them in the backyard in a good pot, make wife happy, finally.

  • Trim bushes and tree branches - Use hedge trimmer for bushes, pull down vines growing up on house and on fence, call tree service for high branches.

  • Power wash exterior - Power wash mildew on siding, blow out leaves from the gutters, check paint or stain on wood surfaces, scrape loose stuff and touch up.

  • Sweep garage floor - Self explanatory but while you're at it peak at some boxes in storage and toss out a bunch of stuff.

  • Break out the hammock - Seriously, the best part of spring. Get the grill going, I'm so glad it's here.

How To Know If Your Exterior Needs Painting

exterior painting bloomington indiana

This article's goal is to answer the questions:

  • How long does exterior paint last?  
  • How can you tell if your house needs repainted? 
  • When is the best time of year to paint outside? 

Paint Duration 

Not all exterior paints are made the same. There are different quality levels that make a real difference in terms of how long a coating will last.  

As a rule of thumb we direct our customers to a higher quality paint that will last a long time and provide a fine finish.  

We look for paints that will last at minimum 7-10 years and whose color won't fade; and when properly prepared will adhere year-over-year in inclement weather conditions.  

Our preferred paint for exterior is Benjamin Moore's Aura Exterior. It comes in three sheens: flat, low luster and semi-gloss. Choice in sheen is a little bit about preference but I find that we often recommend flat for siding and low-luster for trim and windows. Semi-gloss always works well for doors so you can easily clean them up from the doggy paw prints.  

Signs It's Time


Ever year on my own home when the weather starts to warm up I start thinking about my exterior spring clean checklist. I do a walk around of the house and my first thought is power washing.  

Power washing is a really simple maintenance thing we do for our home every year. It's a little easy, in my case, since we offer power washing as a service but it's pretty inexpensive to get it done professionally once a year compared to renting a pressure washer for a day.  

I also check for areas where it looks like paint is starting to crack or chip. In Indiana, fighting against our up and down weather patterns is hard on a house. So I'm never surprised when I find small things around the ends of trim where rain water tends to linger.  

If we are good on paint cracking I'll probably just power wash and see how well the paint does after that. If there is staining or paint flaking off after the power wash then I know it's probably time to paint.  

If I'm happy with the color and I kept touch up paint I'll see how well the touch up does. If the paint job is really old and a lower quality paint was used initially, there is a good chance that the color won't match. Not surprising since older and lower cost paints fade over time.  

But that's good news, because now you get to change the color to something current and to something you really love! 

One thing to really look out for is bare wood, dry rotting wood, warped or bloated boards and wood pecker holes. These things only get worse over time and the worse they get the more costly they become in the long run. 

I think of the old saying, "it's easier to prepare and prevent rather than to repair and repent." No statement is more true when it comes to painting the exterior of your home.  

When should you get started? 

color theory exterior paint project

Exterior house painting in Bloomington, IN is a tricky tricky beast. Our weather is like a yo-yo. They always say about the Midwest, it's the only place where you can get frostbite and sunburn in the same week.  

Paint adhesion is the biggest concern for painters because we know the investment on exterior is huge. We want to make sure that our craftsmanship lasts. Per the paint manufacturer's specifications most paints cannot be applied in temperatures below 40° or above 90° and that includes night fall temperatures. You also have to be careful about avoiding rain. 

It can be a little frustrating with our Indiana weather to look at our weather apps and see rain, then look out the window and not see a cloud in the sky. But more often than not, it's not worth the risk.  

This year many cities across the country saw record highs for February temperature. And then BOOM! Blizzards EVERYWHERE 9,000 FLIGHTS CANCELLED. Yeesh! Typically, we don't start our first exterior until the last week of March but more often the first week of April. The temperature is usually high enough for us to be in good shape but those April showers can always be a pain. 

The best time to paint is going to be from late April through the beginning of July. Then it can get a little hot from mid-July through August and after that the temperatures cool down and we're good from September until November in Bloomington. Now, this doesn't mean you can't paint outside in July and August. We get a lot done in those months, we just sometimes have to take a break when it heats up over 90°.  

Mid-November and sometimes even as early as October marks the end of our exterior season. We often have to pull the plug on accepting new bids for the year in September and start scheduling new jobs for the following spring. A practice that has worked out well for both our customers and ourselves over the past several years.   

Keep tuned in for more tips on exterior painting over the next few posts.  



Valentine's Day Inspired Pinks - Best Shades of Pink to Paint a Room

Happy Valentine's Day - Let's paint something pink!

Today is a great day for remembering the people we love. In America, 25% of the cards sent each year are Valentine's Day cards. People love emotive cards, decked out in pinks and reds. 

Why is pink and red the color of Valentine's Day? Well, in general reds are associated with passion and pinks associated with flush skin. So, when you feel the warm rush and pitter patter of love, that all too familiar rosy blush surfaces and you know that the feeling is mutual.

Pink Paint Colors great for any room, not just a little girl's bedroom

Wheatberry 2099-70 Benjamin Moore

Wheatberry 2099-70 Benjamin Moore

This light pink paint is called Wheatberry 2099-70 by Benjamin Moore. Kind of a dusty pink; this color is a great choice for girls bedroom ideas, but is muted enough to surprise guests as an appropriate color for an eclectic den space.

You may consider using this pink color in a high gloss on a sliding barn door. I took this idea from a friend of mine who just built their home. I think her husband took a leap of faith with her on it but it paid off big time. Click on the paint drop for more info.

Sea Salt CSP-95 Benjamin Moore

Sea Salt CSP-95 Benjamin Moore

Consider pairing Wheatberry with a light neutral gray like Sea Salt. These two colors would look great together in adjacent rooms. Use Sea Salt for your entry and Wheatberry in a connecting Dining Room for a feminine look that isn't too overwhelmingly pinky.

Gray neutral paint colors anchor more daring color schemes and allow you the flexibility to choose something a little more off-beat.

Spice Market CSP-925 Benjamin Moore

Spice Market CSP-925 Benjamin Moore

Now warm up the palette with Spice Market. This deep gold is strong but won't over shadow your understated pink and grey. Bedrooms, Kitchens and Bathrooms would look dynamic and vibrant when found at the end of our pale pink and light gray path.

Used as an accent color, not on walls, but in furniture. That's where I think this color might find its stride. Add to that the return of brushed brass lamps and table legs and you'll have a home decor look that is current.

Dark Pewter 2122-10 Benjamin Moore

Dark Pewter 2122-10 Benjamin Moore

Last, somewhere in your scheme find room for our boldest choice of all Dark Pewter. Color Theory's Color of the Year. What I love about Dark Pewter is that its just so dark. But it also has this really pretty shade of blue that comes out mid-day.

There is a depth to it that will make your room feel endless, while paradoxically making an oversized room feel smaller and cozier. Paired with any of the other colors in this scheme and you'll have a dramatic, sexy home.


Get help choosing a color scheme for your home by setting an appointment with our Color Theory Consultants.

Kitchen Design - What to do with your Kitchen Cabinets

Coming up with a good kitchen design idea is equal parts fun and overwhelming. Here are a couple of things you can do with paint to overhaul your kitchen without ripping everything out.

Color - White Cabinets

Always a classic look, never going out of style, painting your kitchen or bathroom cabinets white is a clear win for a modern, clean look. White is a little tricky because there are so many shades. However, there are a few colors of note that we really like on cabinets.

First, is Cloud White OC-130, Color Theory's neutral color of the year. Cloud White offers a warmth in a tone of white that avoids sterility and lack of creativity. We find that painting cabinets with a Satin sheen in the Cloud White provides a smooth finish with added durability.

Simply White OC-117 has some of the same aesthetic qualities of Cloud White, yet in certain lighting conditions fares a little better. As a simple test, swing by your local paint store and pick up the two whites and tape them to your kitchen wall side by side and see how you like them over the course of the day. Do the colors change over the course of the day? If so, which color do you like best?

Last, Chantilly Lace OC-65. Chantilly Lace is the chalkiest of the trio. With the first two white paint colors, the warmth in them can sometimes become amplified by incandescent lighting which may be a turn off. The Chantilly Lace doesn't have that problem. While in a natural day light it will exude vibrance and cleanliness, throughout the evening it will maintain a pristine whiteness.


Change up your kitchen island

Going with a more dramatic darker color for your kitchen island will provide your kitchen design with an anchor, contrasting your lighter scheme all around. With the desire for more kitchen cabinet storage, sometimes the kitchen starts to enclose in on itself and it starts to look like some kind of mammoth. Especially if your current cabinets are a wood finish.

Painting your kitchen island just might add the variety you need. This two tone look has become very popular with modern kitchen cabinets.


Where to begin painting cabinets

The most important thing to get right in this process is cabinet paint. You do not want to skimp on paint when it comes to cabinets. The best paint for kitchen cabinets right now is a waterborne alkyd. As paradoxical as it sounds, waterborne alkyds are a somewhat newly formulated product that combines the durability and hardness of an oil based paint with the environmental standards of a water-based latex paint. 

We've had success with the lighter colors with Benjamin Moore Advance. Advance dries very hard but struggles with darker colors because of the amount of colorant necessary. For cabinets going from wood to paint, its best to start with the Advance Primer.


For darker colors and a faster dry time, you may consider Sherwin-Williams Pro Classic. While the Pro Classic doesn't dry quite as hard as the Advance and sometimes requires additional coats in lighter colors, we've still had excellent results with it and air towards using it on our cabinet projects.  Extreme Bond primer is the recommended primer to go with the Pro Classic on cabinets.


Do It Yourself or Hire a Pro?



The decision is up to you on this one. This is definitely an advanced project and one that many DIY'ers report that they probably wouldn't attempt on their own again. The tedious factor is high as well as the elbow grease factor. But the time commitment is doable. More than a single weekend but it's easy enough to break up.

To Learn More about Painting Your Kitchen Cabinets with our DIY Guide to Painting Cabinets

What Kitchen Remodel Ideas do you have? Post in the comments!


How to Start a Painting Project with a Professional Painter

Deciding on whether to paint your house on your own as a weekend DIY project or whether to hire out painting is a big question. When I meet with homeowners they are often weighing out whether it's worth it to pay the premium cost to have it done or if they will be pleased with their own craftsmanship.

Between you and me, if it were my home, I would probably do it myself. But that's not fair because I'm a professional. There are three things to consider when choosing between having your home professionally painted so professionally painted. 

The Pro vs. DIY Debate - The Time VS Money Factor

How long does it take to paint a room? How much does painting cost? Obviously, it depends on the room size but your standard american bedroom will take a professional between 4-6 hours to paint the walls, another 4 for painting trim, doors and windows and an extra 1.5 to 2 to paint the ceilings. This is two coats and basic prep work included.

DIY Pros

If you've got time and patience and you find some catharsis in painting, then you might want to take a stab at it and do it yourself. Most DIY'ers are a little less concerned about perfection when they are trying to save money. With this, you have the flexibility to decide on the fly if things like one coat coverage is sufficient or whether rigid tape lines are going to matter to you as much. Being less picky will allow you to save time on a DIY project. You'll also save hundreds or even thousands of dollars. 

DIY Cons

The flip side to the time question is, what am I sacrificing by spending my whole weekend or even week painting? Is there an activity you'd rather be doing with the family? Could you make more money in the time that you're painting than the amount that you're saving? Maybe it's a more efficient use of time to be really good at what you do and let the pros be really good at what they do.

So if you're thinking you can knock out an entire room top to bottom in a day, you may want to think about how much time you actually have to block off. If you are just moving into a new home and you have to do multiple rooms, you're looking at a week or two week long project with multiple painters on the job. I hate to say it but your average DIY'er isn't going to have that big of a chunk of time to get the project done. Unless you're willing to spread it out or take use your vacation.

Pro Pros

The plus side to hiring a paint pro is that you don't have to do anything. With a reputable company and trustworthy painters, you don't even need to be home. You can rest assured that your home will be taken care of and that you'll come home to it looking so much better and clean. The small details will be tended to. Straight lines, full rich color with two coats of a high quality paint. You can be picky! We don't mind, too much.

Pro Cons

The honest truth, it does cost money. Typically, the better the craftsman and the more organized the company, the more you will pay. But like we say, "the bitterness of poor workmanship remains long after the sweetness of a good deal is forgotten." A good professional painter is going to know what it takes to get the job done right, without being overly priced. However, many painters who take too long to get back with you on a quote, or guess on their pricing by just "looking at it", are often going to undercharge and as a result under deliver.

So, How do you get started?

The first step is to get a quote. We offer online quotes free and easy. How this works is we take you to our website on our Pricing Page. From there you can get a ballpark idea of what your project would cost per room for the walls. If you'd like trim, windows or doors painted, it's usually best to have one of our consultants come out for measurements. But if you are just trying to get an idea of what it would cost, look on our site and build your project through the shopping cart. If you get stuck you can give us a call and we can help walk you through it.

Once you've got a good idea of what it might cost, then we'll come out to confirm pricing and look at color options. Color Consultations, while they do cost a little extra, are extremely helpful in deciding which colors to coordinate with your home furnishings and decor. From there we book the job with the help of our Production Coordinator. They'll work with you on scheduling through our online system.

While you're waiting your turn in line, we'll make sure to keep you posted on how our schedule is working out. With painting, you can't always work when the weather is bad and so sometimes our schedule gets a little jostled around. No worries though, once we get to your painting project, we are there until it's complete. Super simple, super fun and super exciting.

A Word of Advice...

If you're trying to tackle a project and don't know whether to do it yourself or hire a painter, don't be afraid to ask questions. When we give our paint estimates we split every room out by line items so you can choose which projects you want to do on your own and which you want to hire us to do. We're totally flexible!




Best of Houzz 2017: Press Release

Color Theory of Bloomington

Awarded Best Of Houzz 2017

Over 40 Million Monthly Unique Users Nominated Best Home Building,

Remodeling and Design Professionals in North America and Around the World

Bloomington, IN, January 19, 2017 – Color Theory of Bloomington has won “Best Of Design” on Houzz®, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The color-centric painting company was chosen by the more than 40 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than one million active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 40 million monthly users on Houzz. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2016. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognized with the Photography award. A “Best Of Houzz 2017” badge will appear on winners’ profiles, as a sign of  their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

“Torlando has an impeccable eye for detail and elegant design, plus an extremely professional team of artists, (and overall AWESOME people), that completely transformed my home. Very tidy; non-disruptive and genuinely talented group. Nearly every room color was updated and actually looking forward to having them back to update intricate French kitchen cabinetry. Absolutely the best in Bloomington.”
- Color Theory Client

“We’re so pleased to award Best of Houzz 2017 to this incredible group of talented and customer-focused professionals, including Color Theory,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “Each of these businesses was singled out for recognition by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts for helping to turn their home improvement dreams into reality.”

About Color Theory

Color Theory is a company dedicated to helping people love their home through great color and craftsmanship. Beginning in Indiana in 2008, founder Torlando Hakes started Color Theory while pursuing his art degree with nothing more than a backpack and a bicycle. Today Color Theory employs several artists and craftsmen and helps hundreds of customers a year with finding the perfect color match for their home. With proven painting methods and a star team Color Theory will give you the best painting experience in Bloomington.

About Houzz

Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow and Tokyo. Houzz and the Houzz logo are registered trademarks of Houzz Inc. worldwide. For more information, visit

Torlando Hakes in Bloomington, IN on Houzz



Painting Dark Pewter

Earthy tones and warm visual details give Edouard Vuillard's Project for the Public Gardes: Le Square de la Trinite a characteristically intimate feel. Though the arrangement of the forms is flat, his eye for the pattern on a woman's slipper and the delicacy of new leaves on a tree establishes a different sort of depth. 

Our second half of this year's Color Combo, Dark Pewter, is interwoven through the greenery. When offset with sienna-tinged oranges and creamy light greens, it displays an unexpected softness.

All colors by Benjamin Moore. Image source: Nineteenth Century Art Worldwide.

Painting White

Paint like a painting.

Since exploring our Color Combo of the Year, we wanted to find some different ways to feature colors we feel passionate about. We especially want to place what we do and what we love at Color Theory in contexts that might not always get discussed in the interior design blogging world.

One of Torlando's strongest beliefs is that paint is not just a color that lays on the wall; it is an integral part of your home and informs the nature of the space you live in. When you paint a wall, you are painting the scene that is your home.



Image via Hyperallergic. All colors Benjamin Moore.  

This week we are sharing a piece by contemporary perceptual painter, Lois Dodd. Soft-spoken, yet emotive, her pared-down visions of the everyday American landscape use color sensitivity to invite meditation. Check out an interview with her here. Her 2014 painting, Porch Roof Snow Pile, feels particularly appropriate given the snow on the ground today and the appearance of one of our colors for 2017: Cloud White. In matte finishes, the hues of this snowy day palette will give your living space a feeling of thoughtful serenity.

Check back next week for another painting and another palette. If you've got a color or painting you'd like us to work with, let us know!

New Year, New Hue(s)

A lot happened in 2016, including a widespread obsession with gray. Versatile, sophisticated, unexpected – Gray did it all. And it continues its evolution heading into 2017.

Introducing our 2017 Color Combo of the Year...Dark Pewter and Cloud White

dark pewter + cloud white.jpg

The combination of Dark Pewter's jade-influenced gray and Cloud White's soothing, but bright, cream occupies the space between dramatic and tranquil. Together, they draw from the best of higher-contrast pairings and unfussy mid-tones — a choice that doesn't involve a trade-off. If you've ever wished you could pick A and B at the eye doctor, Dark Pewter with Cloud White may just satisfy that desire.

dark pewter + cloud white 2.jpg

From Dining Areas...

...To Nurseries...

...Dark Pewter + Cloud White is the perfect match.

Try Cloud White on your Cabinets...

And for a variation on this pairing... 

...darker darks and crisper whites result in an unpredicted airiness. We particularly love Benjamin Moore’s Gentleman’s Gray, pictured on the right. Matched with their Simply White (or any comparably bright white) on ceilings, cabinetry, and trim, Gentleman’s Gray feels on-trend but also attuned to more stately eras of the past.


Articulate and modern...

...Dark Pewter is one of Benjamin Moore's most surprisingly complex offerings. Whether in a whole room, or used as an accent color, Dark Pewter consistently provides the drama of black or deep navy, while maintaining the adaptability that makes more traditional grays so appealing. When paired with Cloud White, it truly settles into itself, giving interiors a sort of introspective sensibility that opens up with the unique warmth of Cloud White. As we move forward into the new year, be on the lookout for this bold next step in gray: high contrast, high impact color pairings. It's a match that is artful indeed.

Edward hopper's iconic nighthawks at the art institute of chicago Image via flickr user steven zucker

Edward hopper's iconic nighthawks at the art institute of chicago

Image via flickr user steven zucker

Dream Clean

My sister is one of those fortunate and unusual types who enjoys cleaning; her home is always neat as a pin. For the rest of us, news of Color Theory's new cleaning service is something of a Christmas gift.


The Color Theory Clean Team is more than a post-painting clean up service. Committed to eco-friendly, yet thorough, cleaning solutions, our clean team will leave your home sparkling and leave you with a rewarding customer experience.

We use environmentally responsible products, giving you peace of mind. Essential Oils are another key element in our cleaning services. We can even work with you to select aromas that suit the personality of your home.


Who Is the Clean Team?

Our employees are selected for not just their skill, but their work ethic and dedication as well. The Color Theory Clean Team also believes in mentoring its employees, fostering entrepreneurial engagement. If you love your home-cleaner, let us know and we can send this person to you again. A personal relationship with the Clean Team is yet another way we make our services a wonderful experience.

Check Out the Clean Team

Swing by the Clean Team's site to get an estimate today! 

The Mid-Century Palette

One of the biggest trends in home decor at the moment is Mid-Century design. The child of modernism and the Bauhaus, Mid-Century design is recognizable in its clean, yet never-austere profiles, geometric and elegant construction, and intentional use of materials.

Today, the seminal work of Charles and Ray Eames, Isamu Noguchi, and their contemporaries has been co-opted by the likes of West Elm and even Urban Outfitters. While certainly commercial, this proliferation is actually in keeping with a core belief of Mid-Century's founding fathers (and mothers): The conviction that design should be functional, beautiful and accessible in both cost and aesthetic.

Mid-Century Icons: The Eames Lounge Chair (left) and Isamu Noguchi coffee table (right). Images via Pinterest and Design Within Reach

Mid-Century Icons: The Eames Lounge Chair (left) and Isamu Noguchi coffee table (right). Images via Pinterest and Design Within Reach


Beyond furniture and decor, color plays an equally important role in creating a Mid-Century space. Though rich, mid-century colors are often somewhat tonal and offset by contrasts in value and hue. 

Deep jades and wood finishes are paired with airier cream tones. Images via Pinterest.

Deep jades and wood finishes are paired with airier cream tones. Images via Pinterest.

Variants of complementary colors, such as warm rust and toned-down cerulean, are mid-century decor staples. Images via Froy blog (top) and Curbed (bottom).

Variants of complementary colors, such as warm rust and toned-down cerulean, are mid-century decor staples. Images via Froy blog (top) and Curbed (bottom).


Another source of color inspiration can be found in the artwork of Bauhaus artists like Paul Klee, Annie Albers, and Laszlo Maholy-Nagy. These works all offer nuanced palettes that are right at home in a Mid-Century room. 

A split-complement color scheme, like the one used in this watercolor study by Paul Klee, allows for contrasting, dynamic hues that are also harmonious. Images: HGTV, Pinterest.

A split-complement color scheme, like the one used in this watercolor study by Paul Klee, allows for contrasting, dynamic hues that are also harmonious. Images: HGTV, Pinterest.

Annie Albers' neutral tones feel fresh and lyrical in geometric forms. Images: (L to R) brit+co, Alchetron, and digsdigs.

Annie Albers' neutral tones feel fresh and lyrical in geometric forms. Images: (L to R) brit+co, Alchetron, and digsdigs.

It's not hard to find cost-friendly version of the classic Eames Dowel-Leg Side Chair (or just DWS as it's known to friends). Rove Concepts styled their iteration by using a vivid goldenrod in clean, contained shapes set against a more expansive, warm backdrop. Left: Rove Concepts; R: Laszlo Maholy-Nagy, A II, 1924.

It's not hard to find cost-friendly version of the classic Eames Dowel-Leg Side Chair (or just DWS as it's known to friends). Rove Concepts styled their iteration by using a vivid goldenrod in clean, contained shapes set against a more expansive, warm backdrop. Left: Rove Concepts; R: Laszlo Maholy-Nagy, A II, 1924.

Whatever your personal tastes may be, the studied yet unconventional mid-century use of color fits just about every home.  

I Know How You Feel About All This Christmas Business

Christmas ideas for your wife or ideas for teenagers can be tough, especially when life is going pretty well.

For me, I'm always looking for gift ideas that don't increase clutter in the house. This is one of my favorite parts from Charlie Brown Christmas:


Lucy Van Pelt: I know how you feel about all this Christmas business, getting depressed and all that. It happens to me every year. I never get what I really want. I always get a lot of stupid toys or a bicycle or clothes or something like that.

Charlie Brown: What is it you want?

Lucy Van Pelt: Real estate.

Consider Paint! 

With zero-voc paints like Benjamin Moore's Natura you won't have to worry about suffocating fumes because today's paints are safe for painting indoors during the winter.  

Your spouse or teen daughter will love the gift of a brand new bedroom with colors that reflect their personality.  

Give your family the gift of Color Theory!

Check out our pricing to see what painting a single room costs!


Much More Than a Sample: Paint Cards and Their Purpose

Beneath the Paint Chips: A Sample of Their History

We often think of home decorating starting in a some airy interior design office. There's a mood board on the wall and books stacked neatly with a terrarium on top. Perhaps a display or two of personal artifacts acquired during world travels. An actual scene or not, one thing is for sure: a trip to the paint store is still a must. 

Image: Decor Pad

Image: Decor Pad


The Ends of the Rainbow

Ah, the dizzying, inspiring, and—let's just take a moment to tip our hats to the merchandiser who set this up—impeccably organized paint sample display.


As someone who might have enjoyed arranging her crayons as much as using them, the ordered spectrum of paint chips has always been a restorative sight. Surely I'm not alone in collecting these cards for fun. And attendant to my appreciation is curiosity. Unsurprisingly, delving into the history of paint cards necessitates a look at Color Theory's own lineage: the origins of house painting. Yes, I actually did this Google search:

The short answer is sometime around the Industrial Revolution. The long answer, which I found here, is certainly worth the read. (Did you know there was, effectively, underground paint mixing? Me either.) New, efficient systems of manufacture, along with advances in the chemical formulations of paint, dovetailed with a growing rail industry in America. Put simply, more paint could go more places. A growing middle class had access to a product which allowed them to have their own slice of luxury: a home that was not merely functional, but stylish—even enviable—as well.

Paint companies began investing in the potential of this emerging market by developing new methods of promotion. The advertisements below date from the 1880's. What I especially love is how they glued on actual samples of paint. Restrictions in technology (mass-produced color printing had a ways to go at this point) ultimately resulted in a very real, physical presence (rather than an image) of the paint in the consumer's home via "color chip cards." I like to imagine that, not unlike us, those 19th century home-owners held teeny-tiny examples of paint up to the wall, attempting to envision it covering the entire surface. And, not unlike us, I imagine they struggled a bit as well.

Check out Architect Magazine's article, A Colorful History of Paint, for even more information and images. They also have a link to this veritable treasure trove of historical home decorating and improvement books. 


What's In a Name?

Another thing I noticed about the early paint samples is the color names. Apple Green, Pink Tint, Flaxen Yellow: The 19th century names are distinctly descriptive, definitely a far cry from more, um, poetic, names used by contemporary paint companies.

Today, our homes are more than reflections of class; our personal spaces communicate who we are as people—our personalities, preferences, and histories. In addition, we consider these rooms as intimate enclosures. Mood and ambience are no longer decorative by-products; They are structural and functional in the most definitive sense. For a sensitive, and perhaps transformative, meditation on our collective notions of home, Gaston Bachelard's The Poetics of Space is a great read. And for a lighthearted take on paint color names, check out this Reddit thread

So now you know: A paint card is much more than its name. Beneath its seemingly disposable purpose it is actually something of a relic, a modern-day descendent of the complex—and ultimately, deeply human—desire to carve out a piece of the world that is truly ours.

Souces: Architect Magazine, The Magazine Antiques, Shearer Painting


Do you find yourself gravitating towards a particular palette when decorating your own home? What do you want these colors to say about you? If you ever want to discuss these questions further as you undertake the task of re-doing your own home, drop us a line. Color consultation is one of our passions!

Trim: Go Bold in Your Home

When we imagine rooms in our mind's eye, wall color is quite often one of the first things we think of. To that end, as we plan updates to our homes, a change in wall color is at the top of the to-do list. Trim, meanwhile, is not infrequently painted a white semi-gloss. Doors, too, are typically painted the same color as the trim. And that white semi-gloss is tried-and-true for a reason: It's neutral, easy to clean, and makes just about any color look pretty darn good. 

Glossy white trim gives this dining room a clean and bright look. Image: HGTV

Glossy white trim gives this dining room a clean and bright look. Image: HGTV


But trim can also make quite an impact when it is done in unexpected colors. In fact, just a simple change in hue can shift the entire look of a space. The father of color relativity, Josef Albers, noted, "We are able to hear a single tone. But we almost never…see a single color unconnected and unrelated to other colors." This is what makes trim such a surprising—and likely untapped—element in a room. A thoughtful change in its color will noticeably affect the colors surrounding it—walls included.


This color plate from Albers' seminal Interaction of Color demonstrates how the surrounding color transforms our perception of the color in the center. Those small squares are actually the very same color. AND...


...That square could be a door...

Image: Design Sponge

Image: Design Sponge

A super-lemon yellow door lends zest to the pale hardwood and gives the otherwise unmemorable white walls a refreshing, icy sheen.


...Or Entryway



Warm, dusty teal quietly encloses the height of this space, making this entryway that much more inviting. By using teal on the doorframe, it becomes adjacent to the orange wall just behind—an unexpected and humorous touch. Deep wood-stained accents give the unusual trim work a traditional underscore. As a whole, these color choices make for an area of the home that becomes even more rewarding through experience.


...Or Kitchen



Grey has been quite the favorite as of late. And for good reason; it's flexible in both range and personal style. While remaining true to its classy neutrality, it becomes graphic when used on trim and built-ins which allows the whiteness of the walls to feel soft and considered.


...Or Bathroom

Image: House Beautiful

Image: House Beautiful

Sea glass-inspired blues and greens make for lovely bathroom colors. This particular iteration has a wholeness that lends it a farmhouse practicality. Yet its use on the trim and wainscoting, in addition to that clawfoot tub and marble floor, bring to mind more decadent spaces...


When in Versailles make your trim bold (and gold).


If you're looking for a simple way to refresh a room, a change in trim color may very well be your answer. Our daily rates are perfect for accomplishing these lighter tasks, so whether you'd like to give scuffed wooden door frames an update in minimal and modern white or you want to add earthiness to an entryway, there's truly a spectrum of accessible, exciting options. (And, yes, we can do gold, too.)


Maximizing Storage and Style in Your Mudroom

When you've got the space, a well organized mudroom is a must. Everyday we get home we kick off our shoes next to the door. Throw our coats and bags on a kitchen chair and leave ourselves a mess to clean up later. But it's later right? We take care of later stuff later! 

With mudrooms, you don't have to put anything away because its already there! Wouldn't it be nice to just walk in, take off your shoes and coat and be done? Just go relax now?

Here are a few ideas for built-ins that will do just the trick for you and your family. 

Baskets on shelves help you to contain the crazy. You know stuff gets out of hand. You know its impossible to sub-compartimentalize every last part of your life. Throw it in a cute basket, duh! Also, don't forget to switch out your throw pillows and rug for the season you're in. 

Baskets on shelves help you to contain the crazy. You know stuff gets out of hand. You know its impossible to sub-compartimentalize every last part of your life. Throw it in a cute basket, duh! Also, don't forget to switch out your throw pillows and rug for the season you're in. 

Try separating out a compartment for each person in the house. Give them the responsibility to maintain their own space. Reward them for organization and shut the door on them for being disorderly! Just kidding. Be nice. 

Try separating out a compartment for each person in the house. Give them the responsibility to maintain their own space. Reward them for organization and shut the door on them for being disorderly! Just kidding. Be nice. 

Whether your storage is overhead or down below, leave a little room for decoration to make the mud room inviting. The mudroom for you family is a "welcome home". We want it to set the tone for the rest of the evening. Now it's time to de-stress. 

Whether your storage is overhead or down below, leave a little room for decoration to make the mud room inviting. The mudroom for you family is a "welcome home". We want it to set the tone for the rest of the evening. Now it's time to de-stress. 

You might be asking yourself, "why is wainscoting so popular in mudrooms?". Good question, I'm glad you asked.

The reason I like wainscoting in mudrooms is two fold. First, wainscoting has a really nice interesting look, however, if it's over-used in a home it can look like it's trying to hard. Small areas like a mudroom or bathroom are great choices for a modest use of wainscoting. 

The second reason is durability and washability. Wainscoting is made from a particle board print that is much harder than gypsum board (drywall) so it doesn't damage easily. In addition to this, wainscoting looks best with a satin or semi-gloss finish which is very washable. Smooth walls don't do as well with higher sheens because they tend to show imperfections and roller marks.  The verticle pattern in the wainscoting doesn't show these same imperfections.

Do yourself a favor! 

This year make a plan to flesh out your mudroom. You'll be so glad you did. Your house will feel cleaner and more organized and you'll love walking home and not tripping over a pile of shoes you don't know where to put. 


If you're interested in getting a custom built-in ask us about our friends the Walnut Builders and lets come up with a plan!

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