{pick the best color with confidence}

Hirshfield’s Color Expert, Kate Smith, shares insight on how to pick a paint color with confidence!

Paint samples

You’re sick of the same colors in your home and are ready for something new, fresh and different. You’re rarin’ to start but aren’t sure exactly how and where to begin. What’s the first step? How do you know what the best color is for you and your home? Color expert Kate Smith has insight on how to pick the best color with confidence.

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{friday finds: does white make a room seem larger?}

Is White the Way to Go?

If you have a smaller room in your home and you want to make it appear more spacious, you might assume that white would do the trick. However, that’s not necessarily the case.

According to color expert Kate Smith, who gives wonderful paint advice in Minnesota, a small room that is painted white can end up looking dirty and dingy. Blame the lighting—in dim light, shadows can be created that make the room feel smaller and more closed in, the opposite of what you want. Color can actually help a room appear bigger.

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{expert color advice: how color is affected by light}

Looking at color with light.

It’s very important when choosing color that you look at it in all different light scenarios. Color expert Kate Smith from Sensational Color knows what it takes to decide which color will be right for you. Follow these expert tips so you don’t regret your color choice.

Choosing Color

Have you decided on a color and by nightfall, you’re regretting your decision? There’s a word for that: metamerism. Metamerism means that colors seem to change under different light conditions. That’s why testing is key! Read the rest of this entry »

{friday finds: color combinations for fall}

Decorating with fall colors.

The fall season evokes memories of burnt orange and warm browns that welcome us into the months of pumpkin pie, crisp days, and falling leaves. These fall favorites can be translated into color schemes that are fashionable year-round!

Fall Inspired Color Combinations

Color splash. Shades of orange and yellow make for wonderful room accents. Use muted fabrics to let the bold colors stand out.

Stone brown. Benjamin Moore describes their Stone Brown (2112-30) as comfortable as a favorite pair of stone-washed khakis, this warm brown adds an air of cozy warmth to any space. 

Dark yellow. This typically spring color takes on a fall flavor when it comes in a darkened hue. Match it with a rich gold and cream to add depth.

Forest green. A forest green is a bit more muted, boding well with chocolate brown. This look can come across as heavy, so partner with white to lighten it up.

Fall color schemes.

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{expert advice: rules when using color}

Painting with proper proportions of color.

Paint color can transform and revitalize your home. Color expert Kate Smith from Sensational Color realizes this and uses color to engage and create welcoming home environments. One way to do this is with proper proportions of different hues and shades of color. Kate advises on how much color to use when painting a room. Read the rest of this entry »

{when to splurge and when to save when decorating your home}

Furnishing a home can be a major investment. You have the necessities – a table, bed, dinnerware, and a place to sit. Then you have the “nice to haves” – wall art, fancy lighting, a glam rug, and accessories to tie the space together. When you’re excited about decorating, and anxious to get started, the line can easily become blurry between the two categories. Which is why we love Apartment Therapy’s post on when to splurge and when to save when furnishing your home.

Here are some of their tips:

Splurge where your health is concerned.
This means mattresses, office chairs and work surfaces at the proper height for the job at hand. If you’re lucky you may find these items at a bargain price, but generally I’d suggest budgeting more for items which directly affect your health and comfort.

A comfortable looking office, color on the wall is Benjamin Moore Hot Apple Spice 2005-20.

We would also add that along with furniture that affects your health, products that affect your health. Consider going with a low or no VOC paint to cut down on odor. Hirshfield’s offers Preserve LOW VOC INTERIOR LATEX FLAT with Microban® antimicrobial product protection and Benjamin Moore Natura® Zero-VOC Interior Paint.

Splurge on statement pieces.
These are the pieces that you love, that you’ll take with you when you move, that make your home feel like yours. The Eames chair which detracts from the big-box store sofa, or the vintage armoire which makes putting away the laundry fun. It goes without saying that falling in love with pieces that are also functional is advisable, but it doesn’t always work out that way.

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{made in Minnesota Monday: Graco}

As a Minnesota company, Hirshfield’s is proud to offer many Minnesota-made products! Besides Hirshfield’s paint, which is manufactured in Minneapolis and sold throughout the state, Hirshfield’s also offers a range of other products made right here in Minnesota! Each Monday we’ll take a closer look at some of these products, starting today with Graco!

Graco’s story begins on a cold winter day in Minneapolis in 1926. Russell Gray, then a parking lot attendant, figured there had to be a better way to lubricate cars than by using hand-operated grease guns. The temperature that day had dropped so low, the grease was impossible to move. So Russell developed a grease gun powered by air pressure, which was met with rave reviews.

By 1948 the company had moved into the paint industry with the introduction of its first paint pump. In 1957, the Gray Company (the name was changed to Graco in 1969) developed an airless spray gun, cementing the company as a market leader in spray coating and painting.

Hirshfield’s is proud to sell a variety of Graco’s Minnesota-made products in retail locations across the state!

Graco was one of the exhibitors at last year’s Hirshfield’s contractor show:

Hirshfield’s is your local Minneapolis-St. Paul paint retailer. The experts at Hirshfield’s are here to help you with everything from window-treatments to paint colors. Hirshfield’s manufactures paint right here in Minneapolis.

{are silver and gray colors?}

grey color

Some time ago there was interesting banter on a Color Marketing Group site about whether silver was a color and opinions were flying around like bees on honey. I don’t think there was a clear winner as experts from all over chimed in with their views on the subject. There was the opinion that silver was a finish not a color and from left field was thrown the idea that silver was a neutral like gray and therefore not considered a color. So now we have two controversies, are silver and gray colors?

A neutral is defined as “being without color” and you would think that gray falls into the neutral category. However, most grays in the paint industry are made with lamp black, a very blue cast black. Since it is blue cast any amount of it will add blue to the formula or will make it a “cool” gray. Another source of black colorant is carbon black which is less blue than lamp black but used less frequently. I have found the most neutral grays are found at the junction of red violet and blue violet, being a neutral between a warm and cool color family. There can only be one gray family that is a true neutral as any addition of color changes that color into a definite hue even though it may be imperceptible to the human eye.

Silver, in my opinion, is a gray with a metallic finish. If there is such a thing as warm silver and cool silver, or even a green, blue or whatever silver then how can silver not be a color? Stainless steel can be anything from a cool hue to a warm hue depending on the manufacturer, but since they are all silver they are considered neutrals, which is why they fit so well into all environments.

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{friday finds: hirshfield’s color call – the movie}

We thought it would be helpful for people to see what takes place during a color call. We asked Kathy Basil, from Hirshfield’s Design Studio, to show us how she works with customers during an exterior color call.

In addition to selecting paint colors, Kathy suggested changing the color of the shutters, adding a shutter, beefing up the light fixtures alongside the garage door, and trimming branches that blocked the view of the home from the street. Ahh, a fresh pair of eyes is sometimes what it takes to see the obvious.

What you don’t see are Kathy and Mrs. H heading over to another neighborhood where Mrs. H showed Kathy her favorite house. The color of the house was gold, and Kathy explained to Mrs. H why that color would not work with her home. Trusting Kathy’s knowledge of color and experience, Mr. & Mrs. H took a leap of faith, and went with her suggestions for the paint colors.

The couple is in the process of implementing Kathy’s suggestions and are very pleased with the changes, including the new paint color.  It took them a while to warm up to the huge change in their home’s appearance, but it helps when people you don’t know, stop and tell you how much they like the new paint color.

Check out the post Amy did earlier in the week highlighting Hirshfield’s color calls.

Check out Hirshfield’s video library at: youtube.com/hirshfieldspaint

{red: hot or haute? }

Red: Hot or Haute?

When thinking of colors in terms of their color temperature, red is at the top of the scale for being a really warm hue. It is commonly referred to as the color of fire and flame and it sizzles in terms of sensuality.

Red is a romantic valentine or a sweet smelling rose on one level — and a feared rash or sunburn on another level. There is nothing wishy-washy about red. It makes a statement no matter how it is used. Red says “stop” one minute and can indicate “come hither” the next.

This color has risen in the ranks of popular colors rather quickly in the last few years. There was a time when a paint dealer sold a quart of red a month and now they sell it by the gallon on a daily basis. Why is this? What happened to make this hue move to the top like the mercury in a thermometer?

One factor in its move to the top is the preponderance of do-it-yourself television shows using red as a makeover color. The one thing a makeover show wants to provoke is a reaction from their participants and their audience.  Whether it is a good or bad response, it needs to be controversial to be memorable. Red enjoys this love/hate reputation that no one can deny is dramatic and thought provoking. Because red was highlighted so often in these shows it gave confidence to consumers that they could achieve dramatic results in the easiest, least expensive method:  a gallon of red paint.

Our connection to certain colors is based on our memories of past experiences or recollections of objects featured in that color. We may have had loved a color because it is the hue of a favorite flower.  You may hate it because it was a color overused by a not-so-favorite neighbor. Looking for the most common, pleasant memories is significant in the selection of colors for products. Because of this packaging often uses red to boost the sales of certain products.  Red can’t and won’t be ignored and will remain in the limelight for years to come.

Used judiciously, incorporating red into your home decorating can be an inviting showstopper.

Here are our favorite picks.


by Pat Verlodt, CMG, Color Guild International for Hirshfield’s


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