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Every renter knows all too well the drab, beige paint favored by landlords for everything from the trim to the ceilings. It can be a sickly hue hard to hide with just decor and furniture, so I knew that a new color scheme was in order when I wanted to makeover my small Brooklyn apartment.
I painted the living room a pale green shortly after moving in three years ago, but the rest of the space was starting to look worse for wear. I was considering something dark and bold in the bathroom, and I knew I wanted to fix up the under-sink cabinet, but I couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger. It had taken (what felt like) months to choose the perfect shade of green for the living room, and the idea of making multiple trips to hardware store and spending hours comparing paint chips was just too overwhelming.
But then I discovered Farrow & Ball’s color consultation service. It completely eliminates the process by sending a color expert—a real live human being—to your home to help you choose your colors. For just $250 an hour (and an hour is all you need for a small space), you can have a professional evaluate your space, listen to your inspirations and concerns, and work with you to determine what’s best—and in my case, show me things I didn’t even know I wanted.
I was set up with Nicole Collado, who went to school for interior design before undergoing Farrow & Ball’s unique and extensive color training. Her aesthetic is driven by the constant inspiration she finds living in NYC (much like my own), as well as the 10 years she spent living in the Dominican Republic.
[The bathroom, before.]
After I walked Nicole through the space, we started in the bathroom. Wallpaper was out of the question; there’s no window, so the steam would just make it fall off. I quickly dismissed dark green since that’s the color I used in the living room, and I wasn’t feeling any of the moody grays.
[The bathroom, before.]
We looked at a few of deep blues: Drawing Room Blue was clearly too dark, Pitch Blue felt too bright, but Stiffkey Blue hit the mark. I was concerned that it would make the already small room feel smaller, especially since she said we should paint the ceiling, but Nicole likened it to creating a cozy jewel box.
[The bathroom, after. Wall paint Stiffkey Blue, Farrow & Ball; Cabinet paint Pink Ground, Farrow & Ball.]
For the cabinet and bathroom door, she suggested a pale pink to have a little more fun and add some lightness. I never thought I would agree to using millennial pink in my house, but the pastel shade of Pink Ground looks so sophisticated against the inky blue walls. My tiny bathroom suddenly feels like a spa.
[The bathroom, after. Molger shelf, Ikea, $49.99; White vase, CB2, $12.95 for three; Wall paint Stiffkey Blue, Farrow & Ball; Banded Border Bath Collection, Serena and Lily, from $8; Cabana Stripe Beach Towel, Serena and Lily, $68.]
[The bedroom, before. Pillow by Loloi, Domino; Percale Venice set in slate, Parachute, from $239; Throw blanket, Ikea, $19.99.]
It seemed like a huge commitment. I love looking at beautifully wallpapered rooms as much as the next Domino reader, but in my own apartment? Wallpaper is something that my parents’ generation used. Would it look stuffy? Old-fashioned?
Absolutely not. The bedroom is now my favorite room in the apartment. I didn’t know a wall covering could bring me this much joy. (Pro tip from Emrys Berwick of the full-service premier paint and design company, Berwick and Edel: Always order more wallpaper than you think you’ll need. You can’t just calculate the square footage and call it a day. You have to have enough to ensure that the pattern lines up. Farrow & Ball has a convenient calculator for guidance.)
For the rest of the bedroom, Nicole took cues from the wallpaper pattern color. (All of Farrow & Ball’s wallpapers are created with their paints, so you can perfectly match your paints and papers). We went back and forth between Blackened, Skylight, and Dimpse, with the latter coming out on top. It’s a delicate gray that complements the pale blue of the paper and makes the whole room feel so serene. Farrow & Ball’s paints have such rich pigmentation that even the paler colors seem to change with the light. In the morning sun, the gray feels warm and bright, but it’s still very soothing at night.
[The bedroom, after. White bottle vase, CB2, $12.95; Siena marble base table lamp, CB2, $159; Helleborus wallpaper, Farrow & Ball; walls are Dimpse, Farrow &Ball; Sateen sheet set in powder, Parachute, from $109; Mar Vista Matelassé Duvet Cover, Serena and Lily, from $188; Metallic Pickstitch Lumbar Pillow Cover, Serena and Lily, $58; Kupa lilac vase, CB2, $19.95; White linen curtain panel, CB2, $49.95.]