How do you choose color? Finding the right color combinations for #kerrysoffice by Barbara Schmidt,

Here’s the biggest secret – every color has an undertone. That’s right – an undertone that makes the color itself fall into a warm or cool category. That undertone can be helpful to note once you are trying to choose materials that go together.

Here’s an example of a warm gray and a cool gray. The warm gray has a red undertone and the cool gray has a blue undertone. We selected Sherwin Williams paints because of the wide range of subtle color options and because our contractor preferred their paint over all others.

Sherwin Williams Gray Paint Colors 

Sherwin Williams Gray Paint Colors 

So where did we start for Kerry’s office? We chose flooring first because that is what was going to be installed first. We looked at tile and chose a lighter, organic large format tile for the entry way and focal wall.

InterceramicUSA  Burano Bianco Valetta Tile 12"X24"

InterceramicUSA Burano Bianco Valetta Tile 12"X24"


Then we looked for just the right wood plank flooring that would be durable for commercial. We chose a vinyl flooring that fooled everyone’s eye.

Karndean French Oak Loose-Lay Flooring

Karndean French Oak Loose-Lay Flooring


And here’s where the color scheme started. The wood flooring has a definite red undertone and warms the gray tones. Everything from this choice forward had to work with the wood plank flooring.

Does that mean everything has to have a red undertone? No, but it can’t have a strong yellow or green undertone because that would look mismatched.

Here are some examples of lighter colors that we looked through from the Sherwin Williams paint deck. See how some are pink, yellow, green or blue? We wanted to make sure we stayed neutral because of the red undertone in the flooring so we went with a warm gray tone for the walls a ceiling. 

And now the fun part – how did we choose the focal wall color? Kerry brought the swatch to a meeting and we threw it down with several others to see if it would go together with the other elements.

As you can see it’s the perfect contrast to the warm flooring. Tricky to see but the Sherwin Williams color Quietude has just enough warmth to add to the color scheme. To be absolutely sure we painted a section on one of the walls to see how everything went together on spaces perpendicular to the flooring.

For more about Kerry’s office follow us on Instagram: studiobstyle



Barbara Schmidt