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how this PNW designer masters the mood with paint and pattern

A blue sitting area/Photography: David Papazian/A blue-gray living space designed by Angela Todd Studios.

Paint can help create the mood of a room. And Pacific Northwest designer Angela Todd, of Angela Todd Studios, knows how to pick paint. "It depends on the mood you want to convey," she says of her color-selection process. "From my perspective, complementary colors give an energy to a space. While monochromatic rooms are serene and peaceful, analogous color schemes tend to feel restful."

One tactic Angela uses: "dialing up or down" the values of colors within a color combination. "It is a lot like how the sky changes throughout the day and night: Dawn breaking, high noon, sunset, and twilight all have multiple colors in the atmosphere, but the mood is totally different because of the value and saturation of the colors."

A bedroom with floral wallpaper/Photography: Blackstone Edge/"Wallpaper is a different universe than paint. It offers an instant mood. I use it liberally and highly recommend it," says Angela.

Does Angela have any favorites? "My 'home base' colors are, no doubt, greens and blues, and I often like to pair them with the warmer side of the color wheel: yellow, pinks, or oranges." Often, Angela shares, "white can look nothing short of a safe, generic option. I prefer to make it personalized, original, and special." 

A neutral-painted kitchen features colorful fabric and accents/Photography: Blackstone Edge/Neutral paint provides the perfect backdrop for the colorful fabric and accents in a warm and welcoming kitchen designed by Angela.

Keep in mind, paint may not be the primary focus of your design–but that doesn't mean it's any less essential. "In the most successfully designed spaces, the color on the wall isn’t the first thing you notice. It is the supporting cast of great textiles, surfaces, wood, stone, and architecture. Additionally, colors change based on what is surrounding them, and so other colors, wood tones, and natural and artificial light will enhance or diminish a color choice," explains Angela. 

A blue and gray sitting room/Photography: David Papazian/A cozy living space designed with some of designer Angela Todd's signature "home base" colors.

That means that it's important to get the process right. "I advise against picking your paint color first. It should be one of your last decisions," says Angela. "Color decisions get harder the larger the canvas, because the color multiplies. Exterior color selections can be even trickier for that reason. When in doubt, call someone who has picked a paint color hundreds of times more than you." 

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