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e_moon60

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Color Vision: Choosing Finish for New Table [Sep. 19th, 2011|02:49 pm]
e_moon60
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[Current Mood |accomplished]

So...as mentioned before,  I'm finally getting a dining room table big enough for the groups we gather several times a year--instead of having the mix of tables (no two the same width, height or length) shoved end to end.  No more guests will have to straddle a leg (or two) when the new one arrives.   But picking the stain was the final stage of the order.  From the online examples I'd thought two colors in particular were strong possibilities, Asbury Brown and Nutmeg. Nutmeg's lighter than Asbury Brown.  But--was my old computer monitor rendering the colors accurately?  (Does anyone's?)

I asked for color samples; they came today. In our kitchen, I suddenly saw four possibilities: the first two plus Chocolate Spice and Old World Mission. On the phone last week, the saleslady said Chocolate Spice was "cooler" toned than Nutmeg.

I gradually came back to my first two choices and was dithering, but then it occurred to me that this table won't be in our kitchen, but in the other house's back room. That room has a lot of natural light, and aside from that is paneled in rough yellow pine beadboard (not varnished) and the doors on the built-in buffet thing at the far end are the same, almost bright-yellowish wood, and so is the door to the storage room. The floor is a mottled brown/beige carpet.

I took the samples to the other house, and looked at them directly against, and near, the paneling and the cabinet doors, both with and without the artificial light. It was immediately obvious what the best color was--no doubt at all that Nutmeg won. Chocolate Spice was indeed a warm/cool clash with the walls; Asbury Brown suddenly looked harshly dark, not just a rich dark brown, against the lighter yellowish walls and doors, and Old World Mission was too red and argued with both the carpet and the walls. Nutmeg fit into the room as a good accent brown and didn't fight with anything.

Now to call and confirm my finish color choice. (Now why didn't I take those samples over there FIRST? Because I was eating lunch and couldn't wait to see them!)

Relevant: our kitchen has aqua-turquoise counters (not my choice), white appliances, vinyl flooring that mixes white, pale gray, a little darker gray and a soft blue-gray, one pale gray wall, and cabinets of natural wood (old) in a warm honey-syrup sort of color.  The cool does not clash because the warm cabinets are not aggressively yellow.  The lighting is one north window over the sink and CFLs and LEDs in that are cool-toned.  At the far end of the room, the old cool-toned fake-wood paneling is medium dark with rosy undertones; the carpet is gray Berber with little bits of other color (just enough not to be flat gray.)  So the stain samples that looked good here were in a completely different color environment than the room where the table will go, which has so much aggressively yellow pine, a darkish floor covering, and lots of windows that bring in direct sun.

Always check your color samples in the place where they will be used. I knew that; I just wanted to open the package.

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: tkil
2011-09-19 09:03 pm (UTC)

color calibration

But--was my old computer monitor rendering the colors accurately? (Does anyone's?)

Some manufacturers take more care than others. (Apple is definitely an example here, as well as higher-end Dell monitors and anyone selling to the "creatives" market, where color calibration is essential -- although the latter group typically has the hardware, software, expertise, and incentive to do it themselves as well. Doing it right is expensive, but so is a huge print run of glossy catalogs that don't show the correct colors...)

It also depends on the software, and how that software (OS and browser both) are configured.

Finally, it matters whether the originating site has taken proper care of color calibration all the way from studio through production and publishing.

So, yes, some people's monitors do show the right colors. Lots of things to go wrong along the way, though.

As a quick check, you can probably get various swatched from a paint store, then compare them to what you see on your computer when you browse to the paint website. Your room lighting white balance will matter, too.

(And in this particular case, you also have to deal with true colors vs. RGB recreations, and the particular aspects of the surface that you're dealing with. When I did an amateurish refinishing of my dining room table, the polyurethane brought out a "depth" that no amount of color calibration could have caught.)
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[User Picture]From: kengr
2011-09-19 11:27 pm (UTC)

Re: color calibration

There are gizmos you can buy that attach to the computer and will calibrate not just the color balance on the computer, but on the printer as well. A friend who is a semi-pro photographer has one.

They're expensive but not horribly so.

Still leaves you at the mercy of the folks who created the image you are looking at, but it at least eliminates a couple of variables.
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[User Picture]From: wldrose
2011-09-19 09:24 pm (UTC)
When I went to Twain's house they had one room had lights color corrected to show what it would have looked like in gas light. WOW such a huge difference things that looked yellow and unpleasant looked sharp and wonderful.

The met also did this years and years ago for a show on medieval icons and all that gold leaf and odd eyes look wonderful in candle light but flat and over done in modern light.

Even my late husband when studying to be a lighting designer use to do his room all in cool blue light and paint except for the bed that had warm light and warm colors to draw in his dates to the happy place.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-09-20 12:44 am (UTC)
Yes to all the comments, but...they sent me the samples, I walked them over to the other house (where I don't have the computer) and held them up against walls, cabinets, etc, in the light in which the table will be seen.

And so at the cost of a short walk there and back, I had my answer. No need to buy a new monitor or new software or a new computer.

Seems a lot simpler this way.
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[User Picture]From: tkil
2011-09-21 02:34 am (UTC)
No need to buy a new monitor or new software or a new computer.

Sure.

Was being somewhat snarky/literalist ("Why, yes, there *are* some monitors that do show the exact color...").

Although this sort of setup might eventually be useful to you for things like cover artwork, online yarn purchases, etc.
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[User Picture]From: gifted
2011-09-20 03:54 pm (UTC)
That's bizarre. :D
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[User Picture]From: keristor
2011-09-20 05:49 pm (UTC)
It's unusual to be that way round, I've more often seen the opposite (things which look black or dark under fluorescents but show in natural or incandescent "black body" light). I'm sure there's a use for that effect *g*...
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[User Picture]From: gifted
2011-09-20 03:54 pm (UTC)
Good thinking.
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[User Picture]From: keristor
2011-09-20 05:46 pm (UTC)

Completely Off Topic

... but relevant to you if you haven't seen it -- an article about a young autistic man finding a job. I was so reminded of "The Speed of Dark"...
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