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No-fear decorating


Published: 06/20/2012

by Kimberley Seldon

Wouldn't it be heaven if you could actually see the work before it happened?

As host of HGTV's Design for Living with Kimberley Seldon, I've had the unique opportunity to travel the world in search of good design and bring it home to Canadians everywhere. As an expert in my field, I'm frequently asked: "What makes a good interior designer?" While there's no easy answer, I can tell you there are a few things to look for.

A good designer, without being a slave to rules, always prescribes appropriate solutions to questions of design. Avoiding trends and side-stepping rigid, themed adaptations or tired clich‚s, the professional designer brings passion, good taste, a sufficient knowledge base and historical reference to every project.

But, perhaps the real ace up the designer's sleeve, is the enhanced capacity for visualization. The ability to clearly envision a projected change before its commencement is an invaluable advantage. After all, it's fear (of making wrong decisions or of spending money unwisely) that ultimately makes decorating such a difficult challenge for most people. Wouldn't it be heaven if you could actually see the work before it happened?

Well, Para Paints' Design Vision software allows you to do just that -- at least when it comes to choosing a paint colour. With Design Vision, users simply take a digital picture or scan a photo of the room or setting that requires painting and, with a few clicks of the mouse, try out any combination of Para's extensive colour line. You can also manipulate the program's sample photos of rooms or exteriors.

There are more than 2,000 colours right at your fingertips. No more running back and forth from the paint store with quarts of hopeful possibilities. With the software, walls, trim, ceilings, even furniture, can take on a new hue. This unique colour selection process works just as effectively outside for doors, garages, roofs, shingles, decks, railings, or outdoor furniture, as it does for indoor projects.

There's more. Not crazy about the 1950s stone fireplace in the family room? Wondering if a half wall just might be the perfect room divider for your open-concept living-dining room? No problem, as the software also allows you to manipulate room features such as removing the texture of brickwork, changing mouldings or adding walls.

According to Para marketing services manager Kevin Skelly, the software -- which delivers a high-resolution, high-quality image on screen -- allows the consumer to obtain a true-to-life colour scheme (including shadows and textures picked up in the photos). Once a satisfactory colour scheme is chosen, home decorators print their final selections onto a colour printer for reference. The printout also includes the selected colour names and codes, a key indicating which paint goes where, and if desired, a before-and-after shot.

Don't think Design Vision software is for amateur home decorators only. A huge benefit to designers, decorators, architects and painters, the practical software can enhance your comfort level and save time by eliminating the need for traditional colour boards. "Trade professionals can now go into peoples' homes, offices or commercial venues with a laptop computer and digital camera, and work colour magic before their clients' eyes," says Skelly.

Now everyone can choose colours with confidence.


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