The Inspirations device is a hand-held electronic gizmo that does something I didn’t think possible. Place it against anything you want to match with paint – a couch, carpet, furniture, wall hanging or wood floor – press a button, and the device generates a whole range of harmonious paint colour options that are supposed to match. I say “supposed to”, because I’ve always believed there was no such thing as right or wrong when it comes to colours. Surely colour choice is entirely a personal thing, right?
Brad Elkins is senior brand manager and a colour guy at Dulux, and the 30 minute phone call we shared changed everything I’d ever believed about colour. I now understand that harmonious absolutes really do exist in the world of colour, just as they do in the realm of mathematics and musical harmonics. And that homely little electronic device with the long name can help you find the sweet spot.
The first thing that began to change my mind about the Dulux Inspirations device was how accurately it can identify individual colours in the colour chip spectrum. Hold the electronic eye of the device against one of the 2016 shades in the Dulux colour chip collection, and it’ll tell you exactly which one it is, right down to the number. The various colours in the fan deck are often only subtly different, and though the device may make occasional identification errors, it’s never been wrong for me.
While recognizing colours accurately is one thing, that’s not the same as selecting paint to match your living room couch or bathroom floor. This is where the device’s colour suggestions come in. Despite my doubts, I have to admit that the recommendations I looked at were very pleasing to my eye. They were also pleasing to my wife’s eye, and that’s a level of paint colour agreement that’s never happened before in 23 years of marriage.
Scan an existing colour somewhere in a room, click a button, then look at the range of suggested options. The screen includes small colour samples, along with numbers that correspond to specific colour chips. This exercise narrows the choices to a manageable level and eliminates that overwhelmed feeling you get standing in front of a universe of colour chips, thinking, “where do I start”? I found this most useful in selecting vibrant colours with confidence. The Inspirations device also includes a voice recorder so you can tell it what you’ve scanned (i.e. “rec room couch”), then play back your voice description later.
All ICI Paints stores and Dulux Paint stores have colour units on hand, ready to take free readings from cushions, carpets, paint samples or anything else you can drag into the store. Some stores also have take-home units available for rental use.