Choosing the perfect paint color is not an easy task! There are so many things to think about and lots of ways to get it so wrong! Here are lots of helpful, savvy and doable tips for choosing the perfect paint color for your home!
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This post is one to read and reread! It has so many smart tips to help you choose the perfect paint color!!!!
I get tons of emails asking about the colors of my walls and trim at StoneGable. Even though I found my perfect paint color I did not always make the best color choices!
I used to almost get sick in the pit of my stomach when it came to making a paint color decision! It seemed so daunting! Can you relate?
What if I painted a room and did all that work and didn’t like it? Believe me, that happened more than I like to admit. I’d repaint the room… and sometimes repaint it again! Do you do that too?
I’ve been learning a lot over the years about finding the perfect paint color.
Now, I’m not nearly as fearful and I can say I almost enjoy the process of finding a perfect paint color! Here are 6 tips that helped me and I
FIND INSPIRATION TO CHOOSE YOUR PERFECT PAINT COLOR
Even though most people find it hard to pick a paint color, it helps to have a little inspiration! It’s so important to answer these questions when looking for that perfect paint color…
- What colors do you live with and love?
- What are the predominant colors in your wardrobe?
- Is there a color in a painting or piece of art you are drawn to?
- How is the room used?
- How much natural light does the room get?
- What colors can I eliminate right now?
- Do I want the wall color to be a
sup p ortingactor for the furniture in the room or the star?
The inspiration for the walls in most of my downstairs came from the Daniel Kessler painting above. It’s called Paris On The Seine. I was so infatuated with the way the neutral colors worked so beautifully together!
Benjamin Moore SONNET was the perfect color for most of our downstairs. It’s light and soft and a wonderful backdrop for my decor! It looks much darker in this sample.
KNOW THE ANATOMY OF A PAINT STRIP
One of the best things you can do is to head to your paint store of choice and gather lots and lots of paint strips (or chips as they are sometimes called). Now here’s where you might get overwhelmed, but don’t let these little pieces of paper defeat you!
They will help you get an idea of what you like and what will and won’t work in the room you wish to paint.
Never hold more than one paint sample up against the wall you wish to paint or the fabric you wish to coordinate paint with.
Here are some things to know about a paint strip…
- the darkest color is the truest color
- each paint strip is one color altered by tinting it or adding white
- each paint color on a strip are all cool or all warm colors- it depends on the darkest color
- they work well together
It’s so important to know the true color you are working with and then see how light you want to go. Really this should save you so many headaches!
SORTING PAINT STRIPS
Now start sorting! Take your time and be thoughtful! Here’s how to sort…
- Make two piles; one pile “possible candidates” and one pile “not working for me”. Sort and set the “not working for me” colors aside. Only work with the possible candidates!
- Go through the possible candidates and choose one or two color like beige, white, blue, gray etc. that will work in the room you want to paint. Set all other colors aside.
- Look at warm and cool undertones. Put the remaining paint strips in three groups; warm, cool and not sure.
- Decide which undertone would work best for your room and set aside the rest
- The pile you are left with will probably be very good candidates for your room.
HOLD A PAINT CHIP UP TO SOMETHING WHITE
A bit more about undertones.
Not all paint colors are created equal. Actually, none are. If you are choosing a color, let’s say blue, it may have a green undertone to it or a red or even a yellow or gray. And the undertone color may be very hard to see until you get home and paint your walls.
Our home’s woodwork and cabinets and wainscoting and vertical planking are all painted Benjamin Moore Atrium White. It has the slightest pink tint to it making is soft and gentle and a tad warm.
The paint chip looks much darker than the paint really is.
How do I know the undertones of
Often times you can see the undertone tint. Knowing the undertone will be such a big help in choosing the right paint color!
And if you know the undertone you will be able to tell if it is warm (warm colors mixed in to make the paint colors) or cool (cool colors mixed in to make the paint color).
You will be amazed at the undertones you can pick up if you compare it to something that is white with no undertones!
LIGHT EFFECTS PAINT COLOR
One of the most important things to know when choosing paint colors is how the lighting in your home will
Lighting likes to play with wall color! Depending on the type of light in your room, your wall color can look very different than the color you thought you chose!
Sunlight will show the purest color. BUT depending on the direction of the sun coming in your windows and the time of day even sunlight can skew the color… a lot! Incandescent light throws a yellow light that will intensify warm colors and dull cool ones.
Halogen light is white light and mimics sunlight and it’s effects. Fluorescent light is a blue light. It intensifies cool colors and mutes warm ones. Soft white light can dull colors while full spectrum light will intensify them!
All this to say, make sure you look at the paint samples painted on your wall at different times of a day and using different artificial light. Yes, paint big swaths of color samples right on your walls.
And here’s a tip: I note the color of each paint candidate during different times of the
BUY MORE PAINT THAN YOU THINK
If you buy a custom color to paint your walls, make sure to buy more than enough! A custom color is hand tinted and even thought different cans of it may look the same, it can be subtly different. It would be such a shame to paint a room to find out that the color varies in the room. YIKES!
I buy extra paint for every paint project. I always use more than I think!
And you will want extra paint for touch-ups! This is so so important! We have a very handy gadget called MY PAINT SAINT to help us with touch-ups. Trust me on this. You will be thrilled you have this tool that makes touch-ups a breeze!
PAINT A WALL WHITE BEFORE CHOOSING PAINT
Okay, let’s say you painted your dining room green, pretty bright green ages ago and you cannot decide what new color to paint it. You have followed all these suggestions but you are still stumped. Here’s my best suggestion. Paint a wall in the dining room white. It may need a couple of coats. Now go back to the paint strips and paint samples and see how the “possible color” candidates look.
Sometimes it’s way too hard to choose a new paint color when the one on our walls is so bright or dark or gray or whatever. Your eyes will tend to pick up the color and undertones of
To be safe you might have to paint over the old paint color with a pretty neutral white and go from there. Try Decorator’s White by Benjamin Moore.
Don’t let a little paint psyche you out!!! I say “Just go for it”! Use these 6 tips and you can conquer your paint fears AND choose the perfect wall color!!!!
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