Expert Tips for Picking Paint Colors
October 16, 2013
Half the fun of repainting is picking paint colors. And half the stress of repainting is picking paint colors. As much as any of us enjoys strolling through the massive wall of paint chips at the hardware store there is something about having too many options that can make choosing a color for a bedroom or hallway, or color scheme for an exterior painting project, incredibly daunting. Here are our tips for making it less overwhelming:
Start Off Small
When you’re repainting your entire house, inside and out, you may feel like you need to pick all of your colors at once. But you don’t. Instead of trying to create a color scheme for every wall, ceiling, and surface, pick one room, an accent wall, or a hallway and think only about that space. Picking paint colors will feel less crazy that way and once you’ve picked a color and painted, you’ll feel more confident when it comes to choosing colors for larger spaces or your home’s exterior.
Think About Your Stuff
Do you have a favorite piece of furniture, throw rug, or objet d’art? Perhaps the rooms you’re painting already have a strong color focus or scheme. Unless you’re planning on redecorating after you paint, your possessions can help you narrow down your paint color options. Outside, for exterior painting projects, the color of your roof, walkways, and even your landscaping can guide you toward harmonious choices.
Use Paint Samples, Not Chips
Paint chips are great when you’re in the beginning stages of picking paint colors for an interior or exterior painting project, but once you’ve narrowed it down to a handful of shades you need to up your game. Sample pots of your faves are sometimes free but more often cost a couple of bucks, which is why some people avoid them. But hanging paint chips on the wall isn’t nearly as helpful as actually painting real swatches of color that let you see how it each looks on the wall at different times of day.
Consider the Surface
What are you painting? Most people paint their ceilings flat white but not everyone – if you’re dreaming of a cool colored ceiling, consider that color on a ceiling will look darker than that same color painted on a vertical wall. Once you find a shade you like, opt for one shade lighter. It will look like the original shade once it’s dry. Painting the floor? The same rules apply. Also remember: Paint applied to smooth surfaces will reflect and magnify light, making colors appear brighter, while paint on rough surfaces will usually look a bit darker.
Use the Process of Elimination
If you’re having trouble finding colors you really love, why not make a list of colors you hate? Figuring out which colors are on your ‘no way’ list can help you narrow down your choices in the long run – and make you feel more confident about your picks once you do make a decision. Eliminating entire hues or shades can make finding the colors you do like easier and may even help you open your eyes to colors you wouldn’t otherwise have considered.
Do Not Forget About Lighting
The same color of paint is going to look very different in a living room with full southern exposure than in a bedroom with a single north-facing window or in a finished basement that gets no natural light at all. Always keep light in mind when choosing paint colors because the color you love on the chip under the harsh fluorescents at the hardware store isn’t going to look the same in your living room. And that’s why we suggest sample pots for anyone tackling an interior or exterior painting project.
What Mood are You Trying to Create?
Some paint colors are naturally intense. Bright daisy yellow. Fire engine red. Deep black. Some are low-intensity… like calm sky blue, sea foam green, or simple pretty peach. If you’d like a color that’s not too intense or too calm pick from the middle of paint chip strips because that’s where the “safest” colors can be found. Consider, though, what mood you’re trying to capture. We recommend saving the dramatic colors for the living room or accent colors in the kitchen and painting with more relaxing colors in bedrooms and studies.
Finally, Be Patient
Don’t rush to pick paint colors or you’ll run the risk of ending up with walls in a hue you’ll grow to hate. Your interior and exterior walls aren’t going anywhere, right? You have plenty of time to carefully consider all of your options.
At Jerry Enos Painting, a Massachusetts exterior painting company, you always receive a free, professional paint consultation that includes help choosing paint colors for your interior and exterior spaces. We understand that choosing paint colors isn’t always easy so our goal is to work with you to make sure you’re delighted with your palette. Call us for a free estimate at 978-546-6843 today to get started.