Choosing Paint Colors
Are you overwhelmed with the task of choosing paint colors for your home? Small color chips do not give homeowners a true idea of how paint colors will look on the expanse of a wall. According to a Benjamin Moore survey, fifty percent of paint sales come from people choosing the wrong color the first time.
As a certified color consultant, I have observed many house interiors and exteriors. Some homes have different colors in every room, while others still have “builders’ white” in abundance. Many homeowners choose neutral paint colors but use different tones in each room. So how do you add color and create a look of harmony and balance?
Break it Down into Five Steps:
- Cultivate your colors.
Decide which you like and don’t like. Dream, do a vision board, peruse the paint chips at a paint store, look in magazines and on Pinterest or Houzz.com (search for Color Confident Home and look at my idea boards on both sites).
- Start with the 60-30-10 rule of design.
Sixty percent of your room color will be a neutral or a color that is a backdrop for your furniture, accessories and artwork. Neutrals can be grey, white, or beige and also light to medium colors that work as a backdrop to other colors. The majority of neutrals have either cool or warm undertones of a color. Blues, greens, and violets fall on the cool side with reds, yellows, golds, and oranges on the warmer end. Warm whites and creams, muted colors such as yellows, oranges, and reds look best with beige neutrals, while cool whites, black, and bright, vivid colors look best with gray neutrals. A current trend mixes warm colors and cool colors, but to get it right you must have a mix of texutres and an eye for design. Walls with vivid colors can create a dramatic look, as long as design rules are followed and the eye has a focal point as well as a balance that allows the eye to rest.
- Understand Undertones.
Look at your existing furniture, cabinets, and other fixed items like countertops and flooring. What are the undertones in your current colors? If your sofa is brown with a pinkish hue, you’ll want to find paint colors in the same undertone family. If your carpeting is gold-beige, be sure you choose neutral paint colors with gold undertones. Choose your trim color based on your undertones. Off-whites and creams go well with warm, muted colors while white and cooler off-whites provide a crisp look for cool colors.
- Look at your lighting.
Natural light, the number of windows in room, time of day and season affect the color of light entering your home, as well as how the colors in the room will look. Your artificial lighting, including the amount, type, and color of bulbs, also determines how paint colors will look on your walls.
- Don’t skip the sample.
After you narrow down your choices to two or three, buy small paint sample containers and paint a piece of two-foot by two-foot foam-core or poster board with two coats. Let dry overnight, and then view the sample on different walls in your room at different times of day over several days. You will then be able to choose your paint color with confidence!