Choosing a Paint Color


Nothing changes the look and feel of a room more than a fresh coat of paint.  Choosing the perfect color for a room can be a real challenge for some people.  You may feel that with so many choices, surely you can find the perfect color.  Alternatively, you may feel so overwhelmed with all of the choices that you have no idea where to start.  The right color may help you start off your day happy and energetic, or it may send you out the door feeling down or tired.  Here are some tips that may help you out if you are feeling stuck on the color wheel.

  1. Plan and be patient – It is fun and exciting to begin collecting paint samples, but don’t get carried away too quickly.  Take time to consider the colors before making the final decision.  Of everything in the room, the paint is the most versatile in color, so pick it out last.  Consider the flow of the building from room to room.  Typically you don’t want to go from a soft yellow room to a vibrant purple room or hallway.

  2. Color coordinate with existing materials – Consider the colors of the existing finishes or furniture in the room.  The paint doesn’t need to be the same color as the tile or carpet, but it needs to be in the same tone and family.  If you already have fabrics, consider a color found in the background.  Choose a paint color that will complement the colors that you will not be changing.

  3. Coordinate all color samples – Make a small box or bag of all the color samples, and take them with you every time you leave the house.  You never know when you’ll see something that may make be perfect color or that you want to compare to something you’ve already chosen.

  4. Use trims and accents – Typically the trims are painted a shade of white or off white.  If you’re feeling brave, try switching it up and making the walls light with dark trim.

  5. Consider the paint finish or sheen – Flat or matte finishes hide more of the blemishes or imperfections in the wall, but glossy finishes reflect more light and are easier to clean.

  6. Review color physiology – Study the color charts and learn how each color tone makes you feel.  For example, red is the most intense color and stimulates a faster heartbeat and breathing, while blue causes the body to become calm and relaxed.  Paint the room an appropriate color, for example, red in a bedroom may keep you awake and blue in a study may cause drowsiness.

  7. Don’t forget the ceiling – Light colors are usually more pleasing on the ceiling since the color is darkened by shadows.

  8. View all samples in the correct light – Bring the paint sample to the room to be painted and view them in the light during different times of the day.  Morning sunlight makes colors very different from the bright noonday sun or the lights in the room at night.

  9. Test a spot – Once you feel you have chosen the right color, buy a pint and paint a small area on the walls and trims.  This doesn’t have to be a perfect, taped off square, but it needs to be an area large enough to be able to really see and feel what the true color will be.  Take several days or weeks to really let the color sink in before you decide whether you’ve found the perfect color.

  10. Let it dry – Wet paint looks different from dry paint.  Don’t get concerned when you first begin painting that the color is way off.  Let it dry for several hours before casting judgement.

  11. Remember it’s not a lifelong decision – While nobody wants to do a job twice, remember that if you do pick the wrong color and can’t live with it, you can always paint over it all again.  Don’t stress out too much over finding the perfect color.  Chances are, there are many different color options that you will love when the room is finished.

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