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How To Avoid Paint Panic, 10 Tips for Choosing The Right Paint Color

By December 4, 2015 No Comments

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How to Avoid Paint-Panic, 10 Tips For Choosing The Right Paint Color


Ever felt like this when choosing a paint color?? The above photo is of a client of mine who felt overwhelmed, stressed, and simply at a stand still. Why does the pressure of choosing the right paint color feel so daunting?! Well, you are not alone! Below are my 10 tips for helping you move from stuck to stunning!

Depending on what room in your home you’re painting, you want to decide on what mood you’re going for. In a bedroom, for example, do you want the feeling to be restful and soothing or dramatic and or intimate? Soft, cool colors and neutrals usually create a more calm relaxing environment. You should also consider the existing furniture and decor in your room. Flooring, rugs, artwork and upholstery will suggest a color direction. Cozy, plush fabrics could suggest more tranquil tones. Try to pull together these elements in your color choice.

  1. Be patient.

Painting a room is a process. You should expect to experiment, evaluate, and adjust as you go along. Keep in mind that one of the worst things you can do is rush the decision. It’s great to collect paint chips when planning a room, but hold off making final choices until you’ve developed an overall room scheme. And don’t forget to celebrate your successes, and learn from your mistakes!

  1. Do your research.

You know those color strips that tend to make you seize up with indecision? Those can actually be your greatest tools in learning about the undertones of the different shades of colors. Look at all the colors carefully and notice how you can see the dominant, underlying color as the shade gets darker. This will really help you steer clear of colors with undertones of blue, green, purple, etc., if that’s not what you are going for. It’s a lot harder to see the undertones when the color is standing alone.

  1. Don’t exclusively examine a paint sample against a white wall.

It’s great to start off with a blank canvas, so to speak, but looking at your choices on a white wall can play tricks on your eyes. Color is affected by what surrounds it, and putting a sample on a white wall will cause it to appear darker than it really is. This results in many people making a choice that is too light. Instead, put the paint sample against a sofa, wood furniture or flooring for a better perspective.

  1. Be brave!

Once you have made the commitment to paint a wall, don’t be afraid to put some skin in the game! Get on in there and roll some paint directly on the wall rather than just taping that color card up. It will give you a truer depiction of what the color will actually look like in your room.

  1. Avoid being matchy-matchy.

I see this a lot! It’s easy to assume that everything needs to match, but then you end up with a blah and boring room you are ready to repaint in 5 minutes. Sound familiar? In reality you should look for are colors that will compliment each other, not mirror each other. If you have a taupe brick fireplace, don’t paint your walls taupe to “match”. Instead, paint them a complimenting color that will accent the fireplace beautifully. If you want to play it safe, find a paint swatch that matches your brick, then find the color in the same pallet but 50-75% lighter.FullSizeRender

  1. Take your time.

But not too much time! That will only drive you crazy. For real.

  1. Look at the big picture.

You should definitely take into account how color flows in your home from room to room. If you have a modern house with an open floor plan, it’s important to use one wall color throughout the main floor. You can then add accent colors in a few carefully considered areas. Of course, there are always exceptions if you are ready to think outside of the box.

  1. Consider the light.

Different lighting will affect the way your final color will look. Natural daylight shows the truest color, incandescent lighting brings out warm tones and yellows, and fluorescent lighting casts a sometimes harsh, blue tone. Because of this, a bold color might be too bright and overpowering when used on all walls, but it might be effective when used as an accent wall with indirect light.

  1. Look at the paint at different times of day.

Ok, so this is important! A color will change depending on what light and shadows are cast upon it. Once you paint a section of the wall, let it dry (COMPLETELY dry) and then look at it in the morning, afternoon, and evening. You might adore the color in the morning and be repulsed by it at night. Find the color that makes you feel at home no matter the time of day!

So there you have it! If you’re not sure where to begin with color, start small. Experiment in a powder room or bathroom, a small hall or area between rooms, or an accent wall. If you’re doing your own painting, pick a space with a small surface area that’ll be quick to do. That way you can see your results sooner and decide if you love it or need to make changes.

One last note: make paint color the last thing you choose. There are thousands of colors to choose from but maybe only one rug or pair of lamps that you can’t live without. It would be tragic to paint your home only to discover that the new furnishings you’ve fallen involve with clash with the color you’ve chosen.

Let the process be fun! Please don’t stress, life is too short…

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