Let me know if this sounds like your last paint project. You started with a rough idea and a handful of paint swatches from your home improvement store. You narrowed them down to five colors (three of which your spouse said looked exactly the same). After a couple of days of stewing and asking anyone who entered your home for an opinion, you end up picking the color based on the fact that “Imperial Realm” sounded much more stately than “Original Gray.” And then you slapped a sample up on the wall, only to decide it was much too dark.
As someone who makes her living helping homeowners choose color palettes for their homes, I promise there is a better way. Here are five tips I use in my color consultant practice to help remove the stress in finding the perfect paint color for your home.
#1. There is more than one perfect paint color for your home. Best get this one out of the way quickly. Your color decision is a lot easier to make when you realize there are many perfect choices. Question – which color works with your furniture, your personality, and the light within your home? There will be several shades or hues that will work beautifully, so when you find yourself stewing over two samples, cut yourself a little slack and remind yourself that both will probably look great in different ways.
#2. Look at what you have. I always ask my clients to show me some of their favorite pieces. It gives me a clue about their style, their intrinsic color leanings, and thought process. Before you head out to pick up samples, study the pieces that will share the space. Are there colors you’d like to pick up? Is there a contrasting hue worth exploring?
#3. Toss the paper and grab a brush. Paint swatches are a great way to explore color, but once you have your choices narrowed down to one or two, it’s time to order a sample jar and add a few broad strokes (roughly a 2-foot square should do it) directly to the walls that are going to be painted. For a handful of dollars, you’ll be able to tell whether or not a color works in the space. If you hate it, you’re not out several gallons of paint.
#4. Take your time. Once your samples are up, live with them a few days, especially if you are painting the exterior of your house. Lighting is a huge factor in determining ideal colors, and the best ones will look great at different times of day, both in natural and artificial light. You’ll begin to find that one color will start to look better than the others.
#5. Have fun with it. I always say, if you aren’t having fun with paint samples, you’re doing it wrong (but, then, I love my job). It’s often why my clients hire me in the first place; I can take the intimidating color wheel and break down the process into a beautifully simple solution. In the span of an afternoon, they’ll receive a color palette that was made just for them, and they didn’t have to waste paint or make countless trips to the paint store to get it.
Picking the right paint colors for your home can be a source of stress, procrastination, or anxiety. The above tips should get you started, but if you need help finishing the process, it’s okay to ask for help. Your new favorite wall color is just a phone call and a paint sample away.