Picking a Paint Color 101

Picking the right paint color for a room isn’t as simple as you think it should be.  I’ve learned that a great paint color can enhance and transform your room into your happy place.  On the other hand, a bad paint color can just offend and almost repulse you the moment you enter the room.  Here are my tips on picking out the perfect paint color.

1.  Think about the feeling you’d like to have in your room.  Cool and calm, bright and energetic, soft and cozy, romantic, etc.  To assist you with this, check out decor magazines and collect photos of what you are drawn to.

2.  Decide if you need to work with existing furnishings or are you willing to change them out.  If you do need to work with a sofa or rug, best to use a color that will compliment these furnishings.

Now you are ready to pick up several paint swatches from the hardware store.  Bring them home and see how they feel in your room.  If you have other rooms butting up to the room, made sure the colors you like would enhance the other rooms as well.  I know it’s hard, but don’t give up now.  If these colors aren’t great, try again till you find a few that you think will work.

3.  Get the colors that you like (a few) made up into paint samples that you can try on your walls.  Pick up the cheap spongy brushes per can of paint.

4.  Take one color and carefully apply it on the wall in a few places.  One near natural sunlight, any build-ins or existing furnishings, near any other room colors and your flooring.  You may need to apply a couple of layers of paint to get the full color effect.  Take your second color and apply it next to or above your first color.  Keep doing this until you have all your colors applied.

5.  After your paint completely dries look at the colors around the room to see if one stands out for you.  Now you may find that you are drawn to one color but know it needs to be brighter or darker, etc.  Don’t settle, go back to the store with that paint swatch and see other colors that are close.  *Tip- some hardware stores, mostly the small independently owned stores will have color fans that they’ll loan you to take home.

6.  If you’ve found your color, or think you have make sure to check it out on your wall during different times of the day as the color will change as the light changes.  Also, see how it looks at night with your own lighting.

7.  Once you’ve spent a couple days trying out the paints and looking at how they feel in your room, you may have found the perfect wall color.  If so, make sure you buy your paint in the right finish.  Remember the finish will also change the look of the paint, especially Glossy.  I recommend going with an Eggshell finish.  Here is more information on paint finishes.

I know this seems like a lot to do to find your paint color, but this process really helps to not impulsively buy the wrong paint color.  I’ve done it before and if I can give you one tip…if you start painting and you say to yourself, “oohhh not feeling it…STOP painting”!  This will save you time.  If you follow my process, it will cost you some money upfront to buy samples, but it’s much cheaper than buying that gallon of paint that you’re gambling with…take your time and find the right color as you are the one who is going to be living with it for awhile.  Remember painting a room is the cheapest and easiest way to enhance any room, just make sure you’re enhancing it the right way.

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