In this post, I’ll go over the best tips and tricks for choosing paint colors in your home and the most common mistakes people make. Choosing paint color doesn’t have to be overwhelming or overly complicated. Here’s how you can make it a little easier!
Finding the perfect paint colors can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. With just a few tips and tricks, you’ll be able to find the right color for any room of your home in no time!
When picking out paint colors for your house, there are many things that need to be considered. You want to think about what function this room serves (does it serve as an office space? Is this where we do homework?), what light sources will hit the walls in this particular room (will it get direct sunlight or is it more shaded?) and even what colors already exist here (does the rug match the wall?).
Sometimes these decisions may seem easy at first glance, but they can actually be quite difficult if you don’t take all of these factors into account. That being said, the tips below will help to make your search for the perfect paint colors much easier.
Choosing a Wall Color
Choosing a wall color can seem overwhelming. If you’ve tried to choose wall color before but you get stuck or you pick a color that you end up not likely, it can become frustrating very easily.
The first step to choosing a wall color is to think about what purpose this room serves. For example, is it a bedroom? If so, you may want to choose a color that makes the area feel more comfortable and relaxing. Is the space a home office? Maybe you want the colors to be more uplifting or professional to fuel productivity.
Next, think about how sunlight hits the room and whether or not there is any natural light present. Is the room naturally dark with little light? Is the main source of light from lightbulbs? Are the lightbulbs a warm light or a clear light and how do those tones affect the colors on the wall.
In addition, consider the other objects in the room including trim and doors. Do you have a favorite rug that matches the wall? Or are there pieces of art that need to be taken into consideration? These are all things that can help you choose the right color for this particular room.
Considering the undertones of a color.
One of the things I learned very quickly is that undertones can be tricky! This means when I choose a color that I think is grey, I might put it on my wall and it looks blue or purple.
The best way I’ve found to figure out what kind of undertone the paint color may have is to look at the darkest shade on the sample swatch. This will usually give you an idea of what colors may show up in those lighter tones.
Another way to figure out the undertone a color may have is to look at the light source coming from above. For example, if you have a light fixture or ceiling fan that has lights on it, look at what color those bulbs are. If your bulbs warmer, it may pull out more red undertones. If you have clear lights, you may find that the undertones are showing more blue.
Lastly, I like to compare the swatch to other things in the room such as trim. Sometimes when compared to the other colors in the space, you will notice that the undertones become more obvious.
For example, in the photo above from my daughters closet makeover, I thought both of those swatches were shades of pink. When compared with the purple of my daughters room, the top swatch appears as more of a “peach” tone.
Coordinate Trim with the Walls.
Keeping trim color consistent in adjoining rooms that have open entryways generally offers a sense of cohesiveness, providing an unbroken line that is pleasing to the eye.
For example, if you are choosing paint colors for your dining room and kitchen, keep those two colors the same or similar so they flow together nicely.
However, there are exceptions to this rule. Sometimes an open entryway can make a room feel larger, which is why it’s fun to try out different colors in areas like that to see how they affect the overall look of your space!
Using Paint to Create an Accent Wall
An accent wall is perfect for creating an eye catching focal point in a room where you want to bring attention to something. Perhaps you want to draw attention to a featured piece of furniture or even a gallery wall of art.
There are so many ways to create an accent wall using paint. You can paint one wall in the room a contrasting shade than the other walls in the room, you can use techniques like stenciling or using a sponge to create a pattern or, you can paint an accent wall using two colors that complement each other.
One way that I love to create accent walls is by utilizing paint and wall treatments. These include things like:
- Board and Batten
- Wood Paneling (like bead-board)
- Picture Frame Molding
- Brick accents
You can even do an accent wall that features part of the space being wall treatments and the other part of the space being paint or wallpaper. For example, the top third of the wall is a textured wallpaper or brick and then the bottom is painted board and batten.
This is what I did in my office space!
Deciding on the Right Finish
When it comes to deciding on a paint finish, you have a few options to choose from:
- Flat- This finish will give your paint a matte look.
- Satin- This is a soft, low sheen finish that doesn’t reflect light. It’s great for rooms with low lighting or where there aren’t windows because it won’t reflect light onto the walls.
- Eggshell- This is a smooth finish in between matte and satin. It’s also great if you want to enjoy the color of your walls, but still have your walls not show every imperfection.
- Semi-gloss- If you are using oil based paints then semigloss will give that shiny finish that is perfect for high traffic areas because it wipes down easily.
- Gloss- This finish is extremely shiny and causes a lot of light to reflect onto walls in a space which creates a very bright look. I wouldn’t recommend using gloss in bedrooms or when there aren’t great sources of natural light because it can be too bright!
Be aware that the different finishes of paint will make the color look different as well. You could potentially have the same color on your walls, trim, and ceiling but because the finish is different, it shows differently on each surface.
What I typically choose is flat for my ceiling, satin on my walls, and semi-gloss for my trim.
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Match The Color To The Feeling You Want In The Room.
The type of space you are creating is going to help determine the feel you want to create with paint color. For example, a bedroom should be relaxing and calming so you might opt for a more neutral or serene color.
A playroom or kid’s room could have bright colors that bring joy!
For children’s bedrooms, it’s good to implement a color scheme that flows and has cohesion throughout the room. I like to keep it light and happy without being too overly stimulating. As children get older, you can start adding their own personal style and touches to their space.
It’s all about your personal preference and what you want to feel when you walk into a space.
Remember, changing up the paint color of rooms can be easy and fun!
What Colors Make A Room Look Bigger?
If you have a small room and want to make it feel bigger, then you should consider picking colors that aren’t going to compete with the size of your space. You don’t want colors that are too dark or deep because they can visually pull the room down. It’s good to go with lighter neutral colors- not stark white, but softer and more muted tones.
If you do want to paint a small room a darker color, make sure that the color is contrasted with white or light colored trim, molding, and the other finishes in the room.
What Colors Make A Room Cozier?
If you’re wanting your space to feel warm and inviting, you can use color schemes like:
- Monochromatic- This is when there are just varying shades and tones of one color used throughout the space sometimes even including wall, ceiling, doors, and trim.
- Complementary- This is when there are two colors on opposite sides of the color wheel used in a space. An example would be, blue and orange or purple and yellow. This can be accomplished by paint colors or by a paint and decor combination. For example, a soft shade of blue on the walls with orange throw pillows and other accents.
- Triadic- This is when there are three colors, equally spaced on the color wheel used in a space. For example: red, yellow and blue. Typically these color schemes will give you a bright and cheery energy because they’re right next to each other on the color wheel!
For a cozy space, I typically recommend a softer shade of a darker color. Don’t be afraid to reach outside your comfort zone and try something new!
Know Your Whites
This is more about choosing paint colors that pair well together. When you’re picking a color for trim or doors, you want it to coordinate with your wall and ceiling colors. So if your walls are grey, then you’ll want some kind of white or off-white tone on the other finishes in the room like molding, doors, and trim.
Some choose to flip the script and paint the walls white with a color on the trim and doors such a taupe or beige color. Either way, knowing your whites and how to use them best in the space is key to getting the look you’re going for.
Remember, there are many different types of whites and a lot of them have undertones that will look different in each and every space. Some of my favorite whites are Eider White (SW), Alabaster (SW), Chantilly Lace (BM), and Pure White (SW).
Use the Rule of 60-30-10
If you want to use color to direct the eye in a room, this is a good way to do it!
The main rule of the 60-30-10 trick is that there should be more light colored trim than dark or bold colors. The idea behind this is that if there are too many dark colors, then the eye won’t know where to look. You want the eye to be drawn through the space and this is a good way to do it!
Using a light color for your ceiling is usually a safe bet as well as choosing either white or off-white colors for the walls. However, feel free to branch out from those two colors because you can also use a light neutral like beige or cream that has a little bit of gray in it.
That being said, more and more people are choosing to get adventurous with different techniques such as color blocking, painting ceilings and molding a darker shade than the walls, and monochromatic color schemes. A good way to get ideas for these different techniques is simply searching Pinterest and Instagram.
Paint Color Selection Mistakes To Avoid:
I don’t want you to be afraid to experiment and play around with all different kinds of color schemes and paint colors! However, there are a few common mistakes that people make when choosing their paint colors that I want to go over:
Mistake #1: Being Afraid To Get Outside Your Comfort Zone With Interior Paint Options
If you’re buying paint for the first time, or switching colors around in your space, don’t be afraid to go outside of what you already know. There are so many different options- each with their own unique feel and texture!
Mistake #2: Choosing Colors That Are Too Similar
When choosing paint colors for your walls and other trim or doors in the room, they should be variations of each other not exact colors. If you pick two too similar colors, it’s likely going to look off. Just the right amount of contrast is key with making a space look balanced!
Mistake #3: Not considering your light source
This is one of the most important factors to keeping in mind when choosing the perfect paint colors. Light plays a huge role in how well you can see certain colors, especially if the colors are bold or dark. If there isn’t adequate light then guess what happens? The space will feel dull, gloomy, and even sometimes depressing!
In addition, different lights will make different undertones appear. For example, a paint color in a room with a lot of natural light might be exactly what you’re looking for but using that same color in a room with poor lighting may make it look completely different!
Mistake #4: Rushing The Paint Selection Process
You might be tempted to just pick a paint color and move on, but that can lead to you being very unhappy with your paint choice! The paint selection process is critical and you really need to put some time and effort into it or you might find yourself wasting time and money!
- Take time to view the color in the room that you want to put it in – the lighting of that room is likely much different than the lighting in your other rooms
- View the color at various times of day. As the natural light changes outside, the paint color will change as well
- Compare the color to the trim, doors, furniture, and any other color in that particular room or space
Mistake #5: Forgetting About Primer
If you’re painting over a dark color, it may be necessary for you to apply a primer before applying the new paint. This will ensure that all of the existing paint is able to properly adhere to the wall or surface that you are planning to paint and that the undertones from the previous color don’t show through.
Another thing to keep in mind is that some surfaces always need at least two coats of paint and some paints require a specific type of primer.
If you’re painting over wood, then it may be necessary for you to apply a stain blocker or pre-stain conditioner that will seal the grain and prevent the wood from soaking up as much color as it would otherwise (or possibly “bleeding through” like if you stained the wood).
Choosing paint colors can actually be FUN!
The process of choosing the right paint colors for a space in your home can be more complicated than it sounds. Thankfully, there are many considerations to keep in mind when picking the perfect color-its function, the light sources in the room, and even what colors are already on hand. In this article we’ve given you some tips on how to avoid making common mistakes when selecting paint colors so that you’ll feel confident with your decision!
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