How To Pick the Right Paint Color

by Tara Woodbury on January 13, 2017

 Painting Interior Rooms

It’s a myth that winter is a bad time to paint your interiors. As long as your room has some ventilation, you will be able to paint. You can also choose a water based latex paint with low VOCs (volatile organic compounds) to reduce the lingering paint smell. So, if you’re thinking about changing it up a bit with a new paint color, we’ve got some tips on choosing the right one.

Not only should you consider the color you paint your walls, ceilings and trim but make sure you are using the right type paint for the job. You’ll want to stick with latex paint for your walls and ceilings and can use oil based paints for your trim and molding if they are made from real wood. Then you’ll need to pick from high gloss, semi or flat sheen. High gloss paints are great for rooms with heavy traffic or where kids will be hanging out, because you can easily wipe them with a damp sponge. However, rooms painted with a high gloss finish, tend to show off imperfections more easily as well so keep that in mind. If you choose a semi-gloss finish, you can still clean the walls pretty easily but you’ll lose some of the shine.  Choose flat or matte paints to camouflage any problem areas in the wall but be aware, they will not be as easy to clean. So, in a high traffic area with lots of imperfection in the wall, you can choose an eggshell sheen which does the same job as a flat paint but is also a little easier to clean.

Now it’s time for the fun part, picking colors! Unless you are selling your home, your choice can be a very personal one. If you are putting your house on the market soon, you’ll want to think about painting or re-painting the walls white or very light neutrals to allow the buyers to imagine their own personality in the home. But if you just want to add some life to a room or your bedroom walls are looking a little dingy, the sky is the limit!

If you read our newsletter this week, you saw Pantone came out with its 2017 Color of the Year, Greenery. Following trends, and checking out what the “hot” colors are this season is one way to pick your paint colors. However, what is trendy right now, might not be in line with your personality and the look and feel of your home. If you’re looking to create a calm and peaceful room, choose soft, cool and neutral hues. But if you want to achieve a room where everyone will feel welcomed and sociable? Try a palette of warm, contrasting, bright colors to achieve that atmosphere.Stripe border in kitchen

Not sure what kind of mood you want to create? Another source of inspiration can be the accents and artwork you’ve already chosen for your home. The colors that show up in many of them are obviously colors you are fond of, so why not paint a room in that color? Don’t want to go too bold in painting an entire room? Create an accent wall with a new color using one of our self-adhesive pattern stencils or stripe wall decals!

You can use the other rooms in your house to help you choose wisely as well. Make sure as you pass from room to room the colors will flow together nicely and make sense. If you think of your home (especially with an open floor plan) as a giant piece of art, you’ll be able to stand in one room, look into another and imagine how the color change might look in relation to the room you are in.

Lastly, rely on the color wheel! Choose colors that are opposite each other, like red and green, and they will play off each other in a bold way.  But sticking within one shade of color (like all blues) will create a subtler look. If you take a color wheel and draw a line from the yellow-green mark down to the red-violet mark, all the colors on the left are warm and on the right, are your cool colors. Choosing colors from the cool side, will help rooms appear larger and airy. Warm colors will help a room appear more vibrant. However, you can easily mix it up by painting the walls in a paint color from one color family and adding complements from the other side of the wheel.

Color Wheel

Once you start to get an idea of the colors you would like to use, try them out! Beyond the paint cards at your local paint store, get a small sample of the color (most stores offer these now) and either paint a spot on the wall with the best lighting in the room or paint a piece of foam board and hang that up to give you a feel for the color. Try holding it next to the furniture in the room as well before you commit. Two colors pulling at your heartstrings? Try them both out for a few days and see which one you really like best. Then you can pick a trim color as well.

Now it’s time to prep and paint! We hope these tips will help you when you choose a new paint color for your home. You can also check out our blog article on Painting 101 – How to Get Professional Results by Yourself. Remember, use your imagination when coming up with a new color scheme for your painted walls unless you’re putting your home on the market. And most importantly, have fun!