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How to Choose the Best Paint Color

It can be hard to know which paint colors to choose for your space, all the swatches in the hardware store can feel overwhelming and make you want to default to your usual gray. It’s time to add some color to your home, keep reading to find out how to pick your paint color.

If you already have your furniture, start

with an existing object in your space and choose three sample strips with those colors, otherwise you can start with your favorite colors and choose three. Look at the darkest colors at the bottom of the strip first, if you can live with the one at the bottom, you know you’ll like the ones in the middle and the top, but if you look at the top colors, they may all start to look the same. Next choose which of the three strips in your hand will be for the walls and which will be thrown around the room as accents in fabric or furnishing. To choose the colors from adjacent rooms, take one of the other colors from your three strips and choose one of those.

When looking at color, keep in mind emotional responses to colors, red is energy and passion, yellow is happy optimism, blue is calming serene and friendly, green is rest balance and growth, purple is wealth creativity and sophistication, orange is enthusiasm, healthy, fun, and pink is delicate romantic and calm.

Large rooms can generally handle more color than smaller spaces and lighter hues tend to open up small spaces while darker hues make objects appear closer than they are. Take the ceiling for example, painting the ceiling white gives the illusion of height and opens up the space whereas painting the ceiling a darker color brings the ceiling down, making the space feel more intimate. If you want to spice things up on your ceiling. You can still open up your space and make your ceiling feel taller if you paint the ceiling a lighter shade of the wall color. Go back to your trusty paint swatch and go two shades lighter.

One way to add character to your space is with an accent wall. An accent wall in a relatively neutral space creates a dramatic and contemporary statement. Ken Charbonneau, a New York color marketing consultant, suggests painting the walls in your room a soft color and paint the accent wall three shades darker to give the room some punch without being too dramatic. Remember, according to The Spruce, 60% of the color in a room comes from the walls so make sure you make a statement.

Another thing to consider when deciding on a paint color is the lighting in the space. Different light temperatures bring out the hues and undertones in a color that you may not see in the store. For example, use warmer whites in a room without a lot of natural light to make the space feel cozier. However, one thing to keep in mind according to Kathleen Jewell, a color consultant in California, is, “warm shades lose their yellow tones on a surface where no sun ever falls, turning bluer and grayer,” which may not be the look you are going for. A great tip to consider is to test the paint color on a wall in the room and observe it during different times of the day to ensure it looks the way you envisioned.

Now that you have your color chosen, you need to consider the finish you will be using. Typically, satin or eggshell finish is used for interior walls due to is durability, stain resistance, and ability to hide imperfections, and semi-gloss or high gloss finishes were best to highlight details of the trim. However, modern flat paints have had an increase in stain resistance as well, so if you like the idea of flat wall in your space it is a viable option.

Paint finishes can also be used to create stunning accents in your home by bouncing the light in opposing ways. For example, painting one wall flat and the one beside it in a semi-gloss of the same color it creates a velvet effect. You can also paint the walls a flat color and the ceiling in semi-gloss to create a contrast and make the ceiling feel taller.

Ready to head to the store? Here are some take home tips:

  1. Choose the best finish for your lifestyle

  2. Paint experts recommend taking a few days to decide between paint colors

  3. Keep in mind the emotional responses to colors

  4. Sample multiple colors and view them at multiple times of the day, including under artificial light, and during different weather conditions

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