From Hazy Skies and Truffle, to Pomegranate and Wisteria, choosing paint colors can intimidate even the most experienced DIY-er. With so many colors, finishes, and brands of paint on the market, it is easy to understand why people live with builder’s beige as long as they do. In fact, when it’s time to repaint, many people play it safe with an off-white that really doesn’t complement the rest of their decor or evoke the feeling they want the room to have. Yet choosing paint colors doesn’t have to be as daunting if you spend some time considering a few factors.
Start with inspiration. When developing a colour scheme for a room, one of the last decisions I make is the wall color. Start with a fabric you love or a piece or artwork. Think about colors you are naturally drawn to by looking in your wardrobe or jewelry box. Take a look through magazines or visit stores and make note of what you are drawn to and the colours they represent. By identifying the colors that you’re naturally attracted to, whether bright or subdued, you’ll start to form a vision of a hue that is perfectly suited for your personality.
Think about how you want the room to feel. While color preferences are very individual, scientists have proven that certain colors have consistent emotional and physical effects. For instance, oranges and reds stimulate the appetite, making it a great choice for dining rooms. Purple is known to spark creativity and change, whereas brown connects us to the earth and makes us feel safe. Blue brings a feeling of peace and tranquility and green tends to connect us to nature and makes us feel secure. Finally, yellow is associated with sunshine, a stimulating color that can be too much in large doses, making it a poor choice for nurseries.
Consider lighting. Both natural and artificial light play a huge role in how a paint color will look in a room. For instance, rooms with a southern exposure will be washed in warm golden light and northern exposures tend to be cooler blue light. The same rules apply to types of light bulbs, whether incandescent or fluorescent. Check paint swatches by moving them around the room at several times of the day to see if they still appeal to you. For instance, dining rooms are usually used in the evening, so it is important to like the color in dim light.
In addition, if you find the room often feels too warm, paint it a cool color, such as blue or green. However, if it’s a room in the house that feels chilly, select a warm color, such as brown or red.
Work with fixed elements. Unless you’re starting from scratch, there are often furniture pieces, flooring finishes or other elements you need to work with. Small rooms tend to work best with the least amount of contrast to make them appear larger. For instance, if you have a medium gray sofa, choose a wall color in a medium intensity to cut the contrast to a minimum. Contrast also draws attention, so it’s important to keep your walls in a similar shade to the floor if it isn’t something you like, but can’t change for a while.
Balance practicality and style. Although you may be drawn to the crisp and fresh look of white walls, forgo painting high traffic areas in your home this color if you have small children or teenagers. A high maintenance white would be better suited for your master bathroom. In addition, just because pink may be the hot trend of the season, don’t go wild painting your entire main floor. Trendy colors are great for powder rooms or small areas that can be changed quickly and easily.
Although there are guidelines to help you make paint colour selections for your home, it really comes down to discovering what you’re comfortable with, what’s appropriate for you, and what makes you feel good. It’s about stepping out of your fear and creating a home that is a true reflection of you and your family. It’s about a space that tells your story.
Looking for some tried and true paint colors? Check out the Paint Project Gallery.