One of the design issues I am asked about most frequently is paint colors. Let’s face it; we’ve all seen some pretty bad paint jobs. You know, where people just paint right over the electrical wall plates instead of removing them, or wall paint all over the trim because no one took the time to apply painters tape.
But what’s worse (IMO) is a wrong color choice. Everyone has seen (or made?) at least one of these mistakes choosing paint colors. My advice, or course, is for you to hire a designer (like me, for instance) to help you select the RIGHT paint color for your space. It is a small investment that will save you from second-guessing yourself and will give you peace of mind…Because everyone has made a color blunder at some point. Which one are you guilty of?
1. Choosing the paint color FIRST. You might have a general idea which paint color you’d like before you start redecorating, but it is always best to select a specific paint color LAST. You want to have all of your furnishings including rugs, furniture, artwork, window coverings and accessories selected BEFORE you decide on a paint color. It is WAY easier to match a paint color to a pillow or upholstery fabric than the other way around! So, plan your room FIRST and then select the paint color to support all of the other things going on in the space.
2. Choosing a color that is way too bright or intense. Not all those colors on that paint chip book are intended for your walls! Bright colors look great in smaller doses like accessories, lamps or art, but not as the background of your living room. Here is where the difference between a Tint, a Tone and a Shade comes in. A Tint is a color + White, a Tone is a color + Grey, and a Shade is a color + Black. Paint colors that work best in most interiors are either TONES or SHADES, in my opinion. They have a muted, muddier, less intense appearance, and will have more longevity in your space, meaning that it will take longer for you to grow tired of it!
So what do you do if you’ve already made this mistake?
If you like the color, take that can of paint back to the paint store, and ask them to add some grey or black to “tone down” the color intensity (pun intended). And repaint. A friend did this after she painted a wall in her master bedroom bright orange, and was thrilled with the results.
If you DO want to try a bright color on your walls, it is better to do it in a smaller room. Then select neutral (white, grey, tan, black) furnishings so your wall color really stands out.
3. Making a decision based on a tiny chip. Paint chips are teeny tiny and you often are looking at them in your local paint or home improvement store which is lit
with fluorescent or high bay light fixtures. NEVER choose a paint color in the store. Solution? Buy a few sample pots and paint a section of one wall in the room and evaluate them as light changes throughout the day. If you don’t want to “test” a color on your wall, then paint pieces of poster board or foam core and lean them up against the wall. Then see how morning or afternoon sun affects the colors, and see how they look under artificial light in the evening. This is really important when you consider you’re going to live with this color for several years.
4. Not considering your home as a whole entity.
The rooms in your home should flow together so your house feels like one, cohesive unit. That’s why it is important to use colors throughout your home that relate to one another. Bright green in one room and bright
blue in another doesn’t flow well. It is better to paint with neutrals with subtle changes from room to room. Then add pops of color with furnishings or accessories. With today’s open floor plans, it can be tricky stopping and starting colors from room to room. So it’s best to consult with a professional before making a final decision.
5. Living with a color you don’t love. If you’re disappointed with your color choice(s), it’s not the end of the world. Yes, it’s a pain to have to repaint a room once it’s already done. But paint is one of the easiest and least expensive design mistakes to correct. WAY cheaper than changing out tile that was hastily chosen for your bathroom. So choose the right color and get going. Don’t live with it. It’s your HOME. Make it YOURS.
When you’re ready to change your color scheme and you aren’t confident about your ability to make the right choice, just call me. I LOVE choosing paint colors, and I’m pretty good at it. 🙂