Choosing the Right Paint Colors

One of the critical variables in effective staging and decorating is the use of colour. Colours evoke feelings. Calm, excitement, fun, formality, serenity, and silliness are examples of great feelings which colours can encourage. Poor choices of colours may result in bad feelings such as anxiety and despondency.

Choosing paint colours for many seems to be high on the list of things that cause stress. Why? Probably because there are so many colours available to choose from and because paint is so affected by light conditions and other colours in a room. Looking at a tiny paint chip does not translate well to a full wall. Sure, paint is relatively inexpensive if you have to do-over, but no one likes to waste time and money on the wrong colours. So here are a few tips to get you on the right path. Of course, calling me is always an option too!

Choose your paint colours last

There are so many paint colours available that I will pretty much guarantee the right shade of paint can be chosen once everything else is in place.

Even if you have a notion of your desired colour scheme ahead of time, choose the other variables first. The best order of selection is to choose the more permanent, expensive components first, such as flooring, cabinets and counter tops. Then start on the décor items, such as fabrics, linens and artwork. Finish up with your paint colours. In a bedroom redesign, you may have a choice of just a few bedding materials that you like so choose these first, then pick the perfect shade for the walls.

Mix warm colours with warm and cool colours with cool

This strategy will help to ensure a good blend of colours, especially if you are unsure or not overly experienced with putting colours together. You can also study a colour wheel which defines what colours are opposite and adjacent for various effects. Some paint stores label their colours warm or cool. Most offer flyers with groupings of colours that work well together.

Be prepared for your colour to look different on different walls and different times of day

Light, reflection, and combination with other colours will always affect what your colour looks like. Make sure you consider the colour during daylight hours and after dusk; on a bright sunny day and on a dull overcast day. If you plan to paint an accent wall in a darker shade of the main colour, you’ll want to move at least three shades up or down in order to get a strong effect. Otherwise, it will just look like the effect of different lighting from one wall to the next.

Are some paint colours better than others?

Maybe, depending on your situation. Bold, bright colours can be energizing and inspiring but you can grow tired of these much more quickly than neutrals. Strong and dark colours can accentuate a great feature but can also make a space seem smaller or a wall to come closer. If the space needs cozying or you are compensating for a long, narrow room then a dark accent wall may be ideal.

Neutral walls can be the best backdrop to lively, bold contents in a room, and vice versa. Neutral colours are often better for selling so that potential buyers can see their own things in the space easily, although some neutrals can render a space uninteresting. Mid-range colours may be better for standing up to the wear and tear of an active family. Light colours show more fingerprints and rubs while dark colours show more dings.

Test before you paint

Pick colours that blend and help balance out your space. Be aware that the more colours you use, the more apt you are to make your space feel busy and disjointed. I like to keep it to three colours or less in a room or open plan main floor, and usually with one dominant colour. You can have variety even with just one or two colours by altering the textures. A secondary colour feels like it belongs as long as you use it three or more times.

Outside, the same principles apply. Your roof colour, siding colour, brick colour, and trim colour, will set the boundaries for your front door colour.

I like to place all the colours in a home on a white sheet to check that the colours relate well to each other, even if they are for different floors. This will ensure a nice flow throughout the home.

Once you think you have your colours picked, you can buy a small quantity of each colour and paint two coats onto a piece of wood or drywall. Allow to dry thoroughly and you will have an accurate, larger sample to move around and try out. Hold your sample on each wall, especially near the major surfaces that it will touch and any fabrics it needs to enhance, checking at various times of day and night. Make sure the undertones of the paint colours and other materials don’t clash.

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