How To Choose Wall Colours

A paint fan travels with me everywhere I go. It’s one of my most valued tools, and gets used pretty much every day.

A new paint colour brings calm to this bedroom.

Paint colour selection is critical for successful decorating and staging. It’s also a very cost-effective way to create a big, positive change. I often get asked how I knew that a colour would work so well. Here’s my process for choosing paint colour.

#1. Is this decorating or staging?
In other words, is the colour to please the homeowners, or to showcase the home and appeal to buyers? The answer to this will affect the answers to all the following questions.

#2. Identify the goal and what will be painted.
Is there a desired feeling for the space to evoke? Does the space need a refresh, lightening, darkening, a calming or a zest, modernizing, or simply to match its surroundings better? Is there a favourite colour, or a colour that is despised? Is this a one-room job, or more extensive? Are there features other than the walls and trim which can be painted?

Painting an older fireplace in current colours can rejuvenate with minimal expense.

#3. Determine if there are other elements which are changing.
Will there be different furniture placed in this space, or a change in materials, such as flooring or countertop? If so, paint colours are chosen with them in mind, and ideally on hand. Typically there is a limited choice of materials and yet oodles of paint colours to choose from, so it makes sense to choose materials first and paint colours last when possible.

#4. Decide if there will be one or more paint colours used.
Some people prefer their rooms to be of different colours. Others enjoy the continuity of one colour throughout. Accent walls can be used to add interest where needed. Continuity is usually best if the home is going to be sold.

#5. Now the parameters have been determined, and it’s time to choose colours.
By now I generally have a colour scheme in my head and maybe specific colours, and I set about pulling colour chips and checking them in all the relevant spaces. I’m looking for a great complement, blend, and/or match of the surroundings while achieving the goals already identified. This part isn’t easily described, and I think it’s something not everyone can do. The combination of experience with knowledge of the paint and the properties of colours can be learned, however having a good eye for colours, undertones and blending of shades seems to be something we have or don’t have. I am grateful to have it, and always enjoy choosing the colours which will transform the space and bring a smile to the homeowner’s (or buyer’s) face.

Colour chips


Tip: If you have an eye for colour, consider buying a paint fan of your own. Here’s another valuable way to use a paint fan. Use it to colour match your sofa, or floor, or fabric so that you can shop for accessorizing pieces with confidence, carrying the colour chips with you for reference. Knowing that you have a blue rug is not all that helpful when you get in the stores, under fluorescent lighting, and view a zillion shades of blue. Having a colour chip can save you a lot of back and forth to the stores.



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