Many homeowners don’t know where to start when picking out a new paint color. Since you can literally choose any color under the sun, it’s best to narrow your options right out of the gate. Follow our professional design advice and you’ll be sure to find the perfect hue for every room in your home!
Step 1: Consider the room’s purpose
The function of a room is a great indicator of where you should turn your color wheel. Odds are, you’ll want a paint color that mimics the natural vibe of the space. A somewhat brighter hue might be a good fit for a home office or craft room because it adds energy, whereas a darker palette might be better for areas that don’t need a lot of light, like a den or TV room. Generally speaking though, you don’t want dark colors in bedrooms. Designers and sleep studies agree: Muted, soft, and calming tones help encourage a good night’s sleep.
Step 2: Take inventory
One of the most common mistakes people make in home design is that they select paint color first—before even taking stock of their room’s furnishings and other accents. Of course you’ll want a shade of paint that you like on its own, but it’s even more important to consider the end result. Try to find a color that complements the fabric of your couch, your coffee table, and you favorite artwork, as well as your rug. Paint color should almost always be the last step in the design process because it’s what ties the whole room together.
For a real designer’s touch, you’ll also need to pick paint that highlights your room’s best assets and permanent, architectural features. Big fireplaces and ceiling beams should also be considered in your inventory. Focal points always deserve to be shown off—especially when you’re looking for a paint colors that will help sell your home. When architectural features are a different color from the rest of the room, the eye will be naturally drawn to them.
Pretty crown molding details will stand out more when they’re painted bright white on contrasting walls, but you might try matching colors if you want a smaller space to look bigger. Monochromatic themes help the eye wander, so keep powder room walls and ceilings the same color to expand the space. (We love this trick!)
Step 3: Have a vision for the whole home
Before you commit to any particular color, you’ll want to know that it will fit in with the grander theme of your home. This is especially true for open concept floor plans. You may not want to go with another bold color in the kitchen if the living room’s paint color is already set. Just as you select appropriate colors based off of what’s in the room, verify that the joining walls and the flow of the home can all balance too.
It’s so much easier to figure out a color direction after you’ve taken inventory of your room’s contents. But if you’re still at a loss, check out this room color chart from Real Simple. Their suggestions can help you start thinking about your room’s overall theme and how it works with the rest of your home.
Step 4: Sample lots of different hues
As it turns out, this can be both the easiest and hardest step in selecting a paint color. It’s simple enough to put sample splotches on the wall, but the tricky part is comparing. Even if you think you’ve found “the one” color, be sure to grab a couple different samples that are both lighter and darker than your original pick. Use disposable foam brushes to put sample swatches every wall in the room, and don’t forget to label each paint color name. Once the paint is dry, you’ll be ready to start analyzing.
You’re not just weighing one color over another, you’re also watching how a color will inevitably change throughout the day. Every wall can have a different look based on its angle and natural sunlight will shift every hour, so you’re probably looking at dozens of variants for a single paint color. Watch carefully and practice patience when analyzing which one is the best. Experienced pros might know the right paint color as soon as they see it, but these decisions can take time for the untrained eye.
With some smart planning and these designer tips you’ll be sure to pick the perfect color. But if you still want to paint your living room bright pink after reading this, we urge you to get a second opinion. A new coat of paint can truly transform any space—hopefully for the better! At Home Matters, we’re color-scheme experts. Our professional designers love giving Indianapolis-area homeowners the advice they need to make their space look and function at its best. Whether you need help styling a single room or your entire home, please feel free to reach out. Until then, happy painting!
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