We know picking the perfect paint color is hard and we have all made mistakes which end up being very expensive and frustrating. These tips should help make the process a little easier.
1. Do Not Pick Your Color At The Paint Store
It is so tempting to go to the paint store, look at the hundreds of beautiful paint chips, pick your favorite one on the wall and buy your paint right there. We tell ourselves we KNOW our home and what we want. More often than not, we realize once we put the paint on the wall at home, it is not what we were hoping to achieve.
It is much easier to pick the right paint color based on your existing furnishings than the other way around. So resist the urge to buy your paint on the spot!
2. Get Inspired
Do you have a piece of art, fabric, accessories in your home that you love? You can always get inspiration online on Pinterest or Houzz but often you already own something you love that can give you color cues whether it'd be for accent colors or more neutral colors for walls. Art often has both neutrals and accent colors you could draw from.
3. Neutrals for Walls are Best
What do you want to draw attention to in your room? If it's the walls (or the pantry in the picture above), then painting them a bold (saturated) color is certainly not wrong. However, then your furnishings and everything else in the room should be very neutral to avoid it feeling disconnected and overwhelming.
If the walls are not the most important feature in your room, then painting the walls a neutral will be best to create a great backdrop for art, furnishings and accessories which can then have more color. Also, if you get tired of a bold color in your accessories in the future, you can easily swap them out, even seasonally if you like. You can easily change the feeling in your room without the need to repaint every time.
4. Understand Undertones
This is usually the hardest one to get right. Whites and neutrals all have undertones and it's important that you can spot them because neutrals with certain undertones will not work well with others or accent colors that you may want.
When colors are really light (think whites, light grays and beiges) it is often hard to tell if the white is a warm white (so leaning yellow or orange) or a cool white (blue undertones). The same is true for grays and beiges. When looking at a color paint chip look at the darkest shade of the color as it's usually easiest to spot its undertone there.
Once you know the undertone you'll need to know how to pair them. E.g. if your furnishings are browns, beiges, warm wood colors, then putting a gray with blue undertones on the walls (e.g. BM Gray Owl) will not work well together. You would want to choose a warmer gray with more beige in them (also called "greige").
5. Test Paint Colors
Some paint companies (e.g Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore) sell large paint samples (8x11 on paper) which you can easily hang on different walls (to check in different light!) as well as up against fabrics and furnishings or even to take along to go shopping for accessories to make sure you get the undertones right.
If you cannot get large color samples on paper, then invest in small paint samples. Every paint company nowadays can mix any of their colors in a sample for you to take home and paint on your walls. In order to still test the paint with your fabrics and sofa, paint a poster board or cardboard and hold that up against them.