Monday, February 23, 2015

Selecting Paint Colors / Part 1

Selecting paints for your home.

 I assist my clients with this task regularly
so I thought I would share
what I have learned through the years with you. 

(NOTE:  These are my own personal opinions and findings
on this matter  --  you may or may not agree with me
and that's ok! Just wanted to share some basic guidelines
that I follow when selecting paint colors.)

I can totally appreciate why 
choosing the right paint color can be daunting. 
It's not easy! And if there are two or more of you 
trying to pick a color for a room -- 
that makes it even harder.

And it doesn't help that
there are literally THOUSANDS
of paint colors and so many brands out there 
that you can choose from which makes this task
 even more overwhelming.
 MORE is not always good. 

So I am writing this to give you
some pointers that may help you save
time, money, and definitely some aggravation
when trying to find the perfect shade for a room.

Since there is a lot of info to cover
on a subject like this
I'm going to break up the information in 3 parts
and will post each section every two days.

Part 1 -- Selecting a color

Part 2 -- Selecting the right finish
(hues, saturation, etc.)

Part 3 -- Helpful tips

So please come back every other day
to take a peek at each section!

Selecting a paint color 

 Define your home's palette.

First things first.
Before you can pick a paint,
you need to determine your home's color palette.

Why is this important?
When you walk into your home
you want it to have a welcoming feel  
where each room flows effortlessly
into the next -- 
with complimenting shades 
and colors from one room to the next.

Ultimately, you want your home
to look like you had a plan when you started
decorating and not like
each room was thrown together without a plan.
(Emphasis on the word "ultimately!") 

How do you achieve this?

Just take a look at your furniture, 
rugs or carpeting, your artwork and accessories --
would you say you have:

 neutral tones?
a fall or spring palette?
a pastel or jewel tone palette?
maybe a primary color palette?
Define your home's color palette

Defining this is very important.
You want your rooms to be cohesive 
 with complementary color shades and tones.

And when I mention room flow --- 
I am referring to the public access rooms 
where guests frequent 
to include your entry hall, your kitchen, living room, 
powder room, dining room, and other "common" areas. 

(Bedrooms need not be considered in this
main color palette zone-- they are private rooms
so you can handle them individually if you like.)

Ideally, all of your rooms should share similar colors 
and tones but the formality might change.
You are using the same colors, but their application
goes from formal to casual depending on the room.

Here are some images to illustrate the point. 
Thank you and Pinterest
for this awesome photos.

Wadia Associates - Architect - New Canaan - Neoclassical - Foyer - Living Room - Blue - White - Fresh - Crisp - Printed Rug - Upholstered Chair - Sofa - Chandelier - Painted Walls - Coffee Table - Glass Side Table
Here is a great photo reflecting how rooms should flow together.

Here's another nice visual on rooms flowing into each other using same/similar colors.

Here is a nice neutral color palette from

A neutral room

Jewel tones fill this room
mineral sparkle
Deep vibrant jewel tone shades 

Bright.Bazaar's pastel office. Pre-order the BOOK now!
This area is layered with pastels. 

pastel spectrum
If your palette looks like this -- you are drawn to pastels.

I love bright accessories, especially red ones. And when they are contrasted against a bright white room, they can look fantastic.
Primary colors compliment this room.

edible hues
Fall shades for your home

Autumn Decorating Ideas | Buyer Select
A fall color palette is the basis of this decor

nature brights
Cheerful spring color shades

Pretty Space with Fantastic Colors, a desk like this is easy to find, and you could just paint it pink! good office for a beach vacation home!
These rooms flow with bright spring colors

Another neutral room example.
rustic tones
Neutral loveliness

So once you determine 
the main color scheme or palette 
for your home you can begin 
your color selections from there. 

If you can --- 
pick your room color
AFTER you have selected the fabrics, rug,
 and other pieces that you want to put in the room.
 You don't want to back yourself into a corner
by picking a paint color first
and then having to finding the right things to match.

I prefer to start with the entry 
and connecting hallway(s).
A nice neutral lighter color (like a shade of a white, 
cream or gray) works well since halls tend 
to have fewer (or no) windows so you want 
to keep this area bright and well lit
especially in smaller spaces.

Next you can begin selecting colors for the walls
in your rooms making sure each paint shade
works well with all connecting rooms. 

Research your color choice.

The internet and Pinterest are great tools
in helping to select rooms colors. 

Let's say you are looking for a paint color
for your kitchen and the cabinets are white.
Create a Pinterest page for kitchens you love 
and you will be surprised at how quickly 
you will see what shades your eyes are attracting
you toward in each room.

Once you have decided on a color
(let's pretend you have selected gray)
then you may want to Google search
 "popular gray paint colors"
and see what is trending. 

eight great shades of gray from @benjamin_moore -- perfect for a neutral color palette.

This will also help to assist you
in narrowing down your choices.
When I say -- "see what is trending"
what I mean is what people are talking about
and LOVING. Not the bold trendy accent colors
(that you may use as an accent color
for a lamp or pillow or rug)
but a wall color... a trending 
wall color.
That's what I'M TALKING 'bout.

Now go and collect the paint chips,  
bring them home, and tape them to your wall. 
You would not believe 
what a difference that makes ---
seeing them in your room. 

the color completely changes 
depending on whether you are looking at it 
horizontally on your kitchen table 
versus holding it up vertically 
as it will be applied to your wall.
It takes on a totally different shade.

Try not to buy the paint you need 
unless you have brought home
a swatch and/or a small pot of paint to try out.
Your room's lighting is so different
than a paint or hardware store's lighting and
what looks good there 
may not look good in your room, 
trust me on this one!
(Such a small investment to keep you from making a costly mistake.)

Go buy paint samples.

Once you've decided on some shades --
 buy one or two or several paint samples
to put on the walls of the room. 
If the walls already
have a shade of paint on them 
you will need to paint
your sample on a white poster board
so the existing paint color
doesn't show through giving you a poor 
sampling of the color you are considering.

paint samples on the wall
This method works best on painted walls!

Give it a day or two.

Check those paint swatches in the morning light,
in the afternoon and the evening too.
Check it by daylight and by lamp light.
Paint colors change during the day
as walls reflect light so you want to
be sure you like the shade at all hours.
When the sun goes down a color can wash out or become very intense,

Once you do this, 
you should have a color that works!
If not, bring home a few more and don't give up.
(Luckily, paint sample pots are much smaller
now so it's easier to try more colors.) 

I hope these little pointers have helped you.
Again, I will post part 2 and 3 of this series
so as not to overwhelm you.

Thanks so much for stopping by
and feel free to ask me questions!

~ Alison 

For fun
you can help choose
by clicking here


Sarah said...

Thanks for the pointers, Alison. We need to repaint our living room. Currently it is painted a pale grey, very neutral backdrop for a room full of color. Not sure if we will stick with the same or go a different color. '-)

NanaDiana said...

This was a perfect "tutorial", Alison. I agree with everything you said.
I live with those sample boards for at least a week and I put them on different walls so I can see them in different light situations.
Can't wait to read your next "lesson". xo Diana

The enchanted home said...

Hi Alison so happy to have you back on my blogroll!! Somehow it was not updating but now is..GREAT post on paint! This could easily become a great go to source when contemplating paint can daunting even for something as simple as choosing a white!

Hope you are well...and staying warm!

Pinky at Designs by Pinky said...

Perfect timing! WE are buying paint now to start paintin g this house...FINALLY. I am DONE witht eh builders white and can not wait to warm up the house with COLOR! I will save this and the rest of the series. Thanks!!!!

Susan said...

This is an excellent start to your "picking paint colors" tutorial. Some of these tips I knew, others I didn't. I am looking forward to the next in your series- thank you!

Shirley@Housepitality Designs said...

Love this post Alison..not only for it's wonderful information and beautiful examples...but I had an epiphany and solved my paint color solution on my main floor!...Happy Dance!

Karen said...

This is truly helpful. I find paint color to be the most challenging, even when I do what you've suggested. I sometimes feel like I need to paint everything white and start over.
I'll read each part of this series in hopes that I come up with some solid ideas.

Rose L said...

Oooo, I like the pastel palette and the spring tones. At one time I had several colors on the walls and had the most difficult time deciding. My contractor helped as when I had just the little paper tags of color up (about 15) he yanked several off and then told me to make a decision within a week!