How to choose paint colors?
Are you thinking of painting your home but don’t know where to start? Choosing paint colors can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow these tips and you’ll be able to select the perfect hue for your house in no time.
Before we dive deep, let me say something about color psychology. It is the study of how color affects our emotions and behavior. Color can influence our mood, add or remove visual interest, and even affect our appetite depending on their inherent properties as well as on cultural factors and since we’ll be looking for a certain emotion, it’s good to know at least the basics before out color selection.
While our response to color is personal, some generalizations can be made about how different colors are perceived. Here are some common associations with different colors:
Red: excitement, energy, passion, love, danger
Orange: happiness, enthusiasm, creativity, success
Yellow: happiness, optimism, positivity, clarity
Green: growth, abundance, freshness, safety
Blue: calm, serenity, stability, trust
Purple: luxury, wealth, sophistication, mystery
Pink: romance, love, femininity
Brown: Nature, earthiness, dependability, friendliness
Black: power, sophistication, mystery, sadness
White: purity, innocence, cleanliness, peace
Warm colors can make us feel cozy, while cool colors can make us feel refreshed.
These examples are very simplified and you don’t have to follow color psychology 100% but have it in mind when you choose a paint color. It will help you determine the feelings that these specific colors may evoke.
Decide what feelings should the room evoke
What is the purpose of the room?
Now that you know what colors evoke what emotions, you should determine how you want your new painted rooms to make you feel. How do you want your visitors to feel? Think about the purpose of the room. Is it a bedroom where you sleep? Are you planning to repaint your kitchen?
Social rooms may deserve warm paint colors, private rooms could be painted in green and blue hues while your kitchen may be painted in bright colors to bring life to the common areas. Always think of the purpose of the room and the emotions that you expect to have.
Understand the color palettes
Not all colors go together well. So how do you know which do? There is a thing called a color palette. Skilled designers from around the world create color combinations that just fit and are pleasant to look at. They take their inspiration from colors of nature, real work objects, and anything and everything. There are many platforms where you find these color palettes. Some of them have bits of information or accompanying images of the inspiring object. Two of my favorites are https://colorhunt.co/ and https://www.canva.com/colors/color-palettes/. just search for a keyword of the color or even emotion and they will generate dozens of color palettes that fit your keyword. This could be your start to choose a paint color.
Select as many color palettes as you’d like and set them aside (save them, download them or print them). They can serve you as an inspiration for your main paint color choice. But they will also serve you as a guide on what complementary colors to choose when you pick your main paint color. Spend some time looking through the color palettes. Feel free to print out the ones you like. So now that you roughly know what colors you like, let’s try to narrow it down a little bit. How do we do it? With a mood board? Excited?
Mood board. What is it good for and how to make it?
Moodboard is a collection of images, fabric swatches, wallpaper, color samples and other inspiring materials that are organized around a central theme, color story or style. It helps us to settle on a specific visual identity. In marketing, it’s a collage containing various images, photos, text, colors, fonts, and other objects that visually define a brand identity of a business.
In our case, it will help us choose paint colors for our new interior painting job. Creating a Mood Board will help you determine what colors to use as well as the overall feeling of the space. You can use anything that evokes the feeling you want for your space.
How to create a mood board?
When you are creating a mood board, think about how you want the space to make you feel. What colors evoke the feeling you are going for? How can you mix and match different colors and patterns to create the perfect space for you?
You can use an online tool like Pinterest or Canva, or you can physically create one by cutting out images from magazines and gluing them to a piece of poster board.
Start by compiling things from your home that you like. You can take pictures of them if you choose to go digital. Gather pillows, scarfs, paintings, or furniture pieces. Anything that conveys comfort and has an emotional value to you. Browse your photos, old photos, trendy photos, or magazines. Look at Pinterest, Instagram, or simply Google for inspiration. Look for materials, design features, things, fabrics, colors, or images that convey the desired emotion. Don’t think about it too much at this stage and pick as many as you’d like. If you think you have enough, start removing those that don’t fit the right way. In the end, you will stay with colors that fit your overall emotion and the style that you’re looking for.
Use the mood board to pick the primary paint color and use the help of your color palletes to choose complementary colors. Now take these to the paint store and start the real paint color selection.
Things to consider when choosing a paint color
Actual paint colors look different under different light. Think about where does the light shine. Consider the direction of windows, times of the day, and artificial light sources.
The general rule of thumb is: Don’t use dar paints if you don’t have much light in your room.
The direction of the rooms
Distinguish between south and north-facing rooms. South rooms tend to have more daylight so you want to counter it with cooler colors. North-facing rooms have cooler natural light so you can use warmer colors.
Adjacent or connecting rooms
See the rooms in a context of relation to each other. If they are not fully separated, it’s a good idea to apply colors from the same color palette so they fit and flow.
Choose paint color
Now you have a mood board. You are pretty clear on what colors convey what emotions, what emotions are you looking for, what colors go well together, and what colors you’re after. Now it’s time to visit a paint store, choose paint swatches, and buy the actual paints.
Before you purchase any paints, you should test them at home. There are various sample types that you can grab from your local paint store. Sherwin Williams has a great number of paint samples Grab many paint swatches based on your mood board and the pre-selection you already made. You can take display chips, paint samples, peel and stick samples, or even a small sample of the paint.
Display the paint swatches around the various areas of your home like the dining room or living room, next to furnishings so you get the idea of how they look. Leave them there for several days and observe them during different parts of the day, under the sunlight and next to various decor. You’ll get a pretty good idea of how these colors feel and work in your home. If you only have a paint sample, Paint a 10 by 10 area on your wall and leave it there for a few days. Observe how it fits your home.
If you’re still having a problem to choose paint colors, contact us and we’ll help you with the selection
How to use interior paint colors in your home
Aim to create a natural flow of colors where one fits with another and they create a compact, easy-to-look at open space or separated zones that match. Understand color palettes and color combinations to make paint colors flow naturally into one another. Don’t be afraid to experiment with colors but keep in mind that muted, dusted paint colors have a better chance of pleasing the majority as they are pleasant, easy to look at, and not so aggressive.
Use colors architecturally
Use colors to draw attention to architectural features like moldings, bookcases, arched doorways, windows, or other trim. Paint these one step lighter or darker than the primary wall paint color to create a subtle color shift that is enough to bring out the details
Make small spaces feel bigger
Crisp white colors can make a small room feel more open, airy, and spacious. Lighter hues open most spaces that are small. Consider using lighter versions of your favorite paint colors to achieve this effect.
Make larger spaces feel cozy
Warm paint colors create a feeling of intimacy. Darker colors give you the perception that the walls are closed and the room is smaller. Darker warm paint colors are also great to create an atmosphere in bedrooms and similar resting places.
Know your whites
Use pure white on spots where you want to draw attention to. Ceiling or furniture to create neutral overhead.
Use white undertones. Do you remember seeing white walls that are pinkish or blueish? That is an undertone. Use tinted, undertone white in larger spaces or rooms without much natural light to make them cozy. On the other hand, cool white colors can open smaller spaces.
Decide on the finish type
Each room has a different purpose so you should accommodate the finish type to that purpose. Each finish looks a little bit different and they give a different visual impression.
Satin colors (also known as eggshell)
This finish is wipeable which makes it great for rooms that can collect water or steam on the walls, like kitchens or bathrooms. They are also suitable for high-traffic areas that are prone to damage and wear. Satin paint colors are great for walls.
Semi-gloss is a durable finish that is highly wipeable which makes them great for high moisture rooms like kitchens and bathrooms. They are too shiny for walls but are perfect for baseboards, moldings, and other trim to accent the features
Similar to semi-gloss, they are durable, easy to wipe and clean, and best suitable for windows, doors, frames, and other trim.
Flat or matte
This finish is great for low-traffic areas and walls that don’t get touched. Ideal for ceilings or bedrooms.
- Consider the visual weight of the furniture and decor you’re currently using in the area
- Don’t choose too many bright paint colors so they don’t visually clash with your furnishings and decor.
- Tone down bright paint colors to create muted or tinted shades that are easier on the eyes
- Think about creating contrast so desired furnishings or features stand out
- Incorporate your desired or present furnishings and decor into your color selection process
- Understand undertones that can make colors slightly warmer or cooler. Think of the white that is not crisp white but pinkish or blueish. This is thanks to the undertones.
- Test colors at home, don’t rely on what you’ve seen in the paint store.
- Consider which directions are your rooms facing and the lighting conditions in them
- Choose earthy colors. Trends come and go but some colors are timeless.
Mistakes to avoid
Not experimenting with colors. Don’t be afraid to experiment with paint color choices. You’ll be testing them first so don’t worry about ruining your home
Using the same paint color for everything. Remember that you can accent certain features and create unique emotions by using multiple colors for different spaces and things. Make your furnishings and decor stand out by using a different paint color than the rest of your wall.
Rushing the paint color selection process. You don’t want to be painting every two weeks just because you chose a color that you stopped liking. You have nowhere to rush so take your time choosing paint color that you really want. Experiment and test colors in your home. Looking at different color squares around your house for a few extra days is better than not liking your color selection.
Not considering the current conditions. Think about the color of your furnishings, decor and even the lights condition around your home. All if these other factors will influence the final paint color look of your home.
Not using the primer. Primer ensures that there will be no leftover paint color from previous walls. Using a primer will save you multiple extra coats of regular paint.
Using very saturated and bright colors. These colors might look nice by themselves but it might be hard to create a natural flow or combine them with existing features around your home. Avoid pink, yellow, bright green, or orange. You can choose tinted or less saturated versions of these colors.
Best paints on the market
There are multiple quality paint brands like Behr, PPG, Glidden, or Valspar but the long-term best-sellers are Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore.
We hope that our article gave you a lot of useful information on how to choose the paint color for your project. If you still need professional help, don’t hesitate to contact us.