How to Decide on a Paint Color

   Walk into a paint store and you’ll instantly be buffeted with about a million choices for interior and exterior paints. Choosing the type of paint can be difficult, but that decision is manageable after you examine the surface and area of your home you’ll be painting. But chances are if a color exists in human perception, there are at least five different paint shades available.

Which one do you choose?

Let’s break down the decision process into a few smaller decisions and observations that will lead you to your perfect paint color.

Step One: Context

‘Context’ is just a fancy way of saying, “What area of the house will be painted and how will I be using that space?” If your whole exterior needs a new paint job, you’ll likely be looking for a different color than exists on your exterior already and you’ll be looking for a lively, yet not off-putting or jarring color choice. For your bedroom, you might be looking for a more daring color choice, one that perhaps causes your room to light up when sunlight comes in.

This isn’t a comprehensive questionnaire, but remember to ask yourself these questions before you begin your paint color journey:

  • How much sun will this area receive?
  • Do I want a bright or dim finish?
  • Do I want a subdued, non-distracting color or a bright color?
  • Which hues will go well with my existing or other color choices?
  • What mood do I want to strike?
  • Which colors do I hate?

Start off with these questions to form a baseline and go from there.

Step Two: Reality

Sure, you may love hot pink, but will your wife enjoy a hot pink house exterior? Probably not. Understand which colors will go well in different areas of your home. A darker, duller paint finish won’t necessarily go well in a bright sunroom. Bright orange is probably not the best choice for your office if you already have several hues of bright green there. Start by eliminating parts of the color wheel. If certain colors don’t go well with your existing paint, eliminate them. Maybe you want to buck trends and use a darker shade in a brighter room. It’s up to you, the key is getting to an aesthetic you enjoy by narrowing the choices down. If you need help matching colors, refer to a color wheel. Colors close to each other on the wheel are usually complementary, while colors on opposite sides will be more striking together.

Step Three: Consider the Mood

It might be difficult to assess the ‘mood’ of a room, but think about how each room makes you feel and what colors you want associated to those feelings. If you want to change a room’s ‘mood,’ consider which colors are more conducive to that mood. For a quick guide to moods and colors, check out this article.

Step Four: Test and Experiment

Once you have a few options, you can start to experiment on small areas of a room. Paint small sections of the room in your color of choice and see how it affects the space. If you keep these areas small, you can test out different colors in different rooms or outdoor areas to see what the colors look like dried and on your wall. It makes sense to spend a little extra on paint to test and experiment with a few of your color choices.

Hopefully, with this guide, the process of choosing paint colors is a little less daunting.

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