So you find yourself with a free weekend, a small budget, and a living room in need of a facelift… What do you do? Run to a chain store, look at some paint swatches for 10 minutes, buy a gallon of something that strikes your fancy, then slap it on your walls. Sounds like a fun weekend right? RIGHT?! Anyone…?
Alright, so let’s talk about a better way to get something you really love out of that new paint color. Be sure and do your homework first. Sit down and think about what you want that space to be like. What is the day-to-day function of that room? I beg you, please don’t go to the store and say, “Well I like blue, let’s get blue.” A few things to think about before you get to the store.
What do you want it to feel like? Let’s use a bedroom for example. Do you want something colorful and bright–a private space where you can really express your fun, free spirit? Somewhere you can turn up the music and try on everything in the closet when getting ready for a night out. Or perhaps something quiet and calm, a space where you can relax and read a book.
If you aren’t sure, think about the other spaces in your house and if you want this room to blend in with the rest of the house. Or if it’s a space that you want to stand out and be unique. Don’t be afraid to do something a little different. The small ones are the details that give a house its character.
What is the scope of the project? Are you doing an entire house overhaul? If so, then you have a little more leniency but you need to think about how all the pieces will connect. If you are doing an entire room, pick out all of the components before making any purchases of furniture, paint, accessories etc. That way you can get an idea of what the end product will look like, avoiding regrets in the long run. Or if you want to spruce up the paint and accessories and keep everything else existing, of course you need to consider how your new color will work with your existing belongings.
Once you have an idea of how you want the space to feel and function you are ready to start narrowing in on a color. When picking samples here are a few things to think about…
NEVER purchase paint just based off of the color on the chip in the store. Always get a sample to test in your space first. Color is drastically impacted by a light’s quality and color rendering. You need to see it in your space–I suggest leaving it for at least 24 hours so you can see it during all times of the day. You may love it during the day and think it is obnoxious once the sun sets. There is really no substitution for this step.
Also consider the size of the space. Darker colors are going to bring the space in, lighter colors are going to be more reflective and bounce light better making the space feel larger. If you want to make a large bonus room feel cozy–go with something darker. If you want to make your tiny guest room/office feel bigger, stay on the brighter side of the palette.
Don’t forget about the ceiling. Ceilings are often missed opportunities in design. Use them to your advantage.
Color temperature is one of the most important factors. All colors have both a cool and warm version. Take this into consideration when picking your paints. Say you love gray but you are concerned with it feeling cold. This can be avoided by selecting a grey with a warm color temperature. Or say you wanted a beach inspired blue bathroom but the color looks more like the concrete at the Wave Pool. Go with something a little cooler in temperature.
So, now you know what you should be considering. Once you have answered all of these questions, if you still look at me and ask, “What color should I pick?” I am going to send you back to kindergarten. Bring in the color wheel.
Before deciding on a color, you need to pick a theme. Here are the most common ones.
Monochrome Color Scheme: A room composed of variations of the same hue.
Complementary Color Scheme: A room composed of colors that are direct opposites on the color wheel.
Spilt Complementary Color Scheme: Two colors from one side of the wheel (ex. blue and green) with something directly opposite (ex. red) to create a space.
Analogous Color Scheme: Using colors on the same side of the color wheel to create your space (ex. blue and green).
Triad Color Scheme: Three colors equally spaced on the color wheel. Think of the primary colors for this one.
Paint can seem overwhelming in the store. Take some time to really think about everything first and you will be able to narrow down your options. Once you find it, you just have to find the perfect painting playlist and someone who will help you move the couch out of the way!