How To Pick Paint Color

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How To Pick Paint Color for Walls


Pick A Paint Color in 4 Easy Steps!

One of the most frequently voiced concerns I hear from clients is how much trouble & anxiety they experience over how to pick a paint color. No doubt, it can be overwhelming, and it’s hard to tell if you’re really going to love a color until it’s on the wall. I’ve done it so often I don’t really think (or worry) about it anymore so I did my best to put my process into words to try and save someone else the stress of choosing the right color for their next project.

Pick A Paint Color - Step 1 - Choose Your Inspiration

I always start a color selection with an inspiration of some sort. I used a pillow in this example (see image above) but it could be any number of other things. Rugs, fabric or a favorite piece of artwork are the first few that come to mind. It doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as you love it and you think it might be fun to build your design & color scheme around it.

Pick A Paint Color Step 2 - Identify Dominant Colors

The item you pick may have one or several main colors. In this example, the pillow I choose has a nice variety of blue, green, yellow and tans. It gave me a lot to work with and I ultimately chose my home office color based on it. From the colors you’ve identified, pick your favorite or top 2. Pick up some paint samples that match those colors from your local home improvement or paint store and bring them home. Tape them to the wall and see how you feel. For me, I was really liking the blue and green colors on the wall but the yellow was a bit much for me (for a wall color) and I tend to get bored quickly with neutrals.



Pick A Paint Color - Step 3 - Choose Neutral or Color

This step may seem easy but it can affect a lot of other design choices that will happen in your room so don’t make it lightly. Neutral walls are nice because if you change your mind often or plan to move/sell your home soon, most any decor will work with what you’ve painted. Choosing a color, on the other hand, is a more specific choice and will commit you to a color scheme. It’s not permanent obviously, but most people don’t enjoy painting and won’t do it all that often. Neutral & light colored walls also offer you the opportunity to do something bold with your furniture & artwork, while a darker wall color might look best with a toned down furniture selection. Too many heavy, ornate furnishings in a room with dark, rich walls can feel heavy and small. Too little color in space with a lot of neutral tones can come across as lifeless and dull (unless you’re an amazing designer like Sara Richardson and then you can pull off an all white & creme room brilliantly).

Pick A Paint Color - Step 4 - Now For The Shade

Once you pick a paint color (in my case, the blue), you can decide on the shade or tone of said color. Dark colors speak volumes on a wall and can act as the star of your design show, while lighter colors are more a supporting cast role. Either can totally work.  The majority of people I’ve worked with tend to be the most comfortable somewhere in the top to middle of a paint fan deck. More than likely the paint samples will have several variations of the color you chose on them so trust your gut when looking and zero in on ones that really speak to you. If your existing furniture is for the most part neutral, it might be fun to go with a darker tone on the walls and liven things up (contrast). But if you have a bright green sofa and yellow rug, a lighter wall color might complement (balance) those without competing with them. It really comes down to personal taste and a well thought out design plan. In my experience, a design plan is essential to an great looking room. Designing without a plan is like cooking without  recipe. Unless you have a decent amount of experience (or natural talent), randomly adding flavors you like to the pot without regard for how they might taste together will leave you with a big bowl of goulash instead of the spaghetti sauce you were hoping for. 🙂

Pick A Paint Color - Color Scheme

Pick A Paint Color - Step 4.1 - When In Doubt

If the task of selecting a color is still too daunting or if you just want some reassurance you’re headed in the right direction, seek out professional help. (No, not the kind that requires you to lay on a couch) If you’re local to the Wilmington, NC area I would LOVE to help! Schedule an In-Home Paint Color Consultation with me TODAY and let’s get some wall worthy colors picked out for you!

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