How To Select An Interior Paint Color
Open a can of paint, and create the change you wish to see
Paint is one of the most inexpensive, yet impactful ways to change your environment. Whether you’re just focusing on a small room or are looking to change the look of your entire home, paint has the ability to make your space calm and serene. Or if you prefer, you can use the right paint to transform your space into something more bold and powerful. We know it can be easy to get overwhelmed with trying to select the right interior paint color, but here are a few tips to help make the process a little easier and smoother for you:
What’s the right mood?
When selecting a color, consider the desired mood for the room. In other words, what do you want people to feel when they enter the space? For example, do you want the bedroom to feel more restful and soothing? Or perhaps you’re after something that feels more dramatic and intimate? Keep these intended moods and feelings in mind as you look for the right color to match.
Soft, cool colors and neutrals usually create a quieter feeling, while stronger colors can bring drama to a room. In the bedrooms, I always suggest painting the walls a beautiful shade of ivory, soft blue, or even lavender. They are all very calming colors that help create a better environment for sleep – and creating a better sleep environment should be one of your primary goals for any bedroom!
The same is also true for kids’ rooms. It’s fine to let your kids have some say in how they want to personalize the look of their room, but you also want to be careful not to over stimulate them with bright colors. Bright colors can have the effect of being TOO energizing for some children and can actually lead to restlessness and irritability. Here’s a bonus, pro parenting tip for you: I’ve found that it’s best to avoid intentionally creating environments that may lead to increased restlessness and irritability in children. You’re welcome in advance!
Paint can look dramatically different in different lighting situations, so you want to take advantage of the light boxes that most paint stores have to test your paint swatches. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you look at swatches under different types of light:
- Natural daylight shows the truest color
- Incandescent lighting brings out warm tones and yellows
- Fluorescent lighting casts a sharp blue tone
So, a strong color might be too bright and overpowering when used on all walls or next to a large window, but it might be perfect when used as an accent wall that only receives indirect light.
A single color used on walls and trim can bring about a new look when applied in different finishes. For example, wall and trim colors can remain the same color but use an eggshell finish on walls and a satin or semi-gloss on trim. The color will appear slightly different on each surface. It’s a good way to create a cohesive look in rooms with many windows and doors, and not many large walls.
Don’t forget about the transition of color between one room and another. You want your rooms to flow into each other. That doesn’t mean you can’t use bold colors if that’s your style, but you also want to complement the adjoining space with a contrasting color or a shade or two lighter than your darkest color. Let the paint swatches be your guide, and consider using the lightest and darkest shades on the chip next to each other, to help create a smoother transition.
Pick your paint LAST
While it may seem counterintuitive, it’s better to pick your paint last. Start by establishing what furniture, fabrics, and art you want to include in the space. Then, let your furniture, fabrics, and art be your ultimate guide for picking the best color for your room. Otherwise, you may end up painting yourself into a corner (pun fully intended) and may be unable to find pieces that go with the paint you selected. Instead, choose a complementary color from a rug, drapery, or favorite piece of art that can be your inspiration for painting the room, once those pieces are already selected.
Don’t let those paint swatches intimidate you. Keep these tips in mind the next time you hit the paint store, and you’ll be picking interior paint just like the pros in no time!