Demystify choosing paint colors by creating a cohesive Whole House Color Palette. Your completed whole house color scheme acts as a money- and time-saving blueprint to make the right choice!
There is so much more to interior painting than slapping color on a wall. I have done everything from Saran wrap decorative finishes to popcorn ceilings and found many painting tips and tricks along the way. If you are looking to spruce up your house’s interior, a fresh coat of paint is a good budget friendly option.
There are many steps to painting and today I am going to share some of my tips to be aware of when purchasing and deciding on your interior paint.
Why Choose a Paint Color Palette Ahead of Time?
- It acts as a blueprint for choosing any furniture or decor for your home, which makes for less stress and easier decisions.
- Save money and time by choosing the correct items the first time.
- It makes the whole space cohesive and you aren’t stuck trying to find something to match.
Without further ado, let’s dive in.
Choosing Home Paint Colors
1. Choose Your Vibe
I recommend doing a quick brainstorm to determine the mood and ambiance you’re trying to achieve. Burnt Orange may be your favorite color but if you are looking for a serene bedroom, orange may not be the go-to choice. Sit in the room for a while and just stare. What do you want this room to reflect? – Energy? Comfort? Warmth? Colors and your associations with them very much contribute to your emotional state. I am not saying that if you want a room to reflect a sunny disposition, you should choose yellow. However, it is something to consider when choosing your paint colors and overall color scheme.
ASK YOURSELF HOW THE CURRENT COLORS IN YOUR HOME FEEL:
- Are they too dark?
- Too bright?
- Do they feel “dirty” or “dingy”?
- Maybe they just don’t fit your decorating style
After determining what you don’t like, make a list of what you would like the mood of your home to feel like. Here are some ideas:
- Calm and relaxing
- Warm and welcoming
- Neutral and cozy
DETERMINING THE MOOD
Next, you have to figure out what type of colors it will take to create your ideal Whole House Color Palette. Color psychology is fairly complex and largely subjective, so I’m not going to go into the topic. It’s best to have a basic understanding of Color Theory and Color Relationships in order to choose the best colors to fit the mood you’re going for.
2. Working with Fixed Items
Fixed items are things already in your home that won’t be changing – floors, cabinets, large pieces of furniture you don’t want to replace. Trim can also fall into this category if you do not plan on repainting all of the trim in the house.
Pro Tip: Choose your bedspread or large fabric items before your paint color. You may find it impossible to find the right fabric to match paint after the fact. The spectrum of paint colors far outweighs the options in fabric colors.
3. Choosing trim color
A lot of people assume that you just buy a gallon of white paint for your trim. I will stick to my guns on this one. Pick your trim color! You will thank me later! There are many, many varieties of white and choosing a particular tone will do wonders for bringing out the best in your wall color. Gather all of your home’s paint colors together, and choose the best trim color that matches all of them.
Best Tips for How Paint Works
- Bases are not all the same – If you purchase BEHR paint and then decide to buy another can of the same color in Valspar, you will find that the colors do not exactly match. Each brand of base is not the exact shade of white and, thus, your paint will be tinted slightly differently.
- The higher the sheen (flat -> satin->gloss), the more durable it is. Flat/matte will scruff more easily and is harder to clean without rubbing off paint. For trim or high traffic areas such as the kitchen and bathroom, I use at least a satin.
- The lower the sheen (flat being lowest), the easier it is to hide imperfections in your wall, like bumps or places that weren’t sanded perfectly.
- Even with the fancy computers that most paint stores have, you will see variance between a gallon and quart size. This is because the ratios of color to base may not be super exact between can sizes. If you need just a bit more paint, I generally recommend buying that gallon rather than a quart.
- Many paints today include primers in them. However, if you are painting walls for the first time or painting walls that have a lot of damage, it is still recommended that you prime them separately. If you’ve filled holes in your walls with spackle, prime those spots to prevent flashing.
Some of Our Favorite Paint Colors (Many Used in Our Own Home):
How To Test Paint Colors
Paint colors won’t necessarily look the same in your home as they do in photographs and especially in stores. If you have a few color ideas, these tips will lead you to exactly the right color:
- Get paint samples. Don’t choose a color off a 2×2 swatch.
- Paint a posterboard or large piece of cardboard with the paint sample. Hang it around the room to see if you like it in different areas and lighting situations (sunrise/day/night). Pay attention to contrasting colors. For example, if I have a yellow room, that yellow is reflecting onto my paint sample, so it may bring out strange undertones. I usually hang my posterboard next to fixed finishes (trim, furniture, etc) to make sure they look go together.
- If you are changing the color significantly, i.e. darkening or lightening, keep in mind that a dark color will be even darker and a light color will be even lighter when the whole room is painted. A vibrant color will be even more vibrant than a swatch.
- “I love this color, but I wish it was just one or two shades lighter” – pick a different color. It is much harder to lighten a color than it is to darken. To lighten a color by even a small amount takes a lot of paint.
- Gray is single handedly the HARDEST paint color to choose. I usually ask clients for an undertone such as a brown-gray, a purple-gray, etc. In the store, pay attention to the colors the “gray” is next to. If it’s a purple, then your swatch will also have a purple undertone. You may not see the undertone in the swatch, but you will in your home.
Keep the bar codes and paint swatch
This is one of my favorite tips for buying paint. Make a book in which to save your paint information. Save the paint swatch and, if applicable, ask the paint department for an extra bar code label that they put on the paint can. This bar code lists the exact recipe even if you switch stores. Secondly, write down the brand, series, and finish that you purchased the paint in.
How Long Does Paint Last?
When stored properly, a can of paint lasts three to five years. Store paint between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Do avoid placing cans on concrete floors, as they rust more quickly. Write on the can the color of the paint, purchase date, and how much paint is leftover.
Have Fun with It!
Color is awesome! Do not be scared to see past the white walls or paint everything in lilac if that is what you want. There are lovely colors out there to suit everyone’s taste and personal style. Find yours!
Good luck with all your DIY projects!
Looking for more ways to freshen up those empty walls? Take a look at some of these ideas:
- HOW TO MAKE A WORLD CLOCK WALL DISPLAY
- 20 SCRAP WOOD WALL DECORATIONS
- HOW TO PAINT STRIPES CLEANLY ON WALLS
- DIY MAP ART FOR THE WALL
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