What Color Should I Paint My…?

Permission to procrastinate:

I get this question early in the design process and my first advice is: begin with colors you like!   I understand there’s a lot more to paint color selection, but you must admit starting with colors you like is a good starting point. Do not just pick what you last saw on social media.

My next piece of advice for paint color selection?  Don’t begin your remodel project with this decision.

Paint is one of the last finishes to be applied to a space.  Natural light, artificial light, the furnishings and fixtures that are selected for the room can affect the outcome.  Heck! Even a wall of green Laurel bushes outside the window can give a gray paint a greenish cast. The direction (North, West,etc.) in which your room receives most of its’ natural light can also affect how the color will be perceived.

Some of these items can be controlled and others are an inherent part of the environment.  You may be becoming aware (if you weren’t already) how difficult it is to come to a final decision on a color in the beginning.  It’s not you! It really is difficult to pick a paint color for a room which does not yet exist.  Make it easier, by waiting (I am giving you permission to procrastinate).

There is a flow to selecting your homes finishes.  Start with the one you have been dreaming about.  For example, a beautiful white marble slab with gray veining for your kitchen island. Then build upon that selection starting with the items which need to be picked relatively early in the remodel process such as flooring, cabinet finish, and lighting fixtures. Do you like light with a warm glow or cool, modern lighting?

So, at this point, have fun with it!  Pick 7 colors you like.  Pick them in varying values (lighter and darker versions).  You can use a fan deck from a paint manufacturer or go to the hardware store and pick color samples to mull over.  I can pick the most awesome colors that coordinate perfectly with all your finishes but if it’s the color you’ve hated all your life, I’ve just wasted your time and mine so let’s start with colors you like, colors that evoke good memories and colors that don’t disgust your better half 😉

Once construction is nearing completion…book a stand alone session.  Let’s review your choices and talk about why one may be better than all the rest based on the rooms’ orientation, natural and artificial light and the rooms new finishes.  If it’s a lighter color it will reflect more sunlight but also more surrounding color than a darker hue would. It will also show more shadows which can add interest in a monochromatic room with textured surfaces.  Paint sheen makes a big difference too!  We’ll talk about that when finalizing decisions with your painters advice on this. Glossy for trim? Satin for walls they will need occasional cleaning?

Then get a sample and paint a large area on a white, primed wall or a large white piece of cardboard.  Underlying color can affect paint color, especially if it is darker than your sample color.  Make sure to put a patch of color on each wall because paint on a wall with a window can look different than paint on a wall which receives the light from that window.

Then stand back and admire the selection! Wait…you’re still not sure?  View the painted sample in the morning light, in the evening light, after dark with the lights on and then dim them.  Does the color meet the goals of your space?  Have you driven everyone crazy with your indecision?

Leave the paint samples up for your designer to see.  And then…the procrastination must come to an end.  I will tell you the color to paint your walls, feel confident you considered all the possibilities and that it will be beautiful!!  And then…be ready for at least one of your friends or family members to question your decision.   That’s what picking a color is all about 😊

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