If there is one thing you can do to completely transform any room, it is paint. It doesn’t cost very much, and it’s probably my #1 go-to tip when a client wants to refresh a space economically.
We go off to the paint store and grab a paint card and say, "Yeah – that’s pretty good. I’ll take a gallon of that." We get home and start painting and (cue record scratch). "Oh my gosh…. What have I done?!?"
Sound familiar? Dejectedly we trudge back to the paint store and reluctantly grab a gallon of boring, blah beige. We might as well stick with Arizona White. Sigh. I say, "Heck no… don’t settle for Arizona White!" Or abalone, alabaster, biscuit, china, cotton, dewdrop, early snow, fog, frosting, gauzy, hush, igloo, juniper, linen, marshmallow, mist, nuance, oyster, pearl, sand, snow, shell, wheat….etc. Yes, those are real names of blah, boring beige.
Your rooms should lift your spirits, and make you happy to be there. God made so many gorgeous colors – don’t settle! A drab beige, taupe or greige, might suck the light right out of your room. But there is a trick to choosing paint colors.
Here are 3 simple steps to choosing the right paint color. It’s really as easy as 1-2-3.
STEP 1 LOOK FOR CLUES: Look around the room and look for color clues. Be a detective! The right color is probably already in front of your nose. Maybe the perfect color is in a painting that you have on the wall. Maybe it’s in a throw pillow on the sofa or chair. Maybe it’s the background of that great family portrait. Wherever you find that perfect color – remember this – it’s your inspiration piece. The happiest color is already in your home – you just have to find it. Be a detective and find that inspiration piece. Look for clues in what you have already.
STEP 2 CHOICES: Now that you’ve identified the color, go to the paint store and grab several paint cards that are close to the color you have in mind. Let’s say you’re looking for a soft green. Grab all the paint cards that are clear green. Then grab paint cards that are yellow-green. Go the other way and get some paint cards that are blue-green. Now you have a beautiful palette from which to choose your perfect color. Take the cards home and hold each one up to the inspiration piece you found in step #1. Some of the cards will look dirty or grungy compared to your inspiration piece. Then you know that’s not the right color. Try the next card…. If the paint card looks fabulous and looks like it came right out of your inspiration piece, then you have the right color! Most paint cards have 3 or so versions of the same color – don’t use the lightest – it’s a case of why bother. It is so pale it'll look like beige. The deepest color can be a bold choice so when in doubt go with the middle tone.
STEP 3 TESTING, TESTING, 1-2-3. Go back to the paint store and get a little test pot of the chosen color. I suggest you paint a 3’x3’ sample onto the wall. Maybe paint it into the corner of two adjacent walls – light changes the color on different walls…. Look around your room right now, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. The exact same color can look like 4 different shades, all due to how much natural light there is, and what is in shadow. Do you see it? After you’ve painted your 3x3 sample on the wall, live with it for a few days. I know, this requires our least favorite word – patience. Why? I want you to live with the color and see how it looks in the clear light of the beautiful morning sun. How does the color change when it’s high noon? What does the color look like at night, with your room’s artificial lighting? Something that looks great in the daytime might turn muddy depending on your lighting. A little patience in this process ensures you will love the final paint color.
Following this simple 3 step process will help you choose the right color for your space. You can do it! If you need a little help, then of course I’m happy to help you. I love color consultations – I have paint libraries of larger samples we can play with to help you get just the right color. But I think you can do it. And now you know how.
Send me your before & after photos. I love to hear from you.