Paint can be the quickest and most cost-effective route to transform a room. But where do you start if you havent already picked out a colouring? We interviewed three interior designers for their best tips-off. These practical suggestions will have you feeling more color-confident in no time.
Visit Your Closet
Whatever you do, dont only head straight to the paint store to browse through the paint chips, or you risk being majorly overwhelmed. Of course, if youve already done this, youre not alone. People will actually hire a painter without knowing what colorings they want to use yet, says Kelly Porter, a D.C.-based interior designer and Houzz contributor. Even before you go to the paint store, “youre going to” narrow down the colorings. Even before you pick up the swatches.
But how do you narrow down a color in the first place? Keith Wardlaw of Plus Modern Design in Kansas City, Missouri, suggests that you shop your wardrobe. I tell clients, No. 1, to look in their closet and see what colors they wear often, he tells. Theyre going to gravitate toward certain colours that look well on them. Patently, what better way to look great in the interior than if you paint what you look great in?
If you tend to wear a lot of blue and often pair it with khaki, dark leather shoes and silver jewelry, perhaps those colours could be a theme for your home.
You could translate that topic to your living room by trying navy walls, adding rich leather accents, plus silver candlesticks, tchotchkes and photo frames.
Unearth Your Happy Memories
Porter, the D.C. designer, holds colour workshops in which she devotes a questionnaire about personal associations with particular colorings. What color was your room growing up? she asks. What coloring induces you the happiest?
Inspiration can come from anywhere. Maybe your grandmothers kitchen was yellow, and you have great memories of traveling with her. Perhaps you saw this great shade of blue when you were traveling in the Caribbean, and it calms you, she says.
There are no real regulations about colouring, Porter says. One of her clients painted her bedroom a bright red generally considered to be an invigorating rather than soothing coloring. While red is likely to cause many people to feel alert when its time to be sleepy, it was very calming to her, she tells. You genuinely have to know what moves you and not be influenced by what other people like and what other people say.
Envision the Feeling You Want
So youve decided to paint your room blue. How do you narrow down which blue? It can be helpful to think about the feeling that you want to create in the room, Wardlaw tells. If youre attempting a cozier feel, opt a blue on the darker end. If youre going for a more serene vibe, a lighter, perhaps ocean blue may be better. As youre drew attention to shades of blue, pay attention to whether “youd prefer” blues that tend toward lavender, green or pure hues.
Knowing the undertones of the shade youre selecting is useful when go looking for trim and accessories.
To make sure you get what you want, Carl Mattison of Atlanta-based Carl Mattison Design suggests enlisting the help of a friend to test your colouring perception. Take a couple colors and ask your friend, What do you see in this colour? Mattison says. This can tell you whether the route youre watching a colour is the way someone else will see it. Have someone else tell you if its a cold gray, or is it a warm gray, he tells. And if youre not sure youre watching what theyre assure, ask them why they describe the color in that way. This exert can help you avoid blind spots that could derail your color intentions.
The way colors read on your computer screen or mobile device probably wont read the same way in your room, where theyll be affected by the amount of lighting and even the landscaping that the light is coming through.
Use digital photos for general color and style notions, and tone and value inspiration entailing lighting or darknes or medium, Mattison says. Its also important to look for rooms that are of a similar sizing and shape to the one that youll be painting; that way, the effect will be more similar.
This is critical: If you fall in love with a colour online, used to go and select a swatch and bring it home before perpetrating. Your iPad, your phone, your computer is going to showing those colorings differently, Mattison says. Even color chips wont be exactly how the paint color will appear. They are the closest representation to it, he says.
Choose No More Than Four Colors
Finally, its time to visit the paint store. Pick several tints and dont worry about choosing among them while youre in the store, likely under fluorescent lights. Instead, bringing them home. Then its time to winnow them down.
Say you come home with eight tints of blue, Porter tells. Lay all the swatches out and compare them to one another. You will start to see the subtle differences between each color. Some of the blues lean toward green or aqua. Some are a denim tint. Some have a funky undercurrent that you just dont like at all. Porter and Mattison recommend weeding out the tints you dont like until you have no more than three alternatives left. Wardlaw tells four shades are OK.
You can tack the colouring chips to the wall of the room youll be painting, or use a sheet of paper as a neutral background. Keep in mind as you attain your comparings( whether on the wall or newspaper) that the paint chips will appear a little bit darker on a light background, and lighter on a dark background, Porter says.
Often, after comparing the paint chips to each other, it will be clearly articulated which colouring is going to work, she says.
If you still arent comfortable with the color options, you could consider taking away all but one option and looking at each color individually.
Also, this may sound obvious, but its easy to forget: As you assess colourings, consider how each alternative will appear with the materials of your room already in place( and that youre not willing to change ).
Put Paint Samples Right on the Wall
Once youve opt your three or four final colors, its time to test them. All three of our experts concur: Its better to paint the wall than those sample boards the paint store sells. This is not just because its most economical. You need to paint at the least a 1-by-1-foot square on all four walls, Wardlaw tells. You paint on the wall because thats exactly where its going. Youre paint over a previous coloring. I feel a board doesnt saturate in the same way. Mattison recommends painting an even larger region at least 3 feet by 3 feet for each sample color.
Porter advises placing the paint samples side by side on the wall. They should still be lined up because one would still need to compare and opt based on the process of elimination, she tells. Again, if this is overwhelming for your eye, you could consider looking at them apart.
Its also important to make sure the sample can you purchase has the finish that youre planning to use( matte, eggshell, satin, high gloss) because that can also change the way a coloring read. Many stores sell the sample-size cans merely in the matte finish. You may want to consider buying a full quart to get the true effect.
Look at the samples on the wall at various times of day, and try different types of illuminating( various wattages) to see how that may change the colours. Live with the colorings for a few days. When a clear win emerges, youre ready to paint the walls.