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3 Tips for Picking the Perfect Paint Color

by Mar 9, 2018

Sometimes a small lifestyle change is important for our sanity. Everyone knows that one person who eats the same ham and cheese sandwich each day, watches the same Netflix show after work for at least three hours, and grumbles about the same back pain that has been inconveniencing their sleep for a decade. If you’re one of these individuals, you may not want to jump full force into some great lifestyle change, like becoming a romanticized vagabond that hitchhikes and plays the sitar on cargo trains across America. Enter the complicated (and not so complicated) journey for the perfect color swatch.

Painting a room, or just an accent wall, can make a huge difference when it comes to your mood, and the change will create a certain atmosphere that could bring benefits to your social life. So, you’ve decided that you will take on the task, but as you walk into the home repair store, you may realize that you have bitten off more than you can chew. Who on this earth knew that there were so many shades of purple? People hundreds of years ago thought blue was a shade of green; now the collective consciousness can identify between sunbaked orange and Montana dust orange (apparently). Picking colors is complicated for several reasons.

Making decisions is difficult; no one can escape without second guessing. I’m reminded of a story where a farmer hires a laborer to paint fences and mow the grass; tasks that were completed fantastically. One day, the farmer tasked the laborer with separating newly harvested potatoes into three groups: potatoes to use, ones to take to the market, and ones to throw away. After several days, the laborer comes to the farmer and tells him that he quits. The farmer asks why, and the laborer responds, “painting fences and mowing grass was all well and good, but this potato business is just one decision after the next.”

Picking out that paint color is that big potato job. The key to the process is to pick the color last, after you have decided on the décor and furniture arrangement. This will narrow things down a bit. Keep in mind that the home is one unit; don’t paint room by room without thinking about the great masterpiece it is. Transitions between rooms and colors may be awkward if you aren’t thoughtful of this. Pay attention to the rugs, fabric, or artwork that you own. Are there any common colors? More than likely, you picked these things based on an unconscious preference for certain colors. Once you have narrowed the color choice down to a smaller number, take the plunge with your favorite and paint an accent wall in the bathroom. It is simple, you won’t have to do a lot of painting, and you can see the new color in action. Take a few things into consideration when you are building up the atmosphere:

Pay attention to your mood.

Colors have a powerful impact on our psychology. Wearing black can make us feel depressed and grey projects a lack of confidence. Bright colors always seem to give us energy, and the same thing could be said about the color of your walls. Cooler colors, like greens, blues, or purples, create more of a subdued, proper environment that may pair well with dinner parties or other formal gatherings. Warm colors, like reds, yellows, and oranges, create a more sociable atmosphere that may work better for casual settings. Just think long and hard before putting bright orange in your kid’s bedroom, as it could hinder sleep and make she or he more excitable.

Pay attention to transitions.

As I said before, you should be thinking of the house as one piece of art. When you move from room to room, do the colors clash? Do you notice any sudden feelings of discomfort? It may be painful to go from a bright yellow room to one that is a darker blue. If you would like to create movement around a room, think about painting different walls shades of the same color. Start with an accent wall, then go lighter as you move wall to wall. This technique can turn a stagnant living room, into an exciting (and relaxing) lounge!

Pay attention to lighting.

You finally pick out the color you are deeply in love with only to find that it burns your eyes because of a window with natural light nearby. Lighting is a very important aspect to consider. Bright colors will work better as an accent wall when paired with indirect light, while a soft color may be incredibly cozy in a room covered in the sun’s rays. The rule of thumb here is that daylight shows truer colors, incandescent brings out warmer tones, and fluorescent lighting projects a blue onto surfaces.