Selecting Paint Color
Selecting a paint color can be one of the most frustrating tasks facing a home owner. Painting a space will make the most impact on your finished product. So it is worth taking your time and doing it well. Don't ever base your selection on those tiny paint chips.
The paint companies are no help unfortunately. In recent years they have introduced literally thousands of possibilities. If you are unconvinced, just visit any Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, Duron, C2 store or Home Center. Here’s how we select colors.
First of all, before you buy paint, bring the chips (lots of them), sheet or a samples to hang in your own home. The color and how you perceive it will depend on the room, natural light during the day and the lighting in your home. We think it’s best to place samples on your walls for a couple of days or better for a week. Live with them and see how you feel about them. See the paint color looks with your rug, flooring, furniture and accessories.
Many paint manufacturers now provide either large sheets (24” x 36”) or small jars of sample paint that you can buy and take home for just the above purpose. While these may seem fine, we don’t think they provide you with a large enough sample. Also, the large sheets don’t always exactly look like the finish of the actual paint. Some manufacturers will take issue with this statement. The same holds for the sample jars and besides they are usually only available in certain colors.
Best way to select paint color
Rather than relying on a paint chip, a 24” x 36” sheet or buying a sample jar to base your selection on, we suggest the following.
- Buy a quart of the color and finish that you are considering (Ask the Paint Store Clerk if the color can be mixed in a quart),
- Buy some primer,
- Go to a drug store or craft store and buy several white poster sheets (24” x 36”),
- Prime the sheets and also paint them with two coats of paint you selected,
- Now hang your sheets a group on your wall(s) and observe them, and
- If you are considering another color or shade, repeat steps 1 through 5.
By doing the above you can get an excellent idea of how your space will look and not base your selection on a single sheet or tiny paint chip. Take a look above at how we chose our color below the kitchen cabinets. We actually painted about 3 sheets using two different colors. They gave us an excellent idea on how the colors would look under different lighting conditions.
Yes, this is much more expensive then using a sample sheet or jar of sample paint which cost between $5-10. However, a quart of paint is not that expensive and the sheets at your craft center are generally $0.50 a piece. That bold blue may just be overwhelming when you see 3-4 sheets of it in your room. Then again it may be good in another part of your home or maybe just on one wall.
Some of you may be thinking that using the above process is overkill. Keep the following two things in mind before you discount them:
- You are going to be living with your selection for at least 5 years or longer and
- It sure beats buying a gallon and painting a wall, only to hear that dreaded phrase “I hate this color.”
We ultimately decided on two colors in the above kitchen using the method above. The red color is from C2 Wulfenite was used on the backsplash under the cabinets and extended into the eat-in-space. However, we used the Sherwin Williams Crescent Cream on one wall. This made for a better transition into the family room which was painted antique white. See exactly what paints we used in our house and what brands to buy.