Who knew that choosing a wall color for your home could be so difficult? Did you know that there are well over 150,000 shades of white paint? I wouldn’t even consider some of them white, but they technically are! Do you see painting your home in the future? If so, I am sharing 7 tips to help choose the perfect wall color!
It is not a secret that my husband and I recently had a big move to Florida. We also bought a home that needed some improvement! I did a blog post a few months ago that you might want to check out; 5 Things to Consider Before Doing a Home Remodel. You can click here to read it. I needed to choose a paint color and wanted to go with something neutral but pretty. When I told the guy at the paint store, I was going to paint almost the entire house the same color he kind of gasped! I don’t like to see several different colors in a home. But that is just me!
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1. Sample 1/2 Pints
It had been a while since I had done a “big” paint project. From what I can remember they didn’t use to have the ½ pint sample paints that you can buy. Lowes often has a sale where you can get them for $4 a piece! Gone are the days that you are stuck with just those small little paper swatches to stick up on the wall! Lol!
Another option that the larger paint stores have are peel & stick color samples. I went to Sherwin Williams, and they gave me some that were large, 8×8. It will give you a better feel for what the color will look like in your room.
2. Attention To Lighting
Have you noticed that the color of something can look different in different lighting? I won’t even go into how everyone can see something different. AKA dress gate was the dress gold & white or black & blue. If you don’t know what I am talking about Google it! Lol!
After you find a color that you think might be the one make sure you test it in multiple locations in your home. Lighting plays a big role in the way color can turn out. Whether natural light or artificial light.
- South Facing Light – You will typically have very strong direct sunlight. This can brighten up dark colors and cause whites to look more muted.
- North Facing Light – Soft light which is much less intense than the South facing. This will pull a much warmer tone from your paint colors. Your dark colors will appear darker and light colors more muted.
- East Facing Light – This is where you will see the morning sunlight the most! Your colors will be brightened in the morning and by later in the afternoon and evening colors will appear cooler.
- West Facing Light – You will get the afternoon sun in these rooms. In the morning your colors will have rich golden tones and brighten up in the afternoon.
We have some lightbulbs that can be controlled by an app on our phone. We can change the color, make them warm, cool, or any color on the spectrum! Put them on a timer to come on automatically! So neat! It doesn’t take much to impress me, lol!
- Incandescent light – Some people might refer to these as “old-fashioned” light bulbs! I prefer these to fluorescent bulbs. Call me crazy but fluorescent bulbs flicker and they are not great for my migraines! Incandescent bulbs typically give off more of a warm or yellow tone.
- Fluorescent bulbs – I must give it to them! These have come a long way over the years! If you are looking for cooler lighting, then this is for you! Fluorescent bulbs are known for giving off a blue/green/gray color. These are great to use in a kitchen or office space.
3. Consider Resale
Raise your hand if you have been living in your home for more than 10 years. I wish we were but people just aren’t staying in a home for a lifetime anymore so chances are you will be moving. So, I highly recommend you consider this when you are choosing your wall color.
I am someone that can look past wall color when we are looking for a home but not everyone can. Plus, paint is expensive! If a potential buyer needs to paint an entire house, they may pass on buying your home. So, word to the wise go as neutral as you are comfortable with. It will save you in the long run!
4. Understand Undertones
When some people look at a “tan” color swatch they only see tan. So, they buy a few gallons of paint, go home, and paint all their walls. Then a horrible thing happens, maybe their room gets a lot of sunlight, or it doesn’t. Suddenly that “tan” looks peach. Has this ever happened to you? It has me, and it is an expensive lesson to learn!
Every paint color has an undertone or “base color” to it. The undertone will help to decide what color comes out in different lights. This is why it is a good idea to put samples of the colors you like in different rooms in your house so you can see them at different times of the day. I always ask the person at the paint store what the base color is. That way you will have an idea if you want to run for the hills or have a better idea of what color it might pull when you get home.
Warm colors typically have undertones of, orange, red, or yellow. Cool colors have undertones of, green, blue, or purple.
5. Choose the Right Sheen
In our home in South Carolina, the owners before us painted the entire interior with flat paint. I cannot explain to you how much we disliked this sheen of the paint. Let’s go over your choices and which one might work best for you!
- Gloss or Semi-Gloss – If you like shine this is the sheen for you! Great for areas for high traffic like doorways, trim, baseboards, and cabinets. You know, things that take a beating and may need to be wiped down often. This is typically a very durable paint.
- Satin Sheen – Does Semi-gloss have too much shine for you? Then a satin sheen might work well for you. It is a step down from semi-gloss. It is a good choice if you have kids or pets and to use in high-traffic areas. You can use this finish on both walls and trims. It would be great for a bathroom or hallway.
- Eggshell Sheen – This is the finish that we ended up going with for most of the walls in our home. I chose it because it has a slight sheen and can easily disguise any wall imperfections if needed. You can also easily wash the walls if needed. So, it is durable! It is a great paint to use in a bedroom, living room, dining room, you name it!
- Flat Sheen – As far as am I concerned there is only one place you would want to use a flat sheen and that is the ceiling. It reflects the least amount of light and will help to hide imperfections. You might think, hey! That sounds great I want to use that everywhere! Trust me, you don’t. They do not clean up well and if you need to scrub them you will end up taking the paint along with it. There are always exceptions! There may be new paints out there made to be more durable that are flat, but I have not met them yet! Lol!
6. Don’t Confine Yourself to One Brand
Did you know that most paint stores where you go to buy paint can pull up any paint color by name and get the color code? Including Lowes! I decided on Pale Oak by Benjamin Moore and was able to have Sherwin Williams pull it up in their system by the code and have it mixed up there. Our contractor was able to get a larger discount through Sherwin Williams.
So, don’t confine yourself to only looking for colors at one store! If you see something you like go for it! You can choose the actual paint and sheen at the store that you choose, and they can mix the color you want. PS and save money in the process!
7. Sample Multiple Colors in the Same Color Family
When we were choosing the color for our walls, I knew I wanted something neutral. I wanted a “greige”. It is a mix between beige and gray. We ended up with Pale Oak. I highly recommend choosing several color samples that are close to the same color family. Maybe just slightly off from each other by a shade or two. I say this because that shade can make a difference when you put it in your home with your lighting.
I ended up choosing 3 color samples that were so similar just off by a touch! It was surprising how much different they ended up looking when I got home and painted a sample of each in multiple rooms in our home. The lighting in each room pulled a different shade.
Please whatever you do, do not pick your paint color while you are at the paint store or hardware store! It may look great there under their lights, but it could look different when you get home and put it on your walls. It is an expensive mistake or one that you will have to look at for many years!
Also, I don’t recommend choosing a paint color based on how it looks in someone else house. It is a great idea to use as a starting point. Get a sample and try it out in your home and see how it looks with your lighting and your decorations.
Have you painted recently? Are you a fan of bright and fun colors or are you like me and enjoy neutral colors?
Please let me know in the comments if these 7 tips help you choose the perfect wall color for your next project!