Guest Blogger: Choosing Paint Shouldn’t Be So Hard

Hello again! I’m pretty flippin happy to be back writing for Surrounded By Pretty. Stephanie has such a great site here so it means a lot that she’s asked for me to return.

Recently I’ve been reminded that choosing the right paint color and tone is not an easy process. If it were, everyone would have the perfect colors up on their walls. So I’m thinking it seems right for me to share some of the tips I’ve learned as a designer. So, here goes…

Get Inspiration. I have addressed this in a post called ‘Color Selections‘. Basically, choosing something that has all of the colors you like is a great cheat sheet. It has already chosen all of the colors for you. Just pick the color that you believe makes the best choice for your walls. Once you have the basic idea, you need to take it to your nearest Home Depot, or any paint store nearby, and start to choose some colors.

Paint SwatchColor Hue, Value and Saturation. When you find a paint swatch your looking at colors, or hues. Red, Green and Orange are all hues. On the swatch you’ll see the values of each hue. Choosing the color can be the easiest part, however it is the the value that begins to trip some people up. You need to find your top three hues and determine the appropriate value. Don’t ever just go with one paint color. Ever.

Get Samples and Test It Out. It is always best to have multiple options to take home and choose from. Once you’ve found your 3 favorite hues and values, you need to get samples to take home. You can paint quite a bit with these small sample sizes, and trust me it is so very worth it.

Lighting. When you are testing out colors you’re looking for what works best with your overall scheme. Keep in mind that your lighting varies greatly from that of the paint store. So you need to be sure you see what the paint looks like during the day, at night, or with whatever light source you’ll have. Trust me. Paint can look incredibly different depending on the type and amount of lighting that is supplied.

More than One ColorMore Than One Color. If you are planning to use more than one color at a time, you absolutely need to test them out together. Be sure you’re confirming which will be the main hue, and which will be your accent. Two different hues should have a similar value or saturation. Otherwise it may clash and wont look right.

Rooms That Connect. If you have an open floor plan, just be sure that the paint being used in the different rooms look cohesive. Even though they are separate, if you can see both the colors at the same time, then they need to work together.

Finish. This is important because the more you plan to use and or potentially destroy a room, the more durable the finish should be. The higher the traffic, the higher the gloss should be. Satin and egg shell are the most common paint finishes. For help choosing the appropriate finish, see Painting is Unbearable, and it should clear up any confusion.

Be sure to check out Benjamin Moore’s interactive Paint Guide to help you out even further.

Written by Rhiannon Gillis. Rhiannon is a designer based out of Los Angeles and writes for the design blog

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