Beginner’s Tips and Tricks for Painting With The Perfect Palette


Maybe you have moved into a new house or it just feels like time for a fresh change. Paint can make a significant difference in the way a room looks and feels but the choices can be dizzying. Below are some tips and tricks to finding the perfect colors for your home.

Take Your Time

No matter how good it looks, don’t buy your paint the first time you see it in the store or online. Many factors can affect the way that colors look including lighting and other colors that are nearby. You might have spent hours looking for the perfect shades and maybe you found combinations at the store that look great, but the lighting or furniture at your home will change the way they look when you get there. To avoid unpleasant surprises, grab paint cards in a variety of similar colors so you can look at them again at home. While you’re there, make sure that you are comparing them to a nice clean, preferably white wall to help the colors show up more true. It may seem like a subtle change but you might find that your taupes and salmons look different next to benjamin moore white dove than they do next to benjamin moore white flour. You can also try experimenting with features in your home that affect the colors. For example, try a different kind of lightbulb, let in more light with sheer curtains or find furniture with more neutral tones.

One you have narrowed down your choices, try paint samples. Some paint companies sell paint samples cheaply so you can try it a little before you commit to a whole wall. This is also a good way to check the colors when your paint samples dry because different types of finish may dry slightly lighter or darker. For example, glossy paint may look a bit darker when it is dry and flat paint may look slightly lighter.

Find The Best Color Scheme

If you have furniture, look at the colors that you already have. Pick out colors from your art or patterns in carpets or upholstery but don’t go overboard with a single color. It’s very pleasing to decorate rooms with at least three colors that compliment each other. Mark McCauley has a great rule for color ratio (plus other good tips) that he calls the 60-30-10 rule. However you blend your colors, the most dominant color should be at 60%, the next at 30% and the last 10% are the accents that add a little umph.

There are many ways to use your chosen colors. For example, the walls might be a light neutral color, the couch and the carpet or curtains could be a darker color and then spice it up with accents like patterned area rugs, throw pillows, art, or mirrors with brightly colors frames. Not all patterns have to match exactly, but they should be similar enough to go together. For example, you might zebra striped throw pillows with a carpet that has black and white lines but not shaped like zebra stripes.

Consider Mood

Neutral and cool colors like some shades of gray or blue can be very relaxing where warm, vibrant colors like yellow, red and orange can be more dramatic. Combinations of these can be nice too, such as a room with neutral gray or tan walls and a red accent wall. A whole room in red could be overwhelming to some people but with just one red wall you still have a striking color that affects the whole room.

Bright colors can be fun for kids but be careful how bright and intense the colors are in the kids’ rooms.For example, colors like hot pink might be popular for girls, but these colors can actually make over stimulate kids and make them more hyper. Consider using a softer pink with other more neutral or calm colors.

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