To finish out our series of tips for choosing and testing paint colors, we have Cyndy to share all her expertise and real-life tips and tricks for choosing the perfect paint color for your home. Don’t forget to look at all of Cyndy’s paint palettes here (plus more over on her site!) and if you missed our other painting tips, you can check them out here:
Last month, I did something a little different and shared a “Color Spotlight”, where I dedicated a whole post to highlighting the color Benjamin Moore Beach Glass. If you missed that post, you can find it here.
Sherwin Williams Naval
This month, I wanted to share a few of my favorite tricks for choosing just the right perfect paint color for a space. Choosing colors can be challenging but with these tricks, you can eliminate the frustration and instantly pinpoint your ideal color and also eliminate and spot any hues or undertones that you don’t want to see.
**All images in today’s post have the paint color name and brand directly below each image
Benjamin Moore Silver Satin
How to Choose the Perfect Paint Color
1) Choose paint colors in your home and not at the store
The most important thing in choosing color is to look at color paint cards in the space that you want to paint in your home, versus at the paint store. The reason for this is that stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s and Sherwin Williams, all have industrial bright florescent type lighting, which can greatly alter the appearance of a color.
If you lay out your paint cards in the space you want to paint, with the lighting in the space, you will be able to better spot colors that will or won’t work in your space. Certain types of lighting can drastically change the appearance of a color. For instance, spaces with a lot natural light, can make the truest gray color look blue. Spaces with artificial light can make colors like a light warm gray color look peach or pink. If you look at those colors in your space, you can better assess and see how the color may change in your lighting.
2) Choose colors with gray undertones to neutralize
Benjamin Moore Ashland Slate
If you’re looking for the safest colors possible, look for colors that have a slight gray undertone. Gray undertones neutralize and balance color because it diffuses pigmentation, giving a more muted color. If you’re looking for a lighter blue color, a color like Benjamin Moore Gray Wisp has a gray undertone mixed with the blue.
Benjamin Moore Gray Wisp
You don’t need a lot of gray in the undertone to get a more muted/safer color. Because gray helps to neutralize undertones, it’s also a trick I use to ensure that all of the colors I choose throughout my home will work together and transitional room to room.
Benjamin Moore Mount Saint Anne
When you look at colors at the paint store, it’s real easy to spot the colors that have a gray undertone because they are the colors that border the true grays. In other words, look where the true gray begins to transition into the blues, greens, etc.. If you look at the areas where the color transition begins right after the gray, these are the colors with a gray undertone. If you want a strong gray undertone, choose the first color as the transition begins. If you want just a slight hint, choose the color 2-3 into the color.
3) See the Color in Action
Behr Perfect Taupe
Once you have narrowed down your color choices, it helps so much to see the color in action. You can do this by searching the paint color name and brand on Pinterest in the search box.
As you can see in the below screen shot, I typed in “Accessible Beige” into the Pinterest search box and several spaces popped up with rooms painted in this color:
Almost every paint color can be found by searching on Pinterest and as you look below, you’ll see I was able to see a great example of Accessible Beige painted on a wall:
Sherwin Williams Accessible Gray
Of course, it’s important to remember that paint colors will not look the same in every home but it does help to give a better overall feel for the color. The great thing is that there are so many different examples of each paint color on Pinterest that you can see your possible color in different lighting situations just by searching the color. Again, it is just a way to see the color in action and to help you determine how the color looks painted in a space.
Para Paints Sing Time
If you’re not sure of what color you’re interested, you can look through my “Pick a Paint Color” board on Pinterest here for tons of spaces painted in various colors. I always add the name and brand of the paint color to each pin so everyone can see the color in action.
4) Paint a Sample Board
Sherwin Williams Dovetail
When you have narrowed down your color to one or two possible choices, it’s important to paint a sample of the color on a large poster board and tape it to the wall. A large poster board gives you a better visual of how the color will look and it also helps to take a look at night with lights turned on to see if you will also like the color at night.
If you have a couple choices and are having a hard time narrowing it down further, painting several poster boards is the best way to better determine which color is your ideal color.
5) Tweak your Color
Sherwin Williams North Star
Don’t be afraid to customize or tweak a color. If you have done all of the above and wish that a particular color was just a little lighter, darker or a very slight change in color, tell the guys at the paint store what the color lacks or needs and they will help you assess how to tweak the color. I have found that most of the time, the color I want is usually between two shades on the paint card. I have the guys at the paint store combine the two colors and give me a sample and paint another poster board. Every time I have done this, the color is always exactly what I’m looking for. If it’s still not right, the guys at the paint store can suggest tweaks.
Benjamin Moore Thunder
Those are my 5 favorite tips for choosing paint colors. If you’re looking for my more in depth post on how tips for easily arrowing down your choices and how to instantly spot undertones, I shared all of my tips and tricks here on my blog.
For more paint tips and color palettes, you can find me over on my blog The Creativity Exchange.
Thanks for stopping by!
Cyndy is a color expert who has transitioned from the fashion world to the design world by helping others choose just the right paint colors for their homes. Cyndy takes the guesswork out of choosing paint colors and has been sharing her tips and paint color palettes with her readers for more than four years on her blog The Creativity Exchange.
Cyndy lives in East Texas and is an artist working with designers to create commissioned paintings that enhance the color and design of a space.