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The Simple (or not so) Method to Choosing Paint Colors

Let us start with a story:

There once was a family that moved into a new-to-them home. The wood flooring was original, yet recently refinished to leave behind the old and worn look for a new tone, just a shade lighter than dark walnut. New oil-rubbed bronze light fixtures were installed in every room that matched the hardware to all the doors, windows, and cabinets throughout the rooms and halls. After a day of searching the local furniture stores, the family found pieces that displayed the old farmhouse charm beautifully, while still giving off a modern vibe. It was perfect, or at least almost perfect. The walls were a disaster. Looking like they had not been painted in half a century, the walls were lined with light black soot and little specks that were left as presents from the flies that make their way in thru the front double doors in the fall.

After a trip to the local paint store the family returned home suffering from emotional exhaustion. There was only going to be one color throughout the main living spaces. Each child, twins who could not be more different from one another, would have their own room colors, as would the mother and father in their large suite style bedroom and bath. The fifth color would be on the walls in the families two shared bathrooms. How could choosing colors be so difficult?

Being the last step needed before moving in, the family felt enormous pressure to get new paint on the walls, so they made the trip to the paint store a second day in a row, and settled on paint they thought they could live with. They were not in love with it, but it would make do. Being busy with work, school, and packing, the family hired painters to come in and paint before the moving truck arrived. The next time the family would see the finished walls were on moving day.

Frustration set in for the husband and wife when they realized they were not happy with how the furniture looked with the wall color. They felt sick every time they walked into the kitchen and saw their maple cabinets looking bright orange next to the walls. The twin's bedroom colors did not match the bedspreads in either of their rooms. At least the bathroom colors were okay, but the amount of time spent in the bathroom was nothing compared to the rest. Now they were out the cost of paint, the cost of the painters, and they hated the colors they were living with.

This story may be words on a screen for you right now, but for a family you may not know, this became their reality. So, how can you ensure this does not become your reality? Read on as we give you a number of different factors that should be considered when choosing your paint colors.

  1. What theme are you interested in creating? Are you hoping for a modern look, or a beach house theme? Do you consider your preference to be classic or retro? These questions should be answered before choosing your colors because they make a huge difference in what colors can and cannot be paired with each other.

  2. What belongs in the room? Furniture, rugs, and flooring all work to set the tone of a room. A very cold looking piece of furniture will most likely look out of place with a warm wall paint. If there is a specific piece of artwork that will be hanging on the wall? Consideration needs to be made for how that piece would look on the chosen color. Furthermore, is the hope that the art would stand out from the wall, or gently blend with it?

  3. Does the room have a focal point that already stands out? Examples could be a fireplace or antique piece of furniture. Eyes are automatically drawn to a focal point. Make sure that the chosen color does not draw eyes away from it, unless your goal is to do so.

  4. What type of lighting does the room have? Natural vs. artificial. Warm vs. daylight vs. cool white. Lighting plays a significant role in how much, or how little, the undertones of a color are brought forward. Lighting also plays a major role in deciding how bright, or dark, a room is once painted.

  5. What type of finish do you want your wall to have? The shinier the paint, the more it will reflect. If you love a semi-gloss finish, or in some cases even satin, be prepared that the reflective nature of the finish may change the look and feel of the color.

  6. What colors do you like? What seems like such a simple question has different reasons for being asked. First, no one wants a color they do not like on the wall. Second, when we look back at undertones of a paint color, knowing what colors you do NOT want on the wall are important. Many people will pick a beige color thinking it is safe. However, let's just say you do not like the color green at all. There are many shades of beige that have green undertones that may be more noticeable in certain lights and at certain times of the day. Be careful to choose paint colors that shy away from your list of what colors not to paint.

Now you have asked yourself the necessary questions and considered different colors of paint. Be sure to get a sample of the paint prior to purchasing. If you purchased sample paint, do NOT put it directly on a wall, but instead paint an 8x10 canvas. You can move the canvas around easily, and not worry about causing brushstrokes or other imperfections that could show through the next layer. Most stores now give you the option to purchase extra-large (9x9 or 8x10) swatches of their colors. This purchase is well worth it.

It is important throughout this process to give yourself time to find the color that will be right for you and your space. While this can be a stressful process, there can always be a positive resolution at the end. If you find that choosing paint colors causes too much panic, stress, or worry, or you would prefer having someone help with this decision, there are many professionals out today who would love to help. If you have chosen to hire out your painting, look for a company that offers color consultations as a service. Here at Barefoot Painter LLC every customer qualifies for a free 1-hour color consultation upon contract signing. Once we meet and discuss colors, we will order paint samples for you and have them sent directly to your door. We understand how hard this process can be, and our goal is to provide customers with high quality work every time, without adding undue stress along the way!

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