As an interior designer, I work on projects big and small. Out of all of the projects I have worked on, the number one reason I get called is to help in selecting paint colors. Since the majority of my clients live in the suburbs in homes that are mass produced, their walls are a sea of very thin low quality builder beige flat paint that gets damaged easily. Many new homes have rooms with ceilings up to 20 feet tall, so most people decide to hire professionals to paint and don't want to hire them twice by selecting the wrong color of paint. That is where I come in - to ensure that the paint color will not offend but is still interesting. So, I have decided to share my designer secret to selecting paint colors - as long as you can keep it a secret (just kidding, you can tell your friends). So, here goes......
Start and Stop
Older homes tend to have walls with square corners that are an obvious place to start and stop a new paint color. Newer homes tend to have rounded corners that make it hard to start and stop a different paint color (you can start and stop a paint color on the edge of the wall before a rounded corner starts, but I don't suggest it). Look at the architecture of your home to determine where to start and stop different paint colors. Bedrooms are typically self contained so they are easy to find a start and stop point, but homes with an open concept living space are a bit trickier. Even though you may want different colors throughout your home, it may look better for you to select one color for the entire open living space since there may not be a good spot to start and stop different paint colors. In my personal home, I had to select the same color for the entryway, living room, kitchen, breakfast room, dining room, and upstairs hallway since there was not a good place to start and stop.
Do some research to figure out what color family you want for your paint color. Maybe you want a buttery yellow, a warm gray, or a dark beige. You can look at design magazines, model homes, Pinterest, or your friends' homes to get a general idea for what colors you like.
Next, visit a hardware store to select paper paint colors - they are free so take as many as you need. Select colors that are darker than you think you want and other colors that are lighter than you think you want. Keep in mind that the lighting in these stores is very different than the lighting in your home, so you need to get many paint colors to test in your home.
Pick a Color
Once you are home, attach the paint samples to your wall and stand back at least 5 feet to look at them. There should be some obvious ugly ducklings, so remove them from the wall. If you have a paint sample with multiple colors on it, fold the paint sample so you can only see the one color that you like. Keep removing paint samples from the wall until you are left with just a few. Move the paint samples to different walls in your home to see them in different light. Lighting in your home emits different colors - daylight is a different color than evening light and different light fixtures in your home emit different colors also. Keep analyzing the paint colors on your wall throughout the day and keep removing the ones you do not like until you are left with the perfect paint color for your home.
If you are having doubts about the paint color you have selected, then buy a small paint tester can of paint. Paint testers cost around $2 to $5 and can help relieve the stress of picking a paint color. Also pick up some disposable foam brushes to apply the paint to your walls. After painting a small section of your wall, live with the color for at least 24 hours. If you are unhappy, then start the process over again (or call me to help). If you are happy, then call your painter to get started banishing the builder beige from your home.