smaller inde design logo

How to Choose a Paint Color

Picking a paint color can be daunting. The wrong paint color can ruin the mood of your home and create a sense of unease, while the right paint color can make your home bright and inviting, adding a sense of peace, and comfort. Here are a few tips on how to choose the right paint color for your home.

The first thing I tell my clients when redecorating, remodeling, or building, is to pick your paint color last. There are thousands of paint colors to choose from, but only so many cabinet colors, flooring colors, tile colors, and counter top colors. When building or remodeling, if you choose your paint color too early in the process you could be narrowing down your choices for the rest of the room. Or be ruling out things you may ultimately love. If you know what color your cabinets, floors, countertops and backsplash are going to be in your kitchen, you’ve naturally narrowed paint colors down to a manageable number. So rather than going through the entire swatch book of 3000 colors, you have about 10-15 that you like and that will work beautifully.

This same rule applies if you are simply updating your paint color and nothing else. Look at everything that is already there – what color are your floors, furniture, and accessories? You’ll want to choose a color that works with everything else in your space. To help you narrow it down, choose a specific color that you already have somewhere – maybe in a rug you love, or in a piece of pottery, and use a version of that. Remember, if you love a certain color but it might be a little too vibrant or too dark for your space, you can have that color lightened or darkened to compliment. For example, if you really love a specific shade of blue for your dining room but are afraid it may be too dark, have the color lightened by 50% for the perfect lighter version of the color you already love.

The next thing I tell my clients about paint colors is to use what you love, but don’t be afraid of color science either. There are many studies that show colors are relative to moods and feelings in your space. Bright, warm colors tend to bring along feelings of excitement, energy and movement. These colors are often best for kitchens and dining rooms where you entertain, adding positive energy while cooking and eating. Cooler, lighter shades are thought to bring a sense of relaxation, calm and peace. If you love the feeling of a spa-like bathroom where you want to relax in a bubble bath at the end of a long day, these colors will work best in your space. At the end of the day, it is your home, and if you want bright orange in every room, that is your choice! If it makes you happy, go for it.

Some clients are concerned about how to choose paint colors that will flow from room to room. Firstly, you do not have to paint every room a different color. I have seen some gorgeous homes that use one or two colors throughout the entire house. You can then differentiate each room with fun pops of color in your furniture, drapes, accessories and pillows. If you like the idea of having multiple colors in your home, a good rule of thumb is to choose colors on the same swatch. If you love a light gray color for your living room, don’t be afraid to go two or three colors down the swatch family and use the darker gray shade for the dining room. If you have an open floor plan, a good option is using one color for all your main areas, such as the entry way, living room, dining room, kitchen and hallways. Then choose separate colors for your bedrooms and bathrooms.

A few notes about sampling paint colors. Bigger is better. It is very difficult to see the full value of a color from the small swatches on a paint deck. If you can, get the largest swatch possible – like an 8×11”. If you can’t get that large of a swatch, buy a small sample of a few colors and paint them on your walls. Try to paint an 8×11” or larger size area on your wall. Remember to let it fully dry before you decide, as wet paint and dry paint are very different in color. Remember to take time to really look at it in different light and different times of day. You may love a color in the morning sun, but late at night it may be too dark. Remember that different rooms have different amounts of light, and the same color can look very different in every room.

The last thing I tell my clients when picking paint colors is to pick a focal point and stick to it. If you absolutely love a bright green paint color, do it, but let that color be the shining star of the room. Make your furniture and accessories neutral in color so that there isn’t too much for your eyes to focus on. On the contrary, if you love bright green but don’t want to commit to it all over your walls, choose a neutral color for the walls and make bright green your accent color. Use it in bedding, curtains, pottery and rugs.

At Inde, we have everything you need to pick the perfect paint color. We have multiple binders full of our favorite large color swatches. Stop by the studio today to ask us your paint and design questions!