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Choosing a Paint Color You Can Live With

Posted by Nolan Painting on March 23, 2021
how to choose the right paint color
how to choose the right paint color
Photo credit Shutterstock

When it comes to choosing a paint color for your home, it can take time and a little bit of patience to land on the right color for your particular space. Interior paint colors should be chosen to accentuate the space, not take away or overwhelm it. It can be hard to determine the difference sometimes between colors you like and colors that you want to live with every day.

We’ve got a few tips to help you choose the interior wall paint that is best for your space below.


Get a Variety of Options

Most paint stores have swatches that you can take with you. Our suggestion would be to take a bunch of swatches so that you have a lot to choose from when you get home. A color that looks appealing in the store could look dramatically different at home so you want to have a bunch to choose from when you place them around a space.

A pro tip would be to be especially careful with the more neutral shades as even the slightest difference in tone can have a large impact on interior wall paint when the painting is finished. Make sure to grab swatches that are both lighter and darker of a shade you really like so that you can hold them up against the wall you are thinking of placing that color. Sunlight and furniture surrounding it can affect the color you see so the more options you give yourself the better! Chances are you end up with a similar color to the original one that you liked.

Bring Swatches of Color To The Paint Store: It can also be helpful to bring a swatch of something stark white or black with you to the paint store so that you can get an initial idea of the true color of a paint swatch. Holding up white or black against a color can allow you to see its true undertones, which can be important in really seeing the true color.

Other items you may consider bringing along include a piece of fabric from furniture in the space or a picture that hangs in the room. These items can help you choose which swatches of color fit in your space the best.


Post the Swatches on the Wall

We recommend taping the swatches on the wall in the space you are contemplating color so that you can see how the swatches appear both at different times of the day and within the space itself. Believe it or not, the other colors that surround the paint, (such as furniture and other items in the room), can impact how you see that particular paint color. When we see colors, we see them in relation to other colors that surround them.


Get Paint Color Samples

Choosing the right paint colors for your home is no easy task. While paint isn’t permanent, insofar as you can always paint over it with another color, you’re still more than justified in treating it as a long-term change. What this means in practical terms is that you want to get it right the first time.

That means you’ll want to obtain some home color samples. Taking color samples for a test run is important for finding just the right shade and finish, but there’s a right and a wrong way to use them.

The Wrong Way: Color Chaos

You’ve probably heard the advice: If you’re going to paint your walls, try out a sample first on the wall, to see how you like the color. The reality, though, is that this bit of conventional wisdom is a myth.

There’s obviously no better way to test out a home paint color than to see it applied to the area in question, but slapping a bunch of paint onto an interior wall might actually do more harm than good.

What really happens when homeowners start painting patches of wall is you end up with a jumble of thinly painted layers with rough edges — samples that can’t do justice to the color. It’s disorienting and bound to be ugly. You also run the risk of introducing colors and textures — that won’t be easy to paint over, even after several coats of the color you eventually decide on. Darker colors, for example, can sometimes take a great deal of time, effort and resources to hide fully if you ultimately go in a different direction and choose a lighter color.

Luckily, there’s a right way to use color samples for your home that won’t create unhelpful eyesores throughout your house.

The Right Way: Color, Cleanly Painted

The eye loves strong, consistent colors and clean-cut corners. As such, the rough edges of paint samples are going to be off-putting, no matter how lovely the actual color is. That’s why we recommend painting a piece of white, thin index card stock with two full coats of color, and taping it to the wall as a sample.

You’ll keep your walls clean and avoid making a mess that will have to primered over when you do select a final color. Additionally, you’ll find that the strength of color you get from painting on a clean piece of card will give you a much more accurate idea of what the actual wall is going to look like fully painted.

Note that this process goes a bit beyond taking picking a house color sample from the paint wall at your local paint store. Although their panoply of printed color samples, hues and finishes is a helpful starting point, simply holding these pieces of cardstock up against your bare walls to “test out” the color won’t be of much help to you. The printer might’ve rendered something close to the final color of the actual paint. However, it’s still no substitute for seeing a double coat of paint, properly applied, to help judge what the paint will look like once it’s actually covering the area.


Color Consulting

If you need additional assistance, Nolan Painting has color consults who can share their expertise in choosing the right interior and exterior paint colors for your home. Our consultants can guide you specifically based on your style and goals for your space. It can be an overwhelming process picking colors, and we are here to help!

We are ready to assist you with your next project! Give us a call at (610) 572-2806 today to get your next paint project started or schedule an estimate online.