How to Pick Interior Paint for a House: Tips for Color Scheme Selections for Inside the Home

How to Pick Interior Paint for a House: Tips for Color Scheme Selections for Inside the Home

Painting is probably the most frequently done amateur home remodel. It seems like a no-brainer: move the furniture, spread the drop cloths, prep the walls and woodwork, go to the paint store and pick the color, roll out a couple of coats, and voila, a delightful new room. Too bad if , after all that work, the new room is darker or lighter than expected, or worse, the color turns out to have a green or purple tint that didn’t show up in the can or even in the first coat.

Understand Color Theory Basics

Professionals describe color using three terms-hue, value, and intensity. Simply put, value refers to how light or dark the color is. Hue describes the color itself-green, brown, gold, etc. Intensity is a bit more complicated. Every school child is introduced to the primary colors, red, yellow and blue, and the secondaries, orange, green and purple. Primary colors are the only pure colors that exist. All other colors are created by mixing a combination of hues. Intensity refers to color saturation- the amount of pure color in a given tint, which can be seen as the difference between the red of a firetruck, and the red of a flowerpot.

Look Closely at So Called Neutrals

Since all colors except the primaries are made by mixing pigments together, every color belongs to a specific family. Beige may be a soft, light brown, but it is also a soft light brown with a pink, yellow, grey, green, or peach cast. The differences may seem infinitesimal, but put a beige-to-the green sofa against a beige-to-the pink painted wall, and the effect is bilious. When selecting a neutral, pay attention to the deeper colors that appear on the same card or page. The light neutral on the top of a page of gold will show a warm, yellow, or creamy tint on a large surface, beige on a card of taupes will be pink, etc.

Ignore Color Names

Color names have no more to do with colors that product names have to do with products. While names like Hunter Green, Candy Apple Red, and Navy Blue do have some recognizable meaning, Moonglow Mist and Sierra Beige can mean almost anything, including the name of the paint company president’s boat, or where he spent his summer vacation.

Wall Colors on Walls-Take Samples Home!

Select colors based on where they appear in the manufacturers display, and take the samples home, where they can be viewed in the room in which they will go. Study them in daylight and in whatever artificial light is prevalent in the space, on sunny days, and rainy ones. Be certain that the sample taped up is large enough to give a true sense of the color-3” x 5” is the smallest, and larger is better. When the choices are narrowed down to two, buy a small quantity of the paint, and roll on a 2’ x 2’ square right on the wall. Repeat the study steps until the colors have been viewed in every possible lighting condition.

Pick Paint Last

Paint colors come in an almost infinite variety, and computer matching technology has given home decorators an even larger palette. When selecting a paint color as part of a total room color scheme, start with the item with the fewest options. This will probably be the flooring, but might also be upholstery fabric, or an antique tapestry. It’s a million times easier to find a paint that matches the rug than it is to find a rug that matches the paint.


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