Tips on how to save yourself from color regret
By Sunshine Menefee
We’ve all heard the sound advice that painting a room is the biggest and cheapest way to transform a space in your home. But that change isn’t always for the better. Making a color mistake happens to us all. I myself have looked back on a room and wondered what I was thinking of at the time! So don’t feel bad if it’s happened to you. But take a few lessons from the design pros to get that color right the first time and save yourself some heart ache.
Mistake #1: Relying on a paint chip
That teeny, tiny 2” color chip should not be the basis of any decision! It’s nearly impossible for even a seasoned professional to get the perfect color simply by looking at color card. Rooms are three-dimensional and have a huge presence in any space. Use the chips as guides, but don’t rely on them for the final product. Most companies now offer sample cans of paint. Take home at least three and paint large sections on each wall of every color. You’ll quickly see how overpowering that pastel pink or rely green really is!
Mistake #2: Forgetting about natural light
Natural light is a huge factor when it comes to selecting the right color. That includes morning, afternoon and evening light. I once had a beautiful tan color on my walls. That is until 5:00 p.m. came around. The evening light made the entire room turn on olive green. Not exactly the look I was going for. That’s why those test swatches are so important. You need to see how the hue looks in all types of light. Those longer evening rays of sunshine will reflect differently than bright, mid-day rays.
Mistake #3: Picking a bright hue
This one happens a lot in children’s rooms. The color on the card looks so cheerful, but it’s overwhelming on the walls and is visually obtrusive. Stick with colors that are at the top or midway down the color card to avoid sensory overload. Save those bright colors for fun accents around the room.
Mistake #4: Not being trendy enough
I know, this sounds crazy. But hear me out. I’ve seen too many white and beige walls. They’re so boring! It tells me that you’re either renting, or you need my help. Add some personality and life to your home by selecting a favorite color to surround yourself with. I would much rather see a bold color than nothing at all. If you’re not sure what color to go with, a darker greige is always a safe bet. Unless you live in an ultra-modern home, skip the white.
Mistake #5: Having too many accent walls
An accent wall is meant to draw attention. If you have more than one, they are competing and your eye doesn’t know where to look first. It creates an unsettling feeling. Stick with one wall. Choose one that has some architectural interest and natural stopping points. A vaulted wall or the one behind the sofa are good choices. If you’re gonna do it, paint the whole wall. Don’t paint a wall that you have to create a breaking point for.
Mistake #6: Matching everything
Create interest and contrast by selecting colors a few shades darker than your furniture or pillows. Getting the same shade makes things a little boring.
Mistake #7: Choosing the wrong sheen
Selecting the right sheen is extremely important. Flat paint does not do any favors for high traffic areas. It’s very hard to keep clean. While gloss shows every imperfection in sight. Consider where the paint will be going and how the room is used to get the right paint for the job. Eggshell is a pretty standard choice when it comes to walls. It won’t show every ding and is more cleanable than flat paint.
Mistake #8: Forgetting about flooring
Flooring is a major design element in any room and should not be overlooked. Each tile or hardwood has different colors that make up the overall feel of the floor. You might not realize those subtle differences until you paint the walls the wrong color. If possible, take a sample with you to the paint store to see how certain colors stack up.
Mistake #9: Not painting the ceiling
This is another huge design space that is constantly overlooked, but it has a major impact on the space. A white ceiling creates a stopping point for the eye, breaking up the design. While you don’t have to paint it the same color as the walls, consider a light hue for up top to make the entire room feel more cohesive and pulled together.
So next time you’re considering painting, keep things few helpful hints in mind and avoid a costly and time-consuming disaster!