#1 Rule of Thumb for choosing the right paint color
(Keep reading and I’ll include #2, #3, #4, and #5)
I’ll preface this blogpost by saying if you are someone who likes bright, bold colors on your wall, this tip is NOT for you! But if you like neutral, serene colors, read on!
Drumroll please! The color you like will almost always be more pleasing to the eye when it is less saturated or with a gray undertone. If that makes no sense to you, don’t worry, I’ll explain further.
If you look through Pinterest and swoon over the beautiful wall colors, you’d sometimes be surprised when you see those colors on the paint chips (the cards usually in a big display case in your paint store). They are usually much less vibrant than what you’d expect, but instead very muted. Many have a gray undertone to them. I know this by experience. Let me tell you about my first experience trying to pick out a blue paint color for my bedroom. I knew the look I wanted. I had been seeing these beautiful, calming blue rooms on the internet, tv, and in the magazines and I wanted that look. So, I went to the paint store and started bringing home blue paint samples. They just weren’t right. They looked on the paint chip like the blue I was trying to achieve, but on my wall it just wasn’t giving me that serene look I was going for. I finally, on a whim, picked up a sample pot of Benjamin Moore Quiet Moments (you can see a swatch of the color below).
Benjamin Moore Quiet Moments
As you can see in the swatch, this is not a color that completely reads blue, there is a lot of gray in it. But…. this was it! I finally had that calming, serene feeling I was going for. You can see below a picture of this color in my bedroom. It definitely looks blue when it’s on the walls (even more so in person). This is the reason I wanted to share this information with all of you, so you don’t have to go through the headaches I did trying to find those magazine worthy paint colors. Keep reading and I’ll give you an easy way to get this right.
Bedroom painted with Benjamin Moore Quiet Moments
If you’re thinking, that sounds great, but how am I supposed to get this right, I do have a tip. I am going to tell you what I know from my experience, which is with Sherwin Williams paints. Since I’ve painted my bedroom, I’ve painted numerous pieces of furniture, many more rooms, and have helped friends and family pick out paint colors. When I open up my Sherwin Williams paint deck, I immediately go to a section called Fundamentally Neutral and I almost always pick a color from this section. This has these neutral, serene colors in all shades already grouped together for you.
Most paint retailers (even the big box stores) will often have the paint decks for other brands behind the counter. So, if you are trying to pick a paint color and don’t want to go to a Sherwin Williams store, you probably don’t have to. Also, other stores can normally mix colors from other brands, so don’t dismiss a paint color because it’s not the brand you’re buying. They normally will only need either a paint chip, or the color on the paint deck to mix the color.
So, if you can get your hands on a Sherwin Williams paint deck, in the front there are two sections Essentials and Fundamentally Neutral. I would recommend that unless you want a pop of color on your walls, to pick a wall color from these sections. If you are looking for a white or gray color, you will find those colors in the Essentials section. All other colors are in the Fundamentally Neutral section. If you are looking at the paint chips on their wall you can go by the numbers. The Essentials are 7000-7083, and the Fundamentally Neutrals are from 6000-6280.
Below I’ve included some pictures of rooms with colors from this Fundamentally Neutral section (there are some that are only links, I apologize for this. I’m working on getting permission to showcase photos with these colors). By keeping with a muted color, you can have color on your wall, but it is not overpowering. I also have a board on Pinterest labeled Sherwin Williams Paint. This is jam-packed full of almost 400 Sherwin Williams colors, some neutral and some not. Here is a link to the board.
Sherwin Williams Rainwashed
Sherwin Williams Tradewind
Sherwin Williams Samovar Silver
Sherwin Williams Krypton
Sherwin Williams Contented
Sherwin Williams Sea Salt
Image via Housetweaking.com
Sherwin Williams Austere Gray
Sherwin Williams Svelte Sage
Sherwin Williams Softened Green
Sherwin Williams Ivoire
Sherwin Williams Netsuke
Sherwin Williams Veiled Violet
Images via Color Chic
Sherwin Williams Chaise Mauve
#2 Rule of Thumb for choosing the right paint color
Find a few colors that you like, pull out the paint chips and lay them down next to each other. It’s amazing how you really notice how different they are when they are right next to each other. Pull out the ones that you thought you liked when you picked it out, but now that you see it next to others it’s not so appealing. AND… you have eliminated a few options. Score!
#3 Rule of Thumb for choosing the right paint color
Once you find the ones you like, take them home. The lighting in a room can make a HUGE difference. Don’t be too hasty to eliminate everything in the paint store because you may get one home and realize it looks better in your living room than it did in the paint store. Take a look at the color in all lighting conditions, day and night.
#4 Rule of Thumb for choosing the right paint color
Almost always go one shade darker! Find the shade that you like on the paint chip, and then go one shade darker. I have made the mistake a million times of getting the shade that I like on the paint chip, getting it home and it’s too light. More saturation in the same color family is almost always better than less. The exception to this rule is when the color you want is a dark color (at the bottom of the paint chip). In this scenario, you’ll normally want to go one shade lighter. I do not have as much experience with dark colors though.
#5 Rule of Thumb for choosing the right paint color
Once you have eliminated a few that you don’t like in your lighting, go back to the store and pick up samples of the ones that are left. This is a VERY important step. You may have liked it on the paint chip in a very small dose, but when you get a large swatch on your wall you may find it’s not so appealing. Trust me, it is much better to spend $5 on a sample quart (that’s the price at Sherwin Williams) and find out you don’t like it, than to buy a gallon or two, take the time to paint, and then decide you don’t like it. DO NOT skip this step.
Good luck finding your perfect paint color! I hope I’ve bestowed some wisdom that might help. If you’d like to see any more things that I have to share please like my Facebook page or follow my blog via wordpress or e-mail (below). If you would like to see what inspires me you can follow me on Pinterest.