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July 14, 2021
We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again - there’s really nothing like a brand new coat of coat. It’s the best way to hit the reset button on your space, to say bye-bye to any old, stale energy and welcome in fresh, immaculate vibes. A blank canvas! Endless possibilities!
...Too many possibilities? These days, it’s so easy to go waaaay overboard searching for inspo, scrolling and scrolling past video after video and perfectly curated photo after perfectly curated photo. With so many ideas and options in the ether, choosing just one way to go is a daunting task - and even when you do choose, how do you know you’ve made the right choice for your space?
Choosing a paint color that appeals to your taste AND brings the best out of your space can seem impossible, but we’ve got some tips to help you achieve the result of your dreams.
EVALUATION: ASSESS YOUR SPACE.
Your paint-choosing journey should start at home, with your space. Take a good, hard look at the room or rooms you’ll be painting and take note of all its traits.
Make a detailed assessment of the following elements in your space:
- Windows: how many? What kind of natural light does the space get?
- Size: is the room big or small? Is it an open floor plan or a closed space?
- Flooring: What kind? Style and color?
- Purpose: what is the function of the room?
- Mood: how do you want this room to feel? How do you want to feel in this room?
These elements make up the bones of your space, and give you the most information as to what colors will look good and satisfy your requirements. If your space is small and dark, for example, going with a dark, dramatic color for the walls is going to close the room down completely. Not too much natural light? You’re probably going to want your wall color to work on making the most of the light that you do get.
MOOD AND FUNCTION
Beyond those physical attributes, you’ve got to consider function and mood, not just of the room itself, but your function and your mood when you’re in the space! If you’re looking to redo your living room - are you going for formal, or more cozy? Do you want to feel elegant, or more relaxed? This is tricky, because you can want one thing, and actually need another. For example, I would kill for a rich, vibrant red living room, because red is my color and I want it everywhere, but a formal, expensive-feeling space like that would not serve me as well as a more casual, cozy, comfortable space, as much as I hate to admit it! Be really honest with yourself about what kind of space would serve you best - or you’ll end up with a beautiful room that collects dust!
INSPIRATION: CONSIDER YOUR OPTIONS.
Whether you’ve got something in mind or you’re starting from zero, you’ll need some inspiration to act as a roadmap on your paint-picking journey. Luckily, you’ve got a whole lot of places to look!
FURNITURE AND TEXTILES
Got a piece of art you just adore and want to feature? Maybe you found the green velvet couch of your dreams, or an incredible rug in colors you love. Drawing from the pieces you’ll have in your space can be an excellent way to narrow down your color options. This can be effective if you have an idea of a color you want but need to narrow down the undertones, or if you’re having trouble pinpointing the wall color that will work best for you. It also removes a lot of the guesswork, since you can compare swatches with the actual pieces you’ll have in the space.
CONSIDER THE COLOR WHEEL
If you’d like a more mathematical approach, let’s take a crash course into color theory. Here are some terms that can give you a more pragmatic, objective approach into what colors work together and why.
- hue: a variety of a color. (example: gold is a hue of yellow.)
- tone: a hue created by adding grey to a color, making it softer or brighter.
- tint: a hue created by adding white to a color, making it lighter.
- shade: a hue created by adding black to a color, making it darker.
- active colors: colors that have stimulating effects, usually warm colors like reds and yellows.
- passive colors: colors that have calming effects, usually cool colors like blues and greens.
The lingo can seem a little confusing, but when decipher that most of these words just mean lighter or darker, softer or more vibrant, it’s way less scary.
If you’re going to approach choosing colors from this perspective, take the time to peep at an actual color wheel. It’ll help you figure out the parings in your space in terms of wall and textiles, but also wall and trims. What tint of white will work best for your trims? That will depend on whether you’re going warm or cool, active or passive.
Are you looking for contrast or harmony? Mixing cool and warm neutrals can be super effective, but if you’re going with a bolder color, you’ll want to pick a lane.
Complementary colors can make each other pop, but it can also be a lot of energy in one room. If you like the feel of complementary colors, pick one for the walls and then go with pops of the other for some exciting contrast. Analogous colors are next to each other on the color wheel - choosing these harmonious colors can create a very rich, multi-faceted space. Triadic colors, on the other hand, are evenly spaced around the wheel and create a vibrant atmosphere.
GO WITH A COLOR SCHEME
Create your own little swatch palette with colors you like, and go from there. You can use an online software for this so that you can make small adjustments and harmonize it to your liking, or you can pick up some paint chips and create your own! Laying the colors of your space out like this can make it easier to visualize the final effect of the colors in your space.
If you need some color scheme inspo, it’s easy to track down on a site like Pinterest, but may we suggest a more exciting option? Open your IG app and take a look at @colorpalette.cinema, an account that takes stills from films and extracts the color palettes. There’s a huge wealth of all styles and shades of color palettes, and the addition of the movie still gives a sense of the feeling those color palettes exude.
LOGISTICS: FINISHES AND TRANSITIONS
In all the excitement with establishing moods and dreaming of colors, we can’t forget that there are a couple of logistics to consider. Refresh your knowledge of your space and take that into account when making these choices.
A finish, or sheen, refers to how much light the paint reflects. More reflective paints will have more sheen to them and brighten up the room while a matte paint will be smooth and won’t reflect as much. This is where the windows and size as well as the function and mood of a space need to be considered.
Here’s a list of available paint finishes:
- matte: flat, absorbing lots of light. Lighter than swatch.
- eggshell: low sheen. True to swatch.
- satin: pearly finish. True to swatch.
- semi-gloss: shinier, darker than swatch.
- high-gloss: high-reflective, shiny. Darker than swatch.
Matte finishes are good for ceilings, while eggshell and satin are most often used for walls. Semi-gloss can also be used for walls, but high-gloss is generally for doors, mouldings and cabinets.
The last thing to consider is how the color you’re choosing is going to work with the rest of your home. Here are a couple of helpful tips for making sure all your spaces vibe together!
Going bold in your kitchen? To optimize flow into your living room (or vice versa) you might want that adjacent space to be lighter and brighter. However, if bold is your middle name, keep that gravy train going and choose one of the color styles we talked about in our color wheel section (complementary, analogous or triadic) for adjacent spaces. Way to wow your guests!
Pick one color for hallways and connecting spaces and stick with it throughout your home. It’ll add cohesion and link everything together. You can apply a similar theory to accent colors - pick a pattern or a color and have it pop up in various forms in different spaces.
Make sure that all the rooms you can see into from a given space are harmonious. Apply a tried and true fashion tip here - they don’t have to match, but they should definitely go.
YOUR COLORS, YOUR WAY!
Whether you like high impact and high drama or if minimalism is what makes your sanctuary, there’s no right and wrong when it comes to color. It’s just about you deciding what makes your space feel like YOUR space. We hope these tips and ideas cover enough bases that when you find a path that makes sense for you, it’ll click and you’ll have the confidence to move forward.
Are you someone who mixes color temperatures, or sticks with warm or cool? Do you like color theory? Analogous or triadic colors? Got a vintage tapestry you want your decor to hinge upon? Let us know how you like to make your color choices below.
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