It’s amazing how something so simple as painting a room can change the feel of a space completely. It’s easy to see how paint can make such an important impact on the place you’re decorating. Unfortunately, we all too often fumble with this important decision. So if you find yourself in the paint aisle going cross-eyed from staring at paint chips for so long, here are a couple of rules I try to follow to make the best decision.
First, the color has to work with the rest of the room. It’s nice to want to pick a color because it’s your favorite or because you grew up with the same color in your living room, but if it doesn’t end up working with your textiles and furniture than it’s better off somewhere else- otherwise you’re going to end up hating it!
Keep in mind though when we’re talking about a paint color “going” with the rest of the room, we don’t mean matching. Making sure that everything is a room was the same color blue would make you feel as if you were living a giant blueberry. So unless your name is James and your last residence was a giant peach, stay away from matching everything.
Here’s the secret to why it’s frustrating: because not all colors are made the same.
This is your mini science lesson for the day: we all know that the human eye sees color based on a light spectrum. And that light spectrum is created when light bounces off of things. Unfortunately, that means depending on what the light is bouncing off of, the color will appear differently to our eyes. Smooth surfaces, textured surfaces, even different types of cloth are very rarely going to appear the exact same shade. Paint is never going to match a cushion, or a rug, or a smudge in a painting exactly.
So how do you incorporate color into a room that’s already filled with colorful stuff? Do what designers do and “pull” a color.
When in doubt, go for a neutral color. It’s hard to go wrong and it’s the safest bet for pulling everything in the room together, especially if you’re still recovering from blueberry syndrome.
Throw those paint chips up on the wall of the room you wish to paint and live with them a little bit. Move the paint chips around the room occasionally and see how the light bounces of of them. How do they look in the morning compared to the evening? In the night? With the lights on? Off?
Last but not least, if wavering between two shades of paint is making you go cross-eyed, go for the lighter one. Paint usually dries slightly on the darker side, and once you’ve painted the room you might find the impact of the darker shade harder to absorb at first.
The good news about choosing a paint color is that it doesn’t have to be that stressful. If you rally can’t stand the shade you picked, paint in again! It’s an effective and cheap way to makeover a room to suit whatever your style and needs dictate.
Feeling inspired to make your space feel like your own? Visit my busy page for more ideas on projects that I’ve been working on around the house.