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Hesitant About Home Color Selection?

Updated: Mar 4, 2019

Paint color samples on wall
Picture from Client in Arizona reaching out for help, overwhelmed trying to pick a color. Kudos to her for making samples on her own before getting in touch!

"Color scheme is part of nature’s plot to bring heaven’s vision into view". Section of Color Scheme Poem by Mary Havran.

Having read that, colors can put us at ease and sometimes make us feel unease. That is why it is so important to select the correct color option for your home. And although you may be hesitant to work with colors; it is probably one of the most impacting ways to give your home a fresh upgrade to live in it or to prepare it for sale.

Painting your home is a non-permanent upgrade, but it is an investment nevertheless which you want to have some reasonable longevity, so I get why you may hesitate while looking for the right color selection.

To bring you peace of mind, it is helpful to further think why you want to change your indoor or outdoor home's color and details you may need to look at before making a choice so that everything in your home nicely complements each other.

Here are some things to consider; these tips should help you filter out the overwhelming amount of color options available in the painting industry.

1. Home Rented or Owned

For tenants, most landlords would allow such change as long as you can afford to repaint walls back to its original color or -if you don't want to repaint them- a portion of your security deposit might be deducted upon moving out. Regardless, review your lease agreement details or address matter directly with your landlord; who knows, he/she may agree to keep the color you use.

The story is different if you own your home; you got the green light on to move forward. The average cost to paint interior walls only is between $1.50 to $3.50 per square foot and $3.00 to $4.00 with ceilings and trims. Check out this SmartAsset* article from 2018 for further details

2. Purpose of the color change

This is key because if it is a home improvement in the house you live in, you can pretty much tailor it to your personal taste while re-designing. In contrast, if the purpose is to sale your home, you want the color to appeal to others in the area where your home is located, contributing to selling it faster, part of home staging.

When selling your home is the case, the rule of thumb is to use neutral/light colors throughout appealing to a wide audience although exceptions may apply. You are probably wondering how can you use a color that is neutral yet appealing? I go into more detail on item #4 home style & decor.

3. Backgrounds

What do your existing backgrounds look like? For example, your floors and trims. What is their style, color and pattern? The goal is to select a color that complements your existing backgrounds. On busy patterned floors, aim for the lightest color shown on the floor and move up within that family color to a lighter option. Try to stay away from primary family colors (red, blue, green) and remain within color families that include assorted percentages of its components.

4. Paint finish

What paint finish (level of gloss) do you prefer? Flat/Matte, Eggshell/Satin/Low luster, Semi-Gloss or Gloss; flat being the least glossy and hardest finish to clean; hence, baseboards are usually painted in semi-gloss or gloss for example.

If you'll be hiring a painter, he/she would provide you with a lot of painting details that you may be unaware of, but if this is a DIY project, you might want to keep in mind the following:

a. It is important to note that glossier finishes reflect a slight color difference due to its sheen and show more imperfections, so make sure a good sanding -of trims especially- is done before applying new semi-gloss or gloss paint.

b. Priming walls that have a dark color is highly recommended, more so if you'll be applying a lighter color on top. It would safe you time, material and extra labor on coats to cover.

c. Flat finish colors are usually preferred in bedrooms while eggshell/satin/low luster finishes are preferred in areas such Living/Dining Rooms, Breakfast Areas, Kitchens and Bathrooms due to performances.

d. Outdoor painting has its on tricks when it comes to finishes. Glossy finishes wear out more easily "on walls outdoor" but behave better on trims and doors since they resist frequent cleaning. For more details regarding best outdoor paint finish for outdoors, here is a handy article from The Spruce*

This picture is a great example of walls in a satin finish with semi-gloss baseboards. The floor was renewed and the gray-blueish wall color was clashing with the new floor installed. My Customer wanted a warm neutral instead and already had some samples up. Notice how both color samples work better with the new floors.

The lighter sample on the left (a bit too ivory) would offer more longevity and flexibility when decorating while the darker sample on the right (slightly off in hue and saturation) could be used as an accent on a small wall framing a great art piece (large dramatic accent walls are out, subtle colors are in. See link below with Elle Decor* Trends 2019).

5. Home style - decor

Moving on to your home's existing style and furniture/decor. The color of your backgrounds should flow with everything and act as a base color. Think of background colors (walls, ceiling, trims) as a canvas, a leading actor but not the main character of your home's color story unless you intentionally want to make a particular contrasting statement.

In case you don't have any furniture yet, search for an inspiration picture on Pinterest* -for example- to guide you on what look you would like to achieve in your home and based on that concept, pick the wall colors you want.

If you find nothing that strikes you as inspirational, keep it practical. Here are some of my color suggestions. You could use a "balanced" neutral wall color like Sherwin Williams* Everyday White SW-6077, a "warmer" neutral color such as Divine White SW-6105 (if you like warm colors like reds, orange and browns) or a "cooler" neutral as is Incredible White SW-7028 (if you prefer spaces with grays, blues or greens).

Using any of these sample suggestions will pretty much allow you -as mentioned before- to decorate your home with wide color story options. I am including a picture of the mentioned colors as a reference only (a real color sample will differ from what you see on your screen) so that you can visualize what I mean by cool, balanced and warm neutral.

6. Lighting

How much light there is in your home or room? The picture depicts well what I want to explain next about lighting.

There is natural light and artificial light (chandeliers, wall sconces, pendants, etc).

The samples on the wall above the staircase and below it are the same, but you can see the difference on how the color reflects on each spot.

Above the staircase there is plenty of natural light and below it there is not as much which causes not a major color variance per photo, but you need to keep an eye on architectural features like this so that it doesn't affect the flow of your entire color story along with your home decoration.

In addition, by adding more lighting to a space like above, double check that your light fixture suits your color story and the mood you are trying to gain. For instance, white light shows colors in true form. Warm light works well with warm colors (reds and browns). Cool light goes hand-to-hand with cool colors (blues and greens).

Translating that into light bulbs, halogen and incandescent bulbs provide warm lighting, fluorescent bulbs are handy since they come in assorted ways to give you either warm lighting or cool lighting, and neon bulbs give you cool lighting affecting warm colors.

Whatever ambient light you choose (essential lighting), try to keep it consistent with your color story and throughout your home if possible along with task lighting (areas where particular activities are performed) and accent lighting (drawing attention to details).

7. Area dimensions

Is the space to be painted small, or large? The larger the space and higher the ceilings, the more flexibility you have to use darker color ranges. The closer the walls are to each other on a small space, the more you are guided to use a lighter array of colors since these give the impression of the area being larger and welcoming while darker colors make your space look smaller.

These (7) observations sum up details I consider important when making a color selection for your home. Hopefully, this information stirs you away from hesitation and moves you towards feeling ease when deciding on a new wall color. But if the hesitation remains, you might want to reach out for design help near your area. If interested, online consultations are available under my services section.

And before I go, here is the link for the great article from Elle Decor* regarding Interior Design Trends for 2019 which includes colors among other things that are In & Out.

Enjoy & Until next time ;)

*Not sponsored

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