So I get it, picking the right paint colors for your home can be tough. There are sooooo many options and even though it’s ‘just paint’ who wants to worry about painting again so soon if you hate it? Especially if you’ve paid someone to do it. So to save you from regretting the colors you’ve chosen and make picking paint colors easy, here is my process. Read along so that you can learn the steps to choosing paint colors for your home.
Step 1: Feel the space and find inspiration
Look around your space and see what you would like it to look like. Do you want a dark and moody room? or bright and airy? Are there elements in the room that work with certain colors more than others?
When it comes to choosing paint colors for your home finding inspiration is a must. You can search online, find inspiration outside, or look at your decor, fabrics, or furniture that you love. Pinterest is my go to for inspiration. There are so many beautiful images of painted spaces that may help you decide on a color. However, there’s more to it then just going to the paint store and buying the paint based off an image you see on the internet. The image could have a filter, editing or the lighting in that home is different then yours.
The color on your walls may look a lot different then those paint chips you see at the paint store as well. Why does the color look different? Lighting! Lighting is so important when choosing a paint color. Is your room bright? Does the room have big windows? Any windows at all? These factors are important and affect the way the paint color looks.
This is why its important to purchase samples. I always purchase and apply samples to my walls before making a decision on a color.
Step 2: Purchase Samples
I can’t emphasize how important purchasing and applying samples to your wall is. I heard many stories from people who chose a color based on a paint chip at the paint store and end up hating how it looks in their space once its all painted. They end up settling with what they have and regretting not taking the time to get a sample first.
You can grab a few paint chips or a paint swatch first and find coordinating colors that you like if you are choosing more than one color. Once you’ve decided on a paint chip then you can purchase a sample to try in the space you’re painting.
You can always use the paint samples for a quick DIY craft or in my case I used a sample of Sherwin Williams Black Magic and painted me fireplace!
When I have a color in mind I like to narrow it down to three shades of that color. It can get a little overwhelming and difficult when you pick several colors or shades to narrow it down to one. So choosing 3 samples makes it easier.
Purchase samples at your local paint store and paint small swatches directly on the wall. You can also choose to purchase Samplize which is like a sticker that you stick on the wall with the specific color you’ve chosen.
I personally like to paint my samples directly on the walls. Paint at least two coats to get accurate coverage and paint on several different walls that are hit with different lighting throughout the day.
Once you paint your samples on the wall give it a few days. See how it looks like during a sunny day, a cloudy day, at night etc. Watch the paint color as the sun and lighting goes around the room.
Step 3: Choose paint color finishes/sheen
The next step is deciding what finish to use for your walls, trim etc.
There are a few different finishes for paint. There’s flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and gloss.
Flat/Matte: Best for walls that won’t really be touched like ceilings.
Eggshell/Satin: Has a little shine to it best for walls that will see a little traffic. More durable and can be cleaned easily.
Semi-Gloss: Shiny, great for trim and very easy to clean. I like to use Satin or Semi-Gloss for painting kitchen cabinets too.
Gloss: The highest shine and easiest to wipe clean, great for cabinets, baseboards and trim but keep in mind that the glossier the walls the more imperfections you’ll see.
I like to do my ceiling flat, walls eggshell, and trim semi-gloss.
Another thing I did was paint my ceiling the same color as my walls just a different finish (walls are eggshell and ceiling is flat). Typically painter’s will paint the ceiling with ceiling paint which is a super bright white. Painting the ceiling and walls the same color makes the room appear cleaner and bigger. This works well with neutral colors.
My biggest recommendation is narrowing it down to three colors, or shades of one color, and painting samples on your wall and sit with it for a few days.
Choosing paint colors for your home can be a process but take your time!
Below are a couple of things you may not know about paint.
Did you know?
Contrast Trim: Here’s a design idea! You can do contrast trim, which is what I did in my home. Contrast trim is when the trim is painted a darker color than your walls. So the opposite of what people traditionally do and paint all their trim white.
Usually the walls are painted white and the trim is gray, beige or greige. For my walls I did Sherwin Williams Greek Villa and the trim Accessible beige at 75% strength.
Different strengths: Do you love a color but wish it could be just a tad bit lighter? You can get the paint color with less saturation to achieve the color you want. You can purchase paint at a lesser strength, 50% or 75% strength. This means that that its slightly less saturated making the color lighter. Just simply ask for a certain color at your desired strength and you’ll get the perfect shade.
For the paint on my trim, I fell in love with Sherwin Williams Accessible beige but wanted it a little lighter so I got it at 75% strength.
LRV: Lets get into the science of things and talk about LRV (light reflective/reflectance value) of a color. I’m going to keep it simple because it can be a little overwhelming but understanding LRV of a color can help you in choosing the right shade.
So what is Light Reflectance Value? It measures the percentage of light a paint color reflects. It is based on a scale of 0-100 with black being 0 (doesn’t reflect any light) and white being 100 (reflects all light).
This is important to determine how light or dark a color will appear in your home. Brings me back to the situation when you purchase a can of paint only to realize that it looks different than the paint chip you saw at the store.
The LRV can be found right behind the paint chip or the paint company’s website. There’s also suggestions for complementary colors too!
LRV ranges from:
- Lower (dark) LRV 0-40-Darker colors that won’t reflect back.
- Medium LRV 40-60-Reflect an average amount of light.
- High (light) LRV 60-100- Won’t absorb any light at all and all the light will reflect back.
This helped me in deciding which white paint to choose for my home. I have lots of windows that are pretty big so there’s a lot of light. I didn’t want anything super white and was aiming for a softer white. So with Greek Villa with an LRV of 84 it was a perfect white for my home. Its nice and bright but doesn’t feel cold, its soft and goes great with Accessible beige.
Now for my son’s room, we painted the ceiling black and I wanted it pretty dark so I went with Sherwin Williams Black Magic with an LRV of 3. Black Magic and Tricorn Black are my go to for Sherwin Williams black paint. We painted the walls SW Pure White for a clean and bright look.
Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed and need help choosing paint colors for your home try these steps and tips! Do some research! Start with looking for inspiration and purchasing samples before making a final decision.
And remember, do what works best for you and what brings you joy!