Building An Addition: A Homeowner's Guide

Six Selection Tips To Help You Make Decisions About Paint Colors

by Toni Richards

Painting is an inexpensive, yet dramatic way to change the look of a room, and it can also be done easily and quickly. However, knowing what colors to choose may be the hardest decision you will make when preparing to paint. The choices are nearly infinite, and standing in the paint aisle can be overwhelming. The good news is that you can make decisions about paint colors if you know just a few simple principles and guidelines. Below are a some tips that will make choosing paint colors a much easier process as you move forward with your project:

Utilize a Color Wheel

One of the most useful tools that any painter can utilize is not a brush or roller; instead, a color wheel is incredibly handy whenever you are choosing paint colors. Color wheels, whether an actual paper device or merely a digital representation, allow you to choose a color and then find various color harmonies in a snap. These harmonies include color complements, triads, tetrads, and analogues. The best part of using a color wheel is that you can't go wrong when using one, since it relies upon objective math and physics to find the perfect color combinations.

Pick a Color from a Pattern

If you aren't sure where to begin when choosing a color for a particular space, take a look at the carpet, rug, drapes, or even artwork, and look for the most dominant color. Choose that color, and then use it as a basis for a paint scheme in your room. Start small, just in case you aren't pleased with your choice of colors, but don't be afraid of making a change if you don't feel it is working out for you.

Move up from Dark to Light

A rule of thumb when coordinating paint is to use the darkest shades at ground level and lighten the hues as you move upward. That means the ceiling should always be the lightest color. However, that doesn't mean ceilings must always be white, as you should feel comfortable using other light shades and colors if you wish. This "rule" is applicable even when the colors themselves are different, not merely shade variations.

Know the 60-30-10 Rule

Another rule of thumb that can be helpful when making painting decisions is known as the 60-30-10 rule. The principle behind this rule is that a room's primary color is used for approximately 60 percent of the surfaces, while 30 percent of the surfaces appear in a secondary color. That leaves 10 percent of the room to be painted in an accent color.

In practical terms, this often translates to walls and possibly ceilings being painted in a certain color, which is representative of the 60 percent. Next, the secondary color palette is applied to drapes, linens and/or furniture coverings, which comprises approximately 30 percent of the overall surface area. Finally, the last 10 percent of the surface area includes decorative items, frames, and other relatively small objects.

Vary Paint Finishes

You don't always have to change the color itself to obtain a decorative effect when painting. Instead, consider using a variety of contrasting paint finishes instead. Paints that are applied in gloss, semigloss, eggshell, satin, and flat finishes all provide a different sheen. This variation in sheen can create a noticeable contrast that is appealing, and you don't need to change the paint color to obtain it.

Use Lighting to Emphasize Paints

If you have ever noticed a painted surface as the setting sun strikes it, then you will have noticed how lighting can drastically change the perception of color. That means you can implement lighting in a variety of strategic locations to highlight relevant colors; of course, that also means that lighting in the wrong locations can cause colors to look harsh or strange, so be sure to pay attention to how your color samples look.

For more tips and help with your painting project, talk with professional interior painting services in your area, such as M.S. Service Inc..