Picking the Perfect Paint Colors

image16.jpg

How are you supposed to pick a color you want your entire home painted from a tiny square of paper? Especially when that tiny square is in a book with thousands of other tiny squares? Well, ideally you don't. Ideally, you can go room by room and have plenty of time to decide. But this is the real world, and far too often in the home design process, the client is handed a book of colors and told to pick… now.

That was us this week. Thankfully, we knew exactly how to handle it. The first step was color matching the trim. It was in pretty good shape and we liked the existing color, so we are just doing one coat to freshen it up a bit. Eventually we'll redo the trim, but that's a few years down the line, so there was no point in redoing it now, or spending lots of time/money on it. It was matched to Snowbound, a very common white for trim, cabinets, etc. We had learned from past projects that using an extra white for the trim is just too bright and stark unless the home is uber-modern.

Once we had that nailed down, we made a general plan for what colors we wanted each room to be. I like a cohesive home so I try to stick to a few colors and use them throughout. Plus, when you find a color you like, use it! Don’t limit it to one space. So living room, dining room, kitchen and hallways will all be one color. Master bedroom and bath, another color,  Marin’s room bright and light, but pink. And finally, the remaining rooms, a medium toned greige. 

So with a rough plan in my head, I headed to Sherwin Williams. I always recommend going and getting the individual sample squares. When they are in a strip with similar colors, it's so much harder to gauge undertones. I picked up any square that caught my eye INCLUDING the trim color, made myself comfortable at their table, and started narrowing it down.

Picking paint colors can be surprisingly easy! Start with what you don't like. I hate light greys and whites with bluish or purple undertones. I think it looks cold. That quickly eliminated a big pile. I knew I wanted a dark color for the master but not a navy (our headboard is navy) and not black. Once I had narrowed it down, the of remaining colors felt totally manageable. 

image10.jpg

The next thing we always do is the most annoying and time consuming, but it's important! Get a small quart of paint (about $7 each) in one to two different shades for each of the colors you are picking, and cheap brushes. Paint swatches in each room (in multiple places), let dry, and do another coat. It might look like a mess temporarily, but it immediately becomes clear which color is right choice. It probably cost us about $50, but it was so worth it to not have to repaint a room.

It's okay if you don’t have a fancy paint store near you. You can do the same thing with Behr from Home Depot or Lowe's. If you are hiring out the paintwork, they can usually color match to your local paint supplier.


So after LOTS of deliberating, here are the final colors we went with:

SNOWBOUND

 Our chosen base color for trim, casing, doors, etc., based on the existing trim color.

Our chosen base color for trim, casing, doors, etc., based on the existing trim color.

AESTHETIC WHITE

 Color for the living room, dining room, kitchen, hallway and two smaller bathrooms.

Color for the living room, dining room, kitchen, hallway and two smaller bathrooms.

QUAINT PECHE

 This turned out to be less Pepto Bismol then the ones in the pink range. Reads a beautiful light, bright pink.

This turned out to be less Pepto Bismol then the ones in the pink range. Reads a beautiful light, bright pink.

HOMBURG GRAY

 This color was the biggest risk, I wanted a bold, moody master that wasn’t navy or black. This color has strong green undertones. Green is calming and masculine.

This color was the biggest risk, I wanted a bold, moody master that wasn’t navy or black. This color has strong green undertones. Green is calming and masculine.

PERFECT GREIGE

 We used this color in a few rooms in our last house and loved it. Perfect medium grey with no blue or purple undertones. Works as a neutral in rooms you don’t want to use white.

We used this color in a few rooms in our last house and loved it. Perfect medium grey with no blue or purple undertones. Works as a neutral in rooms you don’t want to use white.

 

I'd love to hear your thoughts about the colors I chose for the new home. Anything you think we missed? What tried and true colors do you love?