Hello friends & happy weekend! Here in Iowa, we’re expecting to have snow today. Just when I was waiting for all the previous snow to melt so that I can get my scarf off of the poor snowman that lasted just a day! That scarf is frozen to the ground and thought I might get a chance to collect it but it’s not looking that way! Thank goodness I have a drawer full! Anyways–here’s a topic that I love to talk about… selecting the best wall color for you.
Back in the day, when I decorated homes for a living, I did a lot of color selecting for clients. It was one of my favorite things to do and one of the most requested!
It can be a daunting task if you’re not familiar with the top things to consider before picking the perfect shade for your space. Color is fun and can change the whole look of your space!
But, there are many things to consider when selecting a paint color and I’ll share the most commons and important ones below. I’ve listed them in order of priority. Like lighting being number one!
More on this later. First, if you’re looking at picking out a color for your home, office, whatever…be sure that you don’t just pick a color swatch at the hardware store and go for it! Especially if it’s for your homes exterior!
If you choose a bright color, know that it will appear darker and brighter especially on a large area. Like the outside of your home. So (please) don’t reach for those turquoise, oranges, yellows, and purples, in darker tones unless you really know what you’re doing. (And especially, if you’re under a homeowners association and you’ve not cleared it with them!) Or, if you don’t want to bring attention to where you live, in a bad way! lol
I recently painted our foyer in our 138 year old Italianate Victorian home. In my mind, I had a color picked out, but I had to start with removing wallpaper that had been there for a very long time first. Luckily, the walls were in great shape. Worst problem was the way the wallpaper came off— in itty bitty pieces!
Followed by patching holes, sanding, wiping, and priming. The color palette above were the colors I was leaning towards. However, I ended up settling on a different shade because again, the space and lighting were telling me otherwise.
Sherwin Williams shade in Gauzy White was perfect for this space.
I was so excited with the outcome that I wished I had the time to do the stairway, upstairs foyer and halls. That will just have to wait for another time. Now that the foyer is finished–and if you’re considering painting, let’s help you out with color!
Here are my tips for selecting the best wall color for you.
The main components on selecting a color~
- Lighting: if you have it–you can go with a darker hue. If you don’t–lighter is your best choice.
- Space: large, small, tiny, comfortable. It all plays a part on whether color will work or not! If your space is small, a light shade is best as it will make the room appear larger. The darker you go, the smaller the space will appear.
- Surrounding elements: flooring color, furniture patterns & color. Definitely go with a neutral color if you have lots going on as far as patterns and brights on any of these elements.
- Room orientation: consider where and what the space is used for. Rooms in basements that have little to no light are more inviting and less confining if you choose a soft, lighter shade.
- Mood: you want to create harmony & balance. Those two are best achieved by going with soothing and calming shades like my palette above.
Color: store colors will certainly NOT look the same when you bring the swatches home. That’s because their lighting and your space lighting is entirely different. So what you might like in the store might not be the perfect match. Thankfully, paints are reasonable. If you don’t like it, it’s not going to hurt your bank account like say a piece of furniture would.
Preference: You don’t want to add a color that will totally clash with the adjoining room. Especially if it’s an open floor plan and you want to paint a certain space within it – a different shade. Go with neighboring shades–those that are grouped together like in the same swatch card spectrum.
Selecting the best wall color for you~
It does boil down to personal preference. Just remember that it goes a bit further than that and when you take these tips into consideration, you’ll be able to choose the perfect color for your place.
If in doubt, go with a neutral. If you’re still in the dark, head HERE, for some home design help. You can submit photos and I can help you pick the perfect color and more!
What’s more….leave a comment about your worst painting experience for a chance at a drawing for a super cute gift!
Lisa Bigon says
My worst wall color experience ever had to be when my partner in crime, Lenore, and I decided that the church office needed spritzing up. We chose this beautiful light lavendar that, we thought, would give the office a pastoral, serene setting. We also decided that we would do a technique called rag rolling. The video looked so easy. We got three shades of lavender and white and lots of plastic bags and headed to the church. It was a beautiful Saturday morning and we declined help from our Hubbies because we KNEW what we were doing. About 5 hours into the project it was obvious that the office walls were anything but pastoral. They screamed, ‘heathen!!’. The lavender turned into lilac, purple and deeper purple. We were in so much trouble as we had church the next morning. We had to call in our Hubbies, they had to go grab tons of Kilz and white paint and save us from all embarrassment. It was the most hideous purple mess you can imagine. That was the first and last time we picked a color for anything…including VBS t-shirts. We left colors to the pros.
Oh my goodness, how come I don’t recall this? Did you ever share this with us? It’s hilarious and yep, it can certainly happen! I remember working on a home in Galveston and wondering if I had the direction and ideas for the home I was about to start work on. I headed to go pick up a quick lunch before the drive home and came upon the brightest and craziest painted bungalow house! All shades of purple and fuchsia. I immediately thought…you got this Belle! lol. Thank you for sharing such a great moment Lisa!♥️
Ann Booth says
Jackie had a rose colored room when we built our house (almost 32 years ago). Cecil write her name in paint on the wall before actually painting. Guess what showed through? ?
Hahaha—oh no! Bet Cecil invested in some primer Ann! lol
Sally Turney says
My worst experience with wall painting was when I chose a beautiful light Caribbean blue for my bedroom. My husband painted the wall while I was at work one day. I came home to the most awful dark depressing gray-blue I’d ever seen. I don’t know if they mixed it incorrectly or that’s just what it became as it dried. I was nauseous looking at it. It took two coats of Kilz to cover it and another two of another shade to get a more appealing color. Every now and then a little of that blue will peek through bringing back that memory, so I touch it up and it reminds me to learn from mistakes. I’ve had to paint walls or hire someone since then, because the hubby will never paint for me again. LOL! I will add that wasn’t my worst painting experience. I think that involved finger-paints and 6 year olds! ?
Oh my goodness that is funny! I’ve learned that they do sometimes mix up paints wrong, so I never walk away when I’m having them mix ’em. I was having paint mixed for a client one time and they were super busy, I had lots to do and didn’t feel like waisting time. When I was paying for the paint, I noticed they hadn’t put the color sample smear on the lid. I processed to deliver the paint for the boys who were doing the painting for me. When I returned an hour later I screamed for them to stop. The color was supposed to be a faint taupe, this one was teal! Teal!!! They had given me the wrong paint! Lol the boys laughed and laughed and every time after that- they would say “Ms. Belle, what color are we painting…are we going with teal?” Needless to say, I started giving them swatches ahead of time but I always stay with the mixers! Lol Thank you for sharing Sally!
Angie Bailey says
My worst paint experience was allowing my 18-year-old son to pick his own paint colors for his house when he first moved out (we’re the owners of the house). I figured it would be a great way for him to make the place his own. Well, for his bedroom he went with Smurf blue and for his office space, he went with a bright alien green. *Face slap*
I just recently bought a nice neutral color and I’m trying to get him to re-paint the rooms between his work and school schedule because Mom doesn’t paint, LOL!
Oh Angie!!! It’s hard to imagine how wrong something will go, such as a paint color choice. But…reality of those dramatic colors can certainly make us question our picking abilities. Lol. I love your “mom doesn’t paint” remark! lol
Melissa Moore says
I don’t have much experience painting (but I am going to get some in the near future I believe!), but I do know about removing old chipping paint before repainting the surface. Which I had to keep my mouth shut about when I visited my mother-in-law for the first time in a while and saw a friend had painted over three layers of chipped paint on (part) of her porch! Don’t worry, we’re not going to leave it looking like a monochrome topographical map! Or chipping away either…
Yikes Melissa! I love painting because it’s very therapeutic for me but I also know how much work it is to prep a surface. Especially a chippy porch. My husband redid the porch on our 138 year old home and it took him 2 weeks just for prepping! Lots of work involved but totally worth it in the end!
Julie Gethmann says
We were putting the finishing touches on our new addition. A 30x30master suite. Lots of walls. I picked out a beautiful taupe color. Painted all day. When the sun went down I nearly cried. It looked like a raspberry pink. Next day I got to do it all over again. I think that was when I decided I don’t like to paint walls any longer.
Oh no Julie! Picking out a wall color can be daunting but when you get the one that works it’s so satisfying. Thank you for the funny story!❤︎