Color Specialist Tips & Advice
Save time & money on your next paint project with our helpful hints from our paint resource center
Before you Start - it's Down to the Finish:
6 tips and more.
"Color" is not the only reason why you will want to test paint colors before using them in a room. Finish, also called "sheen" is critical to the final appearance of any space, or even exterior. The difference between flat to glossy makes a world of difference in how your colors selections will look in the place they're used.
The basics, in a nutshell (or paint can), that you can think of as "What, Where, and Why:"
Sometimes having a chalky, dry surface feeling, using a flat finish is the best way to minimize imperfections in wall surface. The more washable flat paints have a smoother surface texture. But either way, flat paint is matte, not having sheen, and as such tends to look a bit darker or deeper than the same color made in a more shiny finish. Lighter colors can be prone to staining more than the same colors made in their more glossy counterparts. Deep colors in a flat finish can 'burnish' if you rub against the surface, creating areas of shine. So, the deeper colors in flat paints are best used in areas that less exposed.
Some brands of the better flat paints are now made of 100% acrylic in the base, so they are 'washable.' Also, these higher quality paints tend to be easier to touch up with you need to spot-freshen some areas. In any case, whenever paint is noted as being "washable," or "scrubbable," you do need to wait 30 days for it to cure before trying to clean the surface. Flat paint is the finish best used for ceilings, unless you want a special effect of higher shine on a ceiling.
Eggshell is the finish most commonly used finish for most household walls. It's usually fairly easy to clean, but if you have to do a repair or touchup the repair section will typically "flash," so from various angles you will see the spots of repair as blotches or patches.
Some paint companies have a 'pearl' finish which is between eggshell and semigloss. It's often a nice choice for trim if you want a slightly less glossy appearance that is still fairly easy to maintain.
Names of Sheens often vary from one paint company to another. When in doubt, ask the paint dealer how the different finishes vary among the brands, since they will often be familiar with more than the paint product they sell in the store.
SemiGloss is often the best all-around choice for trim and architectural details. If used in the same color as your flat wall finish, it will have a brighter or somewhat lighter color appearance. For that reason, a lovely subtle look can be achieved with a flat wall color paired with the same color in semi-gloss or even high gloss, for the trim. The look will be a soft contrast and an elegant appearance.
6. High Gloss
The higher the gloss, the harder the paint. Harder finishes like satin, to high gloss, are more stain resistant and easier to clean. The drawback: the harder finishes, with higher gloss, are more reflective and therefore require even more meticulous surface preparation than the more flat finishes. If you are considering the look of a lacquered wall, your walls need to be flawless-and consider having a professional spray the paint in layered, light coats.
When you pick up your paint color chips from the dealer, be sure to ask for a "sheen strip" that usually shows a gray or similar "non-color" printed in their various sheens. You will be able to see the difference, and that will help you select the right finishes for the colors you want to use.
For more tips on preparation for painting:
Barbara Jacobs Bio (Click for Bio)
Choosing Color for Your Home
So you're thinking about choosing color for your home. Great! I like that! But - are you going about it the right way? Here's a super easy tip for you to know that will make a HUGE difference in how you view the color you are about to choose.
Simple right? You have the color chips in your hand, you're in the room that needs the color so you know your lighting is right so what can be so wrong? Look at the way you're holding your color chips. I'll bet $1,000 that you are holding it flat, like a book right? There's your mistake!
This is a perfect example of something that is so very obvious, we just don't see it. What am I talking about? The way you are holding your paint chips.
It's imperative that you hold your paint chip vertically and not horizontally. Look at the photograph I have here of the blue paint chips. The colors on the left are viewed flat and the colors on the right are vertical. Can you see the difference?
This is one of the main reasons that people are surprised how their wall color turns out. "Oh it dried darker." No it didn't! It dried the way it's supposed to dry but you expected it to look like it did when you viewed it flat. Don't fret. You've just learned a valuable lesson and now you're on your way to getting the perfect color for your home.
Just remember, hold your paint chip vertically, like the way it's going to be seen on the wall. If you need professional help choosing your color, you can always contact me, Donna Frasca, Color Expert. I'd love to help!
Donna Frasca Bio (Click for Bio)
Consider what "atmosphere" you are trying to create in a room. Often what is more important than choosing an actual "hue" is choosing the "value" (lightness/darkness) of a color. Take a look at my Pinterest board titled "Soft Wall Color". Regardless of the actual hue on those walls, all of the rooms in that collection have the same feeling or atmosphere-calm, soothing and serene. The rooms on the "Bold Color" board, whether they are bright blue or yellow, also all have the same feeling- dynamic and lively. Choosing colors with the same "value" will also create "flow" from room to room.
If you are going with "white" ceilings and trim it is so important that you get the "right white". Choosing a truly complementary white can really "make" a color scheme sing. Often, a homeowner will be working with another white that is in place (cabinets, clad-window trim, appliances, etc) and this may end up dictating that choice. It is well worth an hour of a professional's time to get this one detail right.
In small apartments or condominiums, consider using small shots of saturated color on doors or accent walls. It is often just enough Floor color should always be part of the color equation. It is the largest surface of reflected light and will affect how wall color is perceived. And don't forget that wood IS a color with many different undertones.
Test, test, test. It is so important to actually paint out color samples. I use My Small Wall- and view the colors in different lighting conditions.
Jean Molesworth Kee Bio (Click for Bio)
How to Look Beyond Your Current Paint Color to the RIGHT Color
It's not as easy as it sounds to pick the right paint color for your walls. There are many things to consider that may impact how you perceive a new paint color, including your existing finishes and surrounding colors. If you don't take that into consideration when choosing a paint color, you may not be happy with the choice you make. It's difficult to look at a particular color on a strip of swatches and not be influenced by the other colors on the strip. The colors on either side of your chosen color impact how that color is perceived. Remember, those other lighter and darker colors on the strip are not going to be in the room you are painting.
You have to first try to perceive that new color in isolation, then perceive it in relation to what other colors will be in the room, as well as understand how different lighting conditions will impact it. The only good way to do that is to paint out a big sample and move it around the room to see how the color works with your existing finishes and on different walls of the room. Small Wall is perfect for that kind of flexible sampling, especially because of the convenient adhesive on the back.
Most people will put the paint sample right up against the old wall color, which dramatically impacts how they perceive the new color. Remember, the old color is going away! Putting a white board behind the new color you are testing will help minimize this problem. Compare the sample up against the trim, flooring, fabrics - whatever else that is staying in the room, rather than the existing wall color or anything else that will no longer be in the room. Then you'll be sure to choose just the right color for your space!
You can learn more about choosing the right colors for your home on my design blog, TheDecorologist.com