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The 6 Steps of Choosing the Right Paint Color

With so many paint options now on the market, it makes sense that picking your colors can be a daunting process. Do you keep things classic with crisp white or elevate your home’s vintage vibe with muted mints? The options are endless.

However, with the ability to set the tone and give dated spaces an instant facelift, paint color is one step in the renovation process that’s worth getting right. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of dos and don’ts that are worth keeping in mind. Here’s a step-by-step guide to choosing the right paint colors for your home:

1. Don’t get caught up in trends.

That millennial pink bathroom idea may not be as appealing in 12 months’ time. While it’s great to look at what’s new and in vogue when it comes to interiors, it’s best to opt for paints with a timeless appeal that won’t require yearly updates.

If there’s a look you’re set on emulating, try to tie in the key elements of trends you like within easy-to-change finishes. Bathroom drawer handles, living room rugs, and bedroom curtains require far less effort to change and can help to convey a style just as effectively.

2. Design your room first.

While you might have your heart set on a lilac dining room, don’t settle on your paint of choice before first planning your room’s layout. It’s important to take into account the textiles and colourings of your furniture pieces, artworks, and flooring. Perhaps your floorboards are a darker stained wood than you had previously thought, or your artwork’s much louder.

Once you’ve painted your walls it will be too late (or very expensive) to change, so it’s in your best interest to decide your room and fittings first. Use a color wheel when choosing colors to complement your furniture. When it comes to choosing winning combinations, keep in mind that opposites attract and bold colors are best paired with neutrals and whites.

3. Think of your home as a whole.

Too often people go into the process of painting their home with a strong idea of each room’s aesthetic and no clue on the home’s style as a whole. Creating flow with clever use of color will help create a cohesive feel throughout the house. Without a complementary palette, the home can often feel cluttered and less relaxing.

Start by putting together swatches of each room and place them side by side. If things are feeling too busy, eliminate standout colors and use only one hue as a statement shade throughout all your rooms. When working with more than one paint color in the one space, start with your boldest color first, then add on from there.

4. Consider your room’s purpose.

Before painting, think about how the room will be used. If you’re planning on creating a study zone, use bright and light colors that will energize and promote clear thought. Darker colors evoke a sense of calmness and are better suited to bedrooms, bathrooms, and movie rooms.

5. Lighting 101

Lighting can drastically change the color of paints: Always test a color in natural lighting to see its truest form.

Think about when you plan on using each room and whether it will receive mostly natural or unnatural lighting. Incandescent bulbs bring out opposite colors (enhances warm colors, cools dull tones), so it’s a smart move to test with lighting you plan on using.

6. Always test the paint.

As tempting as it is to just pick up a brush and get started, testing your colors will save you time and money. Purchase sample paint pots and test swatches in each room’s light source. Compare your colors with your carpet, tiles, hardwood flooring, or any other permanent fixture to see how they’ll work. And don’t forget to get yourself up to date on painting lingo before heading to the hardware store. If you know the difference between saturation, intensity, and value, you’ll find it much easier to ask for help from the professionals.

This post originally appeared on our sister site, Homes to Love.

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