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Painting 101 – Choosing Color

Choosing the right color is a personal choice but a few helpful hints used along the way can save you time, frustration and money. Most people choose interior colors from something in the room they are painting that inspires them. It could be flooring, tile, wood tones, curtains, bedspread, furniture or others or just a favorite color. Exterior color choices consider brick or stone colors on the house or colors appropriate to the period of the home. This may require some additional research, however your local paint store as well as local historical organizations have this information readily available.

Banana Cream yellow Sherwin-Williams paint

Over the last few years, all the major paint companies have offered “sample” cans that range in price from $3-$6 depending on the size to “try out” a color. This is the best way, to prevent spending $40.00 or more per gallon and the application time to only then realize this shade of orange looks like Macaroni & Cheese!! Ugh!! Samples on color chips look different in the store, than the actual paint on the walls, lighting effects the way the color is perceived as well, fluorescent in the store, warm incandescent at home. Colors will also look different at various times of day and will be affected by the shadows in the room. It is not unusual to paint several rooms the same golden beige and have it look like a different color in different rooms. At the same time you can paint adjacent walls one shade off from one another and not be able to tell the difference.

Color is very tricky and each person will see it a little different as well. Purchase the samples and apply a 3-4 ft square on two to three walls in the room you are painting so that some is applied opposite the window and some in shadowy areas.  Also make sure some is near any item you are trying to match or compliment, ie curtains, sofa, etc.  Going through this exercise a few times is far easier and less costly  than repainting the entire room or having to “live with” a bad choice. When you make your final color selection. Be sure to prime and paint over the sample areas. The samples are usually not “actual” paint and will deteriorate over time if not top coated. You will also always end with a better finish if you start with a crisp white palette. Beware, painting over samples, nail hole repairs, crack repairs etc can create a splotchy look. Happy Painting!