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5 Steps to Choosing The Perfect Paint Color(s)

By 3 minute read

Last updated on July 19th, 2019

With the vast array of color choices available today, it can be hard to know where to begin. And if you’re like many homeowners, you want to make sure you’re not only choosing the right colors, but also colors that will coordinate from room-to-room, or from interior to exterior. The good news is that there are many easy resources available to help you create your personal palette with confidence.

Think of a favorite rug or fabric you own. Often these objects are your favorites because they feature all the colors you like.  Use the combinations as a guide to choosing colors for your wall.

For inspiration, try ColorSnap® Visualizer for WebMobile, or iPad to capture colors from your surroundings and match them to Sherwin-Williams paint colors. Explore over 1,500 colors to get inspiration from a photo. Virtually paint your rooms with ColorSnap® Visualizer for Web and iPad. Try Snap It to instantly turn any online image into a color palette.


Coordinate your color transitions

For a good start – “Try a basic understanding of color schemes–monochromatic, analogous, and complementary,” says Sue Wadden, Director of Color Marketing at Sherwin-Williams.

A monochromatic color scheme involves selecting a single color and then using colors that vary in lightness and saturation to create a clean, sophisticated look.

For an analogous color scheme, select a color, then for accents, choose shades that appear on either side of that dominant color on the color wheel.

Finally, a complementary color scheme, choose a dominant color and then select colors directly across on the color wheel to create contrast. The two colors will intensify each other and create a vibrant look and feel.


Consider these ideas to transform your home

For a smooth transition between spaces, try choosing a color for one room and paint the adjacent space two shades away, lighter or darker, using tones from the same color chip. By unifying fabric, wall and floor color, your eye can take in the volume of space rather than focus on any one object. These cozy grays and warm beiges instill a look that’s casual, comfortable, and classic.

Wake up beige. Adding shades of the same color creates depth and interest.  Paint below the chair rail a deeper shade of the existing wall. Choose textured curtains from the same color family.

It doesn’t take much color to punch up a space. Create a feature wall with a contrasting or complimentary color. A nook, window bay or the wall behind your headboard can be great candidates for feature walls. Even in a compact eat-in kitchen, you can make a flashy statement. A feature wall with a strong accent color and attractive art will draw attention to the seating area, which also helps create a dining space that’s separate from the rest of the kitchen.

Hallways present an often-overlooked opportunity to add personality. The end of a hall is a perfect chance to feature a bold, dramatic color that may otherwise overpower an entire room. Encourage more than a passing glance by displaying interesting artifacts on a narrow console.

Pulling a palette of wall colors from the textiles featured in the room is a foolproof way to create a cohesive look. In this case, the area rug was our inspiration. The result is a warm welcome with a bit of drama achieved by using the darkest hue in the tray ceiling.


Testing Is Mandatory

The easiest way to test is to simply tape the color chip up on a wall that sees both natural and artificial light. Watch the color over the course of a few days, taking into account fluctuations in natural light. Early morning light makes colors appear luminous and glowing, mid-day light can make colors look washed out, and late-day light is warm as the sun hits the horizon.


(Not Just) One Direction

What direction do the windows face? A northern exposure is cooler, so a warmer color choice might be appropriate to compensate for the lack of sunlight. Southern exposures, on the other hand, get the most light all day long; neutral tones may be better in that case.


Be Aware Of Artificial

Your lamps and bulbs will often dictate the true color representation. Incandescents provide warmer light that enhances reds, yellows, and oranges. Fluorescents provide cooler light that enhances blues and greens. LEDs are more flexible; their light looks good with most paint colors. CFLs can offer varying types of light, so check the Kelvin rating. The lower the number, the warmer the bulb. Meanwhile, full-spectrum bulbs mimic daylight. Halogen bulbs also closely resemble daylight — and make colors pop.

Toll Brothers’ vendor partner Sherwin-Williams, the largest producer of paints and coatings in the United States, contributed to this story.

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