Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Color Blind

It's not always as interesting as a bowl full of Skittles, or in our case, a crystal candy dish full of Skittles.  Mmm...all those colorsWhat I'm really talking about is the dreaded, and sometimes painful experience of choosing paint colors.  Standing in front of the paint color swatch wall, scared, feeling more alone than ever.  How is anyone ever supposed to choose just one color in a sea of color and funny names?  You see colors like "Dusty Lane" or "Sassy Green."  Personally, I would love to have the job of naming paint colors.  I would name them colors like, "Ride my Bus Yellow," or "Too Much to Drink Brown."  For the past few weeks I have been helping a friend who is renovating his 1950's ranch.  I've been counseling him on layouts, cabinets, tiles, and of course paint color.  I have a few rules when it comes to picking the right paint for any room, to insure you don't end up with a color that looks like "Too Much to Drink Brown."

1. How do You Want the Room to Feel?
Do you want dramatic, light and airy, fun and bright, cool and calm?  Figure out what you want.  This is the first clue that can narrow the choices down.  Here are the definitions of these phrases just in case you don't speak HGTV:
Dramatic - deep, rich colors like purples, navy blues, or deep reds
Light and airy - whites, or light shades of any color
Fun and bright - bold colors like oranges, yellows, reds, etc
Cool and calm - grays, greens, spa-like colors

2. What's in the Room?
This can be a game changer.  For example, one of the homes I grew up in had the worst Football Field Green carpet.  We hated it, but with limited money and bills to be payed, the carpet had to stay.  We had to choose our paint color carefully so as not to make matters worst.  I looked and looked for a color that would compliment that terrible colored carpet, until I found a golden yellowish brown, named "Soft Pebble." By the way, I've memorized every paint color my family and I have used since I has seven.  What can I say?  I'm good with paint names.  When we were done painting, it was as much success as the winning touch-down at the Homecoming game.  Other items in the room to consider: the furniture, art, drapes, etc.

3. Whats the Finish?
There are a few different types of paint: Flat, Eggshell, Satin, Semi-gloss, and High-gloss.  Why so many finishes you ask?  Well, it depends on where your putting it of course, and if you have kids.  Flat paint equals no shine and no kids.  If you try to clean a wall with flat paint, both the dirty finger prints, and the paint are coming off.  Eggshell is a little better, but not much.  Satin is what I use most of the time.  It's a durable paint which you can clean if needs be.  With a medium shine level, it can catch the light ever so slightly, but doesn't look like a reflection.  Semi-gloss is great for bathrooms and kitchens.  It cleans like a breeze, and look Mom! No paint is gone!  High-gloss is awesome, and another one of my favorites.  I used high-gloss paint when painting my furniture.  It leaves an almost refection-like shine.  We also used this in our entryway of out house, Little Pea Cottage.  The entry was a little dark, but we wanted a dramatic, glamorous color for the entry, which is also our gallery.  We painted it a high-gloss dark gray, and with the little light from the overhead window, and the lights from the chandeliers, you can see light reflecting off the walls, making it feel dramatic and glamorous.

4. That's Not my Color!
Beware of falling in love with the paint on the paint swatch.  Here's a little secret: the paint dries two shades darker than what's on the swatch.  The color can also look different in your house than it does at the store.  So, make sure before you buy your paint, check to see how it looks in your room.  Believe me, it's worth it.  Thank goodness paint swatches are free!

5. Paint a Little, Pick a Little
Last of all, stop before you spend all that money buying all those gallons of paint.  If you only buy a pint size, you can paint a little of your top contenders.  Live with them for a while see which one is the best for you and for your room.  This will makes things easier when it comes to only having to pick a few colors, when faced with the sea of color.

Here's hoping you don't go color blind with all the choices of paint, and if worst comes to worst, it's only paint!  You can always paint again!


  1. Don't a lot of stores have even smaller cans?

  2. yes they do. Most store do just ask for a sample size.