How to pick a paint color – Blog by Darci Hether New York

so i already shared with you my favorite go-to paint colors in a previous post, but how does one find the perfect backdrop for their particular space? luckily, most paint manufactures realize that, while their awe-inspiring wall of colored paint chip options might elicit the inner hidden artist in some, it can also be super intimidating – even fear inducing – for others when considering the many many choices available. to that point, the paint companies offer small “color pots” for customers to purchase – once they’ve narrowed it down to their few favorites – to sample in their own space….and in-situation sampling is so very important!!

how to pick paint color - details by darci hether

[we went through 6 different paint colors in this den to find the perfect shade of blue-grey. and the second color from the left that looked grey on the paint chip certainly did not look grey once sampled in the room! can you guess which of these colors we ended up using? take a look at the completed room in the picture below.

why is sampling paint colors in their intended room so important? aside from the fact that many individuals struggle to visualize what a color will look like in their room from a teeny, tiny painted piece of paper, there are other variables within a space that can drastically alter the appearance of a color. what are those variables? so glad you asked!

here are a few things to consider:

lighting! how is the room lit?

incandescent bulbs add a warmer, more yellow hue to the colors they illuminate.

led bulbs – a great alternative to the soon-to-be extinct incandescent bulbs – come in an array of color temperatures from cool bright white to warm to soft white. i always prefer soft white led bulbs!

halogen bulbs are more resembling of natural light and make all colors look more vivid. using halogens would make the transition from daylight to artificial light less jarring.

florescent lighting (please tell me you are not using florescent bulbs in your home!!) emits a cooler, more blue light and changes the colors of the room as a result.

natural light shows the truest color and should always be considered when selecting paint colors. having said that, the direction the room in question faces and how the natural light comes into the room adds yet another layer to how lighting can affect the colors of a room! read on to find out how…..

how to pick a paint color - details by darci hether

[if you guessed the fourth color from the left, you are right! but case in point, when this south-facing room was photographed, it was done in the late afternoon when the natural light was flooding in. if you were to see this room first thing in the morning the wall color reads much darker and moodier.

north-facing rooms can be a bit challenging. the light in these rooms tend to be cool and bluish. so, instead of fighting it, work with what you’ve got! typically bolder colors show better than muted colors, which will look more subdued.

south-facing rooms, on the other hand, are a joy for picking paint colors! they are full of warm light and therefore work well with cool and warm colors!

east-facing rooms are filled with light that is warm and yellowy before noon and then turns bluer later in the day. generally speaking, i love sampling different shades of grey in east facing rooms and checking back periodically throughout the day to see how amazingly the colors change.

west-facing rooms provide the best evening light and offer a beautiful warm feeling at night. but be sure to check the color you are sampling during the morning hours as the morning light can produce shadows and make colors look dull.

how to pick a paint color - details by darci hether

[here’s an example of how natural light can alter the read of color in a room…..these two images are of the same room, at about the same time of day, but the bed wall – which is tucked back away from the windows – reads darker and moodier that the wall near the chair and fireplace.

so, now that you know a bit more about how light can affect the read of a color, where oh where to sample your paint options?? I always recommend sampling a color in at least two locations of a room: one sample directly opposite the window and one sample directly next to the window. why? the sample opposite the window will read its lightest and brightest while the color next to the window will read its darkest and dullest. do you love the color in both of these locations?….well then, you may have just found your winner! oh, and when sampling the paint colors, be sure to paint a large enough sample – at least a 12″ x 12″ square – and that the sample square is fully saturated with the sample color so as to not pick up the existing wall color behind it!

how about it?? are you ready to try your hand at selecting a new paint color for your place? if you’re still not confident in choosing your new wall hue and you’d like some professional expertise, we are here to help!!

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