3 ways to simplify picking paint colors for your home or other space

Greetings, color aficionados! If you are visiting me here on the blog, then you have figured out that I am really into paint color lately, and Benjamin Moore to be precise. My client SRH Paint Co. of Spring, Texas is a Benjamin Moore dealer, and my job is to help his customers specify color the right way the first time.

From the get go, I confess that paint color selection used to utterly confound me, the color professional. Yes, I would beat myself up because I couldn't be decisive on paint for my home based on a small color swatch the size of a matchbook. 

Guess what? Even color professionals with a trained eye cannot specify color so well with just a small fan deck. Take heart. Today you will learn 3 ways to simplify the process for yourself. 

If after reading this blog post, you still need help and are in Houston, Texas, please call me 281-989-4086 or email lauren@lfbcolor.com, and we can schedule an in-home, full service consultation for you.

Tip # 1: Work within a particular collection of paints.

Don't overwhelm yourself by looking at all of Benjamin Moore's colors when there are over 3,000 of them. Each collection has a particular look, feel or function.

The Off White Collection offers light, airy options other than just pure white. If you are looking for the look of white or neutrals, then consider this collection. You will also find greys, beiges, greiges and taupes contained. If you are afraid to paint color on your walls, then this is a good collection for you. 

I mentioned in last week's post that I want to incorporate some green in my house, particularly in the bathrooms. Here is a soft color duo from the Off White Collection: OC-136 Celery Salt on the walls + OC-33 Opaline on the ceiling. (IMAGE SOURCE: www.benjaminmoore.com)

The four images below are taken from www.benjaminmoore.com. All of those colors belong to the Affinity collection, our most muted color palette. They are also formulated to mix and match with one another seamlessly. Pick any 2 to 3 Affinity colors, and they work together!


SOURCE: www.benjaminmoore.com

SOURCE: www.benjaminmoore.com

Tip # 2: Paint up color boards to test your top 2 to 3 color picks.

Like I said, it is nearly impossible to select paint color using a little fan deck of swatches. Buy pint samples of your top 2 to 3 selections, then paint each color (flat finish) onto thick card stock or poster board in 11 x 14" or larger size.

Buy an even larger plain white poster board to cover existing walls or surfaces painted in the old color. The goal is to remove the distraction of the existing wall color to focus only on how the new color will look.

Set the color board against the wall and up adjacent to (touching) the trims, cabinets or other fixed elements surrounding the paint. Do this around several parts of the room, always with the white board covering existing wall color. You will set the white boards behind your painted boards.

Seeing color in a larger area makes it easy to see different undertones and intensity in each of your selections, and makes the final decision much easier.

Tip # 3: Don't mix bright/clean colors with soft/muted colors.

This tip is probably the most valuable tip I can give you. Saturated colors look best with other saturated colors, and when your permanent elements such as countertops, cabinets, carpentry and furnishings are black, white and gray. The stark contrast among these colors and their saturation almost require the same strength in painted surface colors. See the first example below on the left, using the color Vermilion, a very saturated red from Benjamin Moore's Color Preview collection. 

If your permanent fixtures and furnishings are muted, toned down and/or earthy, then you will need to select an equally muted paint color palette. See the second example below, which also displays a red. This is Cornwallis Red from Benjamin Moore's Williamsburg collection. Note that the red is toned down as compared to the Vermilion above.

I keep being told at the paint store that selecting paint colors is an emotional experience for many, and I see how that could be true. Because I sit and analyze colors all day, I tend to forget that! In the end, how YOU feel about a color is the most important part of all of this. If you narrow it down to 2 or 3 good color choices, then select the one that resonates most with YOU!

Until next time, live colorfully,