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First Home Fix

First time home buyers, sprucing the place up with limited time and budget.

A Bad Case of Paint Color ADHD

It’s nearly impossible to talk about a home renovation and not mention paint.   Let’s face it, a fresh coat of paint can give you a really big bang for your buck, it can instantly transform a room.  Although, not all transformations are necessarily good transformations, which is the reason why choosing the right paint color can challenge the hidden Picasso in all of us. Why is this such a daunting task? I’m not exactly sure, but here is a list of some of the tips we learned along the way.

  1. Narrow Down Your Choices. We used Benjamin Moore for all of our interior painting.  For one, a painter recommended it.  When he did, I was relieved.  Not only because Benjamin Moore paint has a great reputation, but because it helped narrow down the selection.  We had a serious case of paint color ADHD.  We needed focus and by sticking to one brand, it helped.
  2. Don’t Forget the Ceiling. Our 1952 ranch barely has 8 foot ceilings.  In order to add the appearance of height, a paint color expert (who we met at the paint store) shared this really helpful (and free) tip.  She said that too much of a contrast between the walls and ceiling closes off the ceiling and makes it appear closer.  Her suggestion—paint the ceiling 60% of the formula that you choose for the walls.  Or, if you want to get a little bit creative, you can pick a totally different color for your ceiling.  For example, look at the paint color swatch card for your wall choice and then choose a ceiling color a few shades lighter.  She referred to the ceiling as the 5th wall, like 4 wasn’t enough.  We  took her advice and tried this in our bathroom.  We have Hazy Blue (2040-50) on the walls and Spring Mint (2040-70) on the ceiling.  If you’re adding crown molding, this trick also makes the moldings stand out.
    Spring Mint

    Benjamin Moore Spring Mint

    Benjamin Moore Hazy Blue

    Benjamin Moore Hazy Blue

  3. Keep Your Color Palette Tight. It was very tempting to pick a different color for each room in order to give each room it’s own unique look and feel.  But our trusted paint expert advised against this.  Her advice: by keeping the colors that you choose for each room (especially rooms that lead from one to the other) in the same “family” or even the same color, the rooms will flow better and your house may appear roomier.  You can play around with formulas here too, for example, one room at 100% of color formula, but the room that gets less light the same color at 60%.  This also helps you narrow down your color choices!  You can still accomplish the “unique look and feel” with furniture and accents, you don’t have to do this with wall color.  We’re not exactly at the furniture and accent stage yet, but we’ll fill you in on how it goes.
  4. Ask the “Experts”. You may be surprised how many people love to give free advice.  As we mentioned earlier, we found a paint expert in the paint store (of all places).  When you find someone who obviously knows what they’re doing, or at least looks like they do, don’t be afraid to ask!  Interior designers live among us!  They’re everywhere.  Some are true professionals with degrees and experience.  And some are our relatives and friends who have a great eye for color and style.  We happen to be blessed with a family of artists (although we haven’t yet uncovered this gene in ourselves).  If you still can’t think of anyone to ask, try hanging out in furniture stores.  Catalogs such as Pottery Barn will even list the paint color they use in their pictures, and Ethan Allen does the same thing in their show rooms.    Also, the people who work in these stores may offer some great ideas as well.

Picture 1 courtesy of Readersdigest.com, pictures 2 and 3 are from myperfectpaintcolor.com

2 Comments

  1. FirstHomeFix
    7:44 pm on March 30th, 2010

    Thanks so much Gwen!! Glad you liked the post.

  2. Gwen
    6:36 pm on March 30th, 2010

    I really appreciate these tips. I also found myself struggling to choose the “just right” paint colors. When we set out to paint, we decided to check out the color varieties that were available. When we saw what was available we were shocked. There were so many different varieties and subtleties between the simplest colors. By looking at just one brand of paint, it really helped us focus in, Thanks for that tip!!
    Also when we decided to ask the experts, we were able to gain valuable insights into what works and what doesn’t. Thanks again for all of the great tips! I will be checking back for further updates as we continue to renovate. 🙂