Paint buying guide

When it comes to decorating, choosing paint colour can really be a challenge. While you may feel that there are so many choices you're bound to find the right one, you may end up feeling that there are so many choices you don't know where to start!

The tips here will really help you if you feel stumped by this important choice. After all, the paint colour will set the tone for the room.

Be Patient

It's great to collect paint chips when planning a room, but hold off making final choices until you've developed an overall room scheme. Paint is available in literally an infinite array of colours and is the most versatile element of your room decor, the easiest to change, and the least expensive. Get ideas but make the final decision after rugs, wallpaper, and fabrics are finalized.

Coordinate Decorating Samples

When you go shopping, you'll need to refer to your fabric, carpet, tile, wallpaper, and trim samples constantly. Be sure to take everything with you wherever you go. No telling where you might see something wonderful.

Really Study the Colours

You'll find clues about the underlying tones of different shades of a colour on a full sample strip of coordinated colours. Even if you're not even considering using a darker tone, look at all the colours carefully. Decide if the family of colours is the direction you're headed with your colour selection.

Tried and True Formula for Colours

If you're working with a print fabric, you'll probably be happier if you select the coordinating wall paint colour from the background of the print. Use the deeper or brighter tones for accents throughout the room or adjacent spaces.

Trim it Out

More often than not, you'll select a shade of white or off-white for the mouldings, doors, and windows. If you're feeling brave, consider the palest shade of colour to coordinate with the walls. For a really striking look, try lighter walls and dark tones or bright colour for trim.

Choose the Paint Finish for the Job

Consider which paint finish might be best for your project. Matte or flat finishes hide wall imperfections, but glossier finishes will reflect more light.

Warm or Cool?

Colours are often referred to as "warm" and "cool." Orange, red, and pink are considered "warm" colours, while blues, greens, and violet are thought to be "cool." Knowing the theory behind colour can help you select the right tone for the feel you're trying to achieve.

White is Not Always White

Trying to find the perfect white can be a challenge! Beiges and off-whites have subtle colour, so compare paint chips to your fabrics and flooring to determine if a warmer pinkish or yellow-toned white -- or a cooler, bluer white -- is best for your room.

Shed a Little Light

The best way to get a true view of a paint colour is to look at it in many lights. Take the paint chip outside to see it in natural light. Look at in under an incandescent and fluorescent light. Best yet, take the paint chip, fabrics, and accessories to the room in which they'll live. Check out the colours there.

Measuring Works Magic

Take your room measurements with you to the paint store or home center. The professional at the store will help you determine the correct quantity of paint to buy for your job. Or you might use your numbers to consult one of the handy online paint estimators to get an idea of how much paint you'll need for your project. Remember primer and trim paints.

Ask, Ask, Ask!

For helpful paint advice, go to your local paint store. Tell the paint professional about your project and goals for your decorating project. Ask which paint products they recommend, and why. Get information on specialty paints such as low-odor, stain-killing primers, chalkboard paint, washable paint, and many more.

Look Up to the Ceiling

Light colours are usually most pleasing for a ceiling, because ceilings are seen in shadow. If you'd like the ceiling to match the wall colour, buy ceiling paint one or two shades lighter than the wall colour (on its colour chip). Or, dilute your wall colour with white paint in a ratio of 25% colour to 75% white.

Try it on for Size

When you think that you've really chosen your perfect colour, buy a test tub of the paint to do a test patch. This will prove to be excellent insurance. Paint a 12-48" square on a board or directly on your wall. Look at it during the day, morning, evening, and night. How does it look with the room's flooring, wall coverings, and fabric choices? If it isn't right, get another test tub and try again. We like to test three colours at once to save time. You'll undoubtedly find the right colour.

See the Plane

For the most accurate colour representation, view paint samples vertically (up against the wall) and view carpet samples set flat on the floor. If you do this, you'll see how the colours will look when they're applied to your space.

Colour Contamination

Once you've gotten your test sample up on the wall, notice whether the colour you're testing might be adverslly affected by other colours in a room. For example, if your room is currently painted pink and your test patch is beige, it is likely that the pink will reflect onto the beige, changing the colour. The same would go for blue or yellow. Or if there are coloured curtains on the windows, their colour will reflect onto your new paint. To get the best idea of how the room will look. place the painted sample up on the wall and place the flooring samples on the floor. Test the colour in a room with the same exposure to sunlight. Find a room that is neutral.

Let It Dry

Wet paint colour often looks different from dry paint. Don't panic when you first see the paint applied to the wall. Let it dry, then check it with your other samples (fabric, tiles, carpet) to decide if it looks right. Paint can also look out of place in an empty room. Bring in a few room elements (a chair, painting, or window treatment) to see how it all works together.

Always Have White Around

Having some extra white paint, carefully sealed in a container, can never hurt. Use it to lighten some paint that's too dark. Or use it to dilute your wall colour by 3/4 for use on the ceiling. Just make sure to use the same kind of paint (flat latex for example), mix thoroughly, and make enough of the new colour to finish the project. It will be impossible to mix up more later.

Give It Time

Getting used to a new room colour might take a few days. A new bold colour may seem overwhelming at first. Put some furniture, flooring, and fabric in the room. You'll probably be pleasantly surprised to see that your new colour harmonizes with other room elements.

 

 

 

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