The Perfect Palette: 5 Tips for Picking the Best Interior Paint Color
July 4, 2023 - Michelle Murphy
We all know how transformative a fresh coat of paint can be. It’s like a magic potion that can entirely change the vibe of your space in a flash to reflect your style and persona.
But, with endless paint swatches and an infinite rainbow of color possibilities, the task of picking the perfect hue can feel more overwhelming than finding a needle in a haystack.
The good news is that MMID is here to help you navigate potential color conundrums! This blog is going to dive deep into key considerations you should keep in mind when selecting an interior paint color. By the end, you’ll be equipped with enough knowledge and confidence to tackle that paint aisle like a pro!
5 Considerations When Choosing an Interior Paint Color
Interior paint color has the power to greatly impact the overall aesthetic of a space. These five essential considerations are sure to keep you on course and guide you through a seamless selection process.
1 - Lighting
Just like that perfect selfie (or shelfie in my case, ha!), the lighting in a room can make a world of difference.
You might have noticed that some colors seem to ‘change’ throughout the day. That’s all thanks to our good old friend, the sun. North-facing rooms get cooler, more diffused light, which can bring out cooler tones in the paint. South-facing rooms, on the other hand, get a warmer, brighter light, which can make your colors look more vibrant.
Depending on the type of bulbs you use, your walls might be playing dress-up every time you flip the switch. Warm bulbs can enhance reds, oranges, and yellows while cool bulbs could make your blues and greens pop. LED lights can play fair with most colors but can sometimes make whites look a bit too sterile.
Pro Tip: Always check your paint samples under different types of lighting throughout the day before you commit. Lighting and paint colors are like a dance duo—they’ve got to move in sync to truly shine!
2 - Undertones
Ever picked a neutral grey, only to paint it on your wall and discover it looks unexpectedly blue, green, or even lavender? That’s an example of the sneaky work of the hues that lurk beneath your interior paint color known as undertones. They can make or break your room’s overall look even though they aren’t front and center.
Don’t be intimidated by this master manipulator though. There’s a few tricks that can make the task of identifying undertones a bit easier:
Use the darkest shade on the same color swatch to identify the true undertone: If you’re looking at a light grey, for example, check out the darkest grey on the same strip. If it looks bluish, you’re dealing with a cool undertone. If it’s more brownish, it’s a warm undertone.
Compare the color you’re considering with a pure white: This comparison often helps the undertone to reveal itself.
Pro Tip: Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace is a great “true white” that you can compare your color selections too for determining undertones!
3 - Permanent Fixtures
Let’s shift gears and talk about the other stars of your room - the permanent fixtures. When we say ‘permanent fixtures’, we’re talking about things like your flooring, built-in furniture, cabinets, and even large pieces of furniture that you plan to keep around for a while.
You might be wondering why they deserve a special mention in our color-picking journey. Well, these features significantly contribute to the overall harmony of your room’s decor. They’re the ones that have to live with your color choice day in, day out, so it’s important to choose a color that plays well with these elements.
Here are some handy tips to keep in mind:
Identify the undertones in your fixtures: Do they lean warm or cool? If your flooring is a warm-toned wood, for instance, you might want to stick with warm or neutral paint colors to create a cohesive look.
Consider the color intensity: If your fixtures are bold and bright, you may want to opt for a more subdued wall color and vice versa.
Remember, you’re not just picking a color for your walls, but you’re setting the stage for everything else in the room. It’s all about creating that picture-perfect balance.
4 - The Psychology of Color
To keep things short and sweet, color psychology studies how different hues can influence our emotions and actions, and it can be a great tool for setting the right mood in each room.
Here’s an example: if you’re looking to create a serene sanctuary in your bedroom, blues might be your go-to, as they’re known for evoking feelings of relaxation and calm. On the other hand, if you’re aiming for a high-energy, stimulating environment for, let’s say, a home office or workout room, a vibrant red or yellow might be more suitable.
It’s important to note that color psychology isn’t a one-size-fits-all theory. The key is to strike a balance between the general psychological effects of color and what personally feels right for you. For a more in depth study, check out a good read on color psychology!
_Pro Tip: When planning out the color atmosphere of your space, creating a mood board of swatches, fabric samples, and pictures of furniture and fixtures can be really helpful for visualizing how everything will work together. _
5 - Sampling
If you’re wondering, “Do I really need to sample colors? Isn’t that just an extra step?” Trust me… you do. Sampling interior paint color allows you to see how your potential choice behaves under different conditions, like lighting.
Before you sprint to the paint store, allow me to arm you with some tips to make the most of your color samples!
Give your samples some time: Look at them at different times of the day and night, and under different lighting situations.
Keep the finish of the paint in mind: Glossy paint reflects more light and can appear lighter, while matte finish absorbs light and appears darker.
Pro Tips: You could sample directly on your wall, but why not try a separate board? That way, you can move it around the room to see how the color looks in different light and against various pieces of furniture! I love using foam core that I paint using a small roller brush!
Color Me Impressed
And just like that, we’ve concluded our colorful journey!
At the end of the day, your home is your canvas. Don’t be afraid to experiment - play around with interior paint color and see what fits your space and, more importantly, your vibe the best. Even if there’s a few ‘oops’ moments, those are all part of the journey towards creating a home that truly reflects you.
So, grab those color swatches, turn on your favorite tunes, and get to painting!