Choosing Paint

Painting your house is probably the least expensive and highest impact thing you can do to improve the appearance of your home. Even if you are renting, if your landlord gives you the go ahead, a fresh coat of paint in your desired color can make a rental property feel more like home. A gallon of paint typically costs about $20 and if you purchase a 5-gallon bucket the price per gallon drops. Although painting is an easy DIY project, choosing paint colors can be incredibly hard. Here are a few tips to help you out along the way.

Tip #1: Get Inspired

Do you have a decorative pillow or a vase that you absolutely love? Bring your inspiration item into the paint store to help you get started. Most paint stores have a scanner so you can match a paint color to almost anything (many of the major paint brands have even developed smartphone applications for this with design tools built in). Once you know what the closest color match is, pick out all of the pamphlets that use your color (or any close variations). These pamphlets tend to group colors that go really well together, and are provided to give you ideas. Even if you don’t paint with your original accent color, you can come up with complimentary colors to surround the accents you already have. You can also look through magazines and online photos for further inspiration.

Tip #2: Sample your colors

Paint samples look different in various lighting conditions and the actual paint will look different when painted. Once you narrow your possible paint choices down to just a few colors, order a sample of each. Samples are typically inexpensive, and may even be free at some paint stores. Paint each sample on a test board that you can move around the house. Study the colors for a few days in different lighting conditions; the color will look different at night with household lights on versus during the day with all of the blinds open. This will give you a better feel for the color and if it is right for your home.

Tip #3: Buy extra paint

Although every paint color is determined by a specific formula, each time colors are mixed, the result will be slightly different. In general, you tend to use more paint then you originally plan for, and the last thing you want is to run out mid-wall or have no extra paint for touch-ups. If you do run out of paint, go ahead and match your color at the paint store, and start the new batch on a new wall. If you isolate the new paint batch to a separate wall, your eye is less likely to pick up the differences (mid-wall tends to be very obvious). If you buy multiple 1-gallon containers of paint initially, consider purchasing an empty 5-gallon bucket to mix your gallons together in (this will eliminate any slight variations between the gallons).

Tip #4: Don’t be afraid

Painting is intimidating, but don’t let that intimidation stop you from jumping in. As stated before, paint is fairly inexpensive and easy to change. If you end up with a color you just aren’t sure of or if you change your furniture down the road, you can always repaint (although before you rush to change your paint color, I suggest living with it for a bit to see if it grows on you).

I hope this blog helps you to start your painting process. For further help with design, check out these 10 Tips for Picking Paint Colors from HGTV.


2 thoughts on “Choosing Paint

  1. Great post Samantha! I hope to be done with the painting woes by tomorrow. And you’re right, it feels more like a home and the colors all together (near completion) is very different than only a few walls having been painted.

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