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Picking a paint color

Though picking the perfect paint shade is the fun part of a painting project, it can often prove daunting.

Summer is a great time to take on a painting project. Painting a room is an easy, inexpensive upgrade that do-it-yourselfers can tackle and accomplish over a weekend. Although picking the perfect paint shade is the fun part of a painting project, it can often prove daunting. Below are some questions you will want to ponder to help make your decision.

HOW IS THE SPACE USED?

If you are painting your bedroom, you might want to choose a calming color such as blue. A study in the United Kingdom by Travelodge found that those who slept in blue bedrooms slept the best and woke up in a happy, positive mood. For a kitchen, you may want to use a cheerful bright color to get your morning started on an energizing note.

WHAT ITEMS ARE NOT BEING REPLACED?

This includes furniture, carpeting, and drapes, which are larger investments. Unless you plan to replace these items, you’ll want to keep them in mind when choosing a color so it doesn’t clash.

WHAT IS THE LIGHTING LIKE IN THE ROOM?

A room’s natural lighting will change throughout the day as the sun’s angle changes. Also, the direction of the room’s sun exposure will cause a paint color to appear differently. Artificial light will also affect the appearance of a color. When choosing paint colors for a room, it’s helpful to look at color swatches in the actual space and under different lighting conditions. For the best test, buy a paint color sample and paint the desired surface. Observe how the color looks at different times of the day, in natural and artificial light.

DO YOU HAVE ANY INSPIRATION FOR THE ROOM?

Pinterest, Houzz, and home magazines are great starting points to get ideas on the overall look you are hoping to achieve in a room. If you are thinking about a project down the road, save pages from magazines of rooms that you like or create online albums. Eventually you will see a pattern of what appeals to you.

WHAT IS THE TRAFFIC LIKE IN THE ROOM?

A room’s traffic pattern will help you narrow down a color choice, as well as the finish you select. Paint comes in various different paint sheens so you can choose the one that is right for you.

Flat is the least reflective finish and provides excellent depth of color. It’s a great choice for hiding surface imperfections on walls.

Matte is more reflective than flat and is great for minimizing surface imperfections, while providing a durable finish.

Eggshell imparts a softly polished glow and provides an easy-to-clean surface. It’s perfect for busy areas such as kitchens, dining rooms, and family rooms.

Satin, or pearl, is a medium finish ideal for high-traffic areas like hallways when the full sheen of a semi-gloss is not desired.

Semigloss creates a smooth, highly reflective finish that is durable and withstands repeated cleaning. It is used to highlight interior trim, doors, and window frames and is popular for bathrooms.

DO YOU HAVE A COLOR IN MIND?

While a trendy new color from fashion runways and magazines may be appealing, consider whether you can live with that color. Maybe you adore a beautiful tangerine orange, but an entire room might be a bit overwhelming.

Begin by painting just one accent wall in a fun color and see how you like it. Keep in mind that every color has many variations. If bright sunny yellow is too much for you in the kitchen, tone it down a bit for a more subtle shade. And if you really aren’t sure about a color, try a few accent pillows, a throw rug, or curtains in your new favorite shade before committing to the color on your walls.

And don’t forget: paint is never permanent. It’s simple to paint over any color experiments gone wrong. So don’t be afraid to try a new color!

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Julia Strzesieski is the marketing coordinator at Cole Hardware and can be reached at [email protected].

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