Expert Tips for Choosing Interior Paint Colors

By DEF Contributor
choosing interior paint
Source: Amazon/Montage Signature Paint

At some time or another, you will be standing in a room in your home with a handful of paint swatches and a decision to make. Maybe you only have one room to paint or an entire house, but the choice still has to be made. It doesn’t help that there are thousands, if not millions, of paint pigments. When you add different finishes, the options are nearly endless. It’s an important decision that may seem simple; paint color can drastically change the feel of a room. But with so many options, how do you know you have the right one? Thankfully, there are some tips that will steer you in the right direction when choosing interior paint colors.

Don’t Trust the Screen

Online shopping is a huge time saver. Being able to shop for items you need online is convenient, but it does have a drawback when it comes to color fidelity. Maybe you have seen small labels on clothing sites, but the warning also applies to paint colors. “Colors may vary due to differences in screens and display settings.” This is a disclaimer informing you that the color you see on your computer or phone screen might be different than the actual product.

The color difference is normally slight, but potentially noticeable. However, the color difference should never be so drastic that a red paint online turns out to be blue in person. How much the color varies from what you see online entirely depends on the screen, display settings, and image quality. How much the color varies also depends on the company. You may find that some companies have better color fidelity than others.

For all of these reasons, it is not suggested that you choose paint colors online. It simply is not worth the risk that the color you fell in love with online turns out to be a different color in person.

Mind the Light

Adelson’s illusion is a perfect example of how powerful light is. This illusion shows how the same color can appear vastly different due to lighting conditions. Light can darken a color or wash it out, meaning the color you selected might look entirely different once it is on your wall.

Before you paint a room, make a note of the lighting situation. Any lighting fixtures you have in the room will affect the paint color, but natural light will have an even greater impact. How the light shines through windows will change throughout the day with the position of the sun and of any clouds. To see how the paint color will change with light, use swatches or paint small sample patches in different parts of the room. By testing different areas of the room, you can get a good estimate of what the paint will look like in different lighting conditions.

Connected Colors

choosing interior paint
Source: Shutterstock/Gwen Lewis

Each room of your house may feel self contained, but chances are you can see a room by standing in a different room. If you can see your kitchen from your living room, then those two rooms need to work together visually. Of course, you are free to paint whatever room whatever color you want, but your house will be more visually cohesive if you coordinate room colors.

More Than White

You may think white paint is white paint, but in reality there are hundreds of different white paints. Christian Zapatka is an architect with a lot of experience in choosing the right white paint. There is a white paint for every situation. Benjamin Moore Super White is as starch white as possible with no traces of yellow or gray. Benjamin Moore China White is a softer mix of gray and beige providing a warm tone rather than a blinding white. White paint might be low on your priority list, but it should not be overlooked.

Professional Advice

If you feel you need help making design decisions, you can find professionals eager to assist you. With technology, getting help is easier than ever. Valspar launched an app for Apple OS called Color Connect which connects customers with color consultants. With this app you can talk with a professional through live video to ensure you are making the best paint choice.

Choosing interior paint colors is a big decision. Painting is time consuming, so you do not want to repaint often. Select colors to sample in person as shopping for paint online is not recommended. Once you have your samples, test each color in different lighting before you commit. Don’t forget to consider your whole house when choosing paint, and don’t underestimate the variations of white paint. If you are having a hard time or want another opinion, reach out to a professional.

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Gwen Lewis is a writer who lives in California. She has been in the fashion and health industry for years and loves writing on the topic to give tips from experience. In her free time, she loves to stay active and has just taken on learning how to surf. For more, visit her online portfolio here.