paint. Transform any room without lifting a hammer. Take an old piece of furniture from trash to treasure. Completely revitalize your home's curb appeal.
But how do you pick the magic color?
I'm always shocked when I'm watching House Hunters on HGTV and home buyers seem to pick or forgo houses they otherwise like due to a bad paint job! Seriously??!
I chose all of the paint colors for our renovated house in 3 or 4 days. Most of that time was spent on the color which is carried through our entire first floor (except the powder room), stairwell, and upstairs hall (and later our basement family room). I tested 8 samples for that one color to avoid a costly mistake. If you like the colors in our house pictures, check out our color list on the Sources for Stuff page.
Here are a few steps to take when choosing paint for walls:
1) Look at magazines, books, favorite catalogs, friends' homes, and the web for ideas on a general scheme - blues, tans, golds, etc. If you have upholstered furniture, bedding, or window treatments, you should consider "lifting" a color from the fabric and using it on the wall. Large swaths of color can be color matched at a paint retailer that caters to decorators. If your furniture is neutral then the sky is the limit. Several major paint retailers have fun tools on their websites where you can upload a photo of your room and "paint" it, or otherwise test out colors. Try these - Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, and Behr. Very fun!
2) Whether you are painting a single room or an entire house, your colors should flow particularly between rooms that don't have a real door. If two rooms are connected by a huge doorway or archway, you should strongly consider painting both rooms the same color unless you are lucky enough to have two large rooms that don't need the benefit of expansiveness. One technique is to put all of the paint chips together on a table and see if they look good together or whether they clash. For small rooms like powder rooms, home offices, or guest rooms consider going for a bold yet still coordinating color. Repainting a small room is a relatively easy task.
3) Pick up paint chips in the general color scheme your are considering. If you are doing a whole house, tell your paint dealer and they will often give you a fan deck to keep or borrow (or pay a nominal fee). These are really helpful for keeping track of your choices and testing a lot of options.
4) Pick 3 or 4 options, and buy small samples of them. Do NOT trust the paint chips. Many companies sell small sample sizes so you don't have to buy a full gallon.
5) Take them home and paint large samples (at least 3' x 3') on the wall in the room that you are painting in a conspicuous location where you'll be able to look at them easily in a variety of lights. If you have the time, wait 48 hours so you can really see what the colors look like in the day and night, and once cured (which can definitely take several hours). Hopefully one jumps out as THE color, or you are heading back to the paint store for another round of sample colors.
6) Remember - Like most things, paint is NOT permanent!
Grab your brush and start the transformation! Please email me any great 'before and after' transformation pictures!
Photo courtesy of Sherwin Williams