How do I pick the right paint colors?

Feb 3, 2023 | Education

One question we always get is how do I pick the right colors. There is no easy answer to this question. Some people love pastels, other love the deep bold colors, some like the cool soothing colors, and others like the warm earth tones. The best way to think about the color you will want is to think about the space you are dealing with and the mood or affect you want to produce. If a room is filled with light and large, you have more freedom to experiment with a wider palette of colors. If your room is more confined and there is no natural light, you have much less freedom in your choice of colors. We always advise a few general guidelines and exercises when trying to pick colors. Let’s start with the guidelines.

Room size – many in the home decorating space will tell you that small room need light, airy colors to help them look large, but what if you goal is to create a nook that you want to feel cozy. Deep tone colors can often make a room feel like the swallow you up. This can be a good feel for a reading room or a small intimate meeting space. If you do want to open up a small space, a light and interesting color might work best. The idea behind room size is to keep the activity and the mood of the room at the front of your decision. Let yourself have some freedom no matter what the room size.

Light level – light is often something you can control. Second to wall color and texture, lighting does more to achieve a room’s ambiance that any other factor. In fact, it may be more important than the color depending on what you are trying to achieve. If you cannot control lighting, paint or wall covering will play a large roll in bringing about the mood or feel that you want.

The Unchangeable – there will invariably be elements in the space you are trying to paint that will be out of your control. If you are renting an office space or apartment, it might be carpet, trim, doors, and ceilings you can’t change. Or if it is an exterior it will be the landscaping and the neighboring buildings that you will need to think about before you pick your palette. Consider how well your color scheme will fit in the context of the whole. If the buildings or houses around you all have a certain theme, you certainly don’t want your facility or home to be completely out of character – that is just jarring no matter how good your color scheme.

Mood – after you’ve thought through all the above and have a good idea of what kind of color schemes will be acceptable, you will need to think through your objectives concerning the mood of the room. Do you want a warm and inviting space? Earth tone grays are pretty good at this. Do you want interesting but low key background kind of interesting? Then pastels are for you. Are you looking for something dominant and strong feeling? Then look to the deep colors like navy blues and mid-tone, interesting reds and greens. Only you can know what the mood of the room should be.

Branding – I would be remiss to not mention that, if you are a business, you need to consider your branding. The colors you pick should be neutral when it comes to your branding elements. You would not want a royal blue and gold logo in a room with pinkish gray walls. You would want that logo on a white or light cool gray wall. Just make sure your branding and company them fits the colors you are picking – this is more important than you can imagine!

The final advice we give homeowners and business owners alike is to visit a few businesses that they find appealing. Go to the mall where the stores are a multi varied symphony of designs. Starbucks with their comforting warm colors with a bit of interest added is great for relaxing and socializing – that is why they picked them! Chick-Fil-A with their white and red is exciting and energizing, not to mention brand conformity. Burn Cigar Bar has the deep and vibrant colors making it an interesting, cozy, and even exciting environtment.

Oh, just FYI, if you get stuck, most paint suppliers like Sherwin Williams and PPG will refer you to a color specialist and will even give you an hour or two with them if you buy their product for the project. Just let us know and we can even make the arrangements when you contract with us!