Making the Right Paint Choice, Part 2

As we meet up with our puzzled homeowner again, he is considering two paint options – the left option on the fan is actually a very dark gold. You can see the color’s origin when you look at the lighter shades and they appear almost yellow.

His second choice is among selections one, two, or three on the other visible color row. He doesn’t want to use the darker choices because they would blend in too much with the fireplace opening and the black trim on the windows.

This is a good first step, but if he heads right to the paint store and orders one of these, he is almost guaranteed to be disappointed for two reasons. Paint chips are printed and the dyes on the paper don’t match the dyes that make up the paint. This means that the color you see on a chip will not exactly match the color of the paint you buy.

The second reason comes from how the light comes into your home. Everything from the direction of your windows to the shape of a room will affect how a paint color will look on a wall, and different walls will make the color look different – sometimes darker or lighter, but sometimes even a different color. To see this, look at a corner where two walls and the ceiling meet. It’s likely that you will see three different tones, even if everything was painted the same color.

So our guy has to go to the paint store and pick up samples of the colors he’s debating about – and maybe a couple of others that are similar, along with an inexpensive foam brush for each color. Then once home, he needs to paint each wall with at least a one foot by one foot square of each color – leaving some space between the colors so they don’t reflect on each other. (If this bothers you, paint some white poster boards and tape them on the walls.)

As a final step, he needs to live with his choices for a few days, looking at them in the morning, afternoon and evening, and with natural light as well as with the home’s evening lighting. Over a short period of time, he will know which one he will be happiest living with. Paint is a very personal choice. It’s worthwhile to take the time to select what will work best for you.

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