Guest Author - Donna Coogan
Painting a room is hands down one of the fastest ways to change the look and feel of any space, as well as one of the cheapest. If you are stuck on what color to choose, then try this easy and inexpensive experiment.
First, of all, never choose your colors going by the tiny paint strips at the store. They will never give you an accurate feel for what looks good in your home. The only way to do that is to see a larger paint sample on your walls. That’s where this experiment will save you time, money and frustration.
Begin by choosing 3-5 colors that you really like and buy them in small sample jars or cans. Trust me on this, because if you invest in several gallons and then find out the color doesn’t work, it can be a real disappointment, not to mention money down the drain.
Paint your colors on large pieces of poster board – one color per board. These will give you large “life-size” paint chips that will more easily allow you to determine the color you want in your room. Poster board is lightweight, making it easy to move around the room which you will need to do for this experiment. It is also cheap which is always a plus.
Rotate the poster board on different walls of your room at different times of the day, because the colors will be affected by how shadow and light plays into the space at any given time. Also place your paint samples against furnishings in the room to see how they look together. Place them by the window treatments, upholstered pieces, kitchen cabinets, etc.
If this feels like too much trouble let me share a little story. I once painted my family room in a yellow color that I absolutely loved. I had used it in my daughter’s room where it opened up the space and looked really pretty. I decided I wanted it in our family room, too. However, my daughter’s room had laminate flooring in a light to medium oak finish while our family room had wall-to-wall green carpeting. Her room also had sunlight coming in from windows that were on 3 different walls of her room, whereas my family room only had one wall of triple windows. The result was the lovely yellow paint took on an eerie shade of green because of how it reflected the carpet color and because of how the sunlight came into the family room from only one wall. It looked even worse at night. As you can imagine, I hated it and had to start over. If I had done my poster board experiment I could have realized this sooner.
When you do this experiment, you will learn a lot about what colors you are willing to live with in your home. If you don’t like any of the colors you’ve chosen, ask yourself why. Sometimes all you need to do is go up or down a shade. But, maybe you just need to start over with a fresh batch of samples. Don’t stress about it too much– taking the time to experiment in the beginning will save you money, time and headaches over the long haul. Doing your research up front, can also be a fun experience when you see how much paint color really does affect the look and feel of a room.