How to Choose the Perfect Paint Color for Your Imperfect Life

How to Choose the Perfect Paint Color for Your Imperfect Life

Creative Studio
Jun 30, 2017
(Image credit: Alice Achterhof)

Have you ever flipped through the carefully curated pages of a home magazine or lifestyle blog and thought, This is so not my life? Sometimes it's hard to find the motivation or even the desire to even try to improve your home, especially when you don't see yourself represented in what're supposed be sources of inspiration. But if you start small, by changing one room or even just one part of one room, then you're that much closer to becoming one of those pulled-together bloggers you hate so hard right now. Meanwhile, staying true to your likes and abilities keeps the project manageable. An easy and not-terribly-expensive way to jump in is with a new paint color, and here are a few tips so you — yes, even you — will be able to select the perfect shade.

It's OK to be you.

Some people believe that changing the color of a room can change your mood as well, but that can work in either direction. If you're not a morning person and know that it's just not going to happen, you might not want your kitchen walls to shout, "GOOD MORNING, MY ANGEL!" Making a change within the same paradigm still counts as making a change.

Don't be too trendy.

In the late-1990s, it seems like everyone was obsessed with the combination of hunter green and a deep cranberry. If you don't remember that, you're fortunate, because it was awful. Up-to-the-minute trends can look great now, but can look tired (or just played out) faster than you can say, "Why doesn't Forever21 have a viable return policy?"

Be honest with yourself.

You might see the same colors everywhere: on design shows, in catalog spreads, or splattered all over Instagram. But if they're not for you then don't feel obligated to use them. Also, be real about your life when you're selecting a finish. If you know you're going to bash the laundry basket into the wall after every wash, then a flat or matte finish might not be the best option for your laundry room.

Try and try again.

Unlike the free hot dog samples at Costco, most big box stores don't limit the number of color swatches you can take. Pick up the ones that look even remotely interesting so you can compare them to your furniture, your cabinets, or just under your own lights.

But don't trust any old lighting.

It's true for fitting rooms and it's true for paint colors. When you've narrowed it down to a couple of options, get a small sample can and roll out a couple of test patches on the wall. You'll want to see how it looks with your own overhead or accent lights and at different times of day. You thought you looked washed out when you wore yellow? Your hallway might too.

This post was created by the Apartment Therapy Creative Studio and is sponsored by Glidden®.
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