Studies have shown that paint colors can directly affect your mood and behavior. With the great impact that paint color can make on your everyday life, it is essential to consider the common mistakes made when choosing paint colors for your home. This article will provide a detailed look at what you should consider before throwing paint on the wall and committing to a color that may appear to, but might not suit your needs, design, and style.

Making the Final Decision Too Quickly

Perhaps you have a paint color you love or have found a paint sample that you feel like you have to have — but hold that thought. There are different undertones to color which may be affected by the lighting or how the paint dries when it is applied to the wall, and you don’t want to make a decision too quickly.

There are a few considerations for selecting paint on your own that take time and a bit of research. Some paint manufacturers design their paint to be applied with a specific method that may include brushing, rolling, or spraying. Furthermore, you may find that water and oil-based paints require different cleaning methods, or can be best utilized in certain areas of the home.

Not Taking Into Consideration Furniture and Decorations

It can be tempting to remove all of your furniture and decor before painting a room, but before you do so, you need to ensure that the paint matches your furniture and decor.

Matching your design style with your paint is an essential step in selecting the colors that will best suit your furniture, art, and decorations. If you are moving into a new space, or are considering updating or transitioning the style and color of a specific room, you may want to arrange or set the room with some of the decor and furniture you intend to put in that space. After doing so, you can simply paint a board or a swatch on the wall and observe how the color of the paint looks against your items to see if it is complementary — or not.

A few things to consider when matching paint color to decor and furniture may include:

  • Looking to see if the hue and undertone of the paint may draw out or clash with the colors and undertones of your decor.

  • Consider using a color wheel or the 60-30-10 color rule when creating and matching a design and color scheme.

  • Look for the colors that highlight and bring out the best of your items. While it may seem enticing to perfectly match your paint to your couch, you may find that a bold or supplementary color may make your items “pop” rather than monochromatically “disappear.”

  • Professionals such as interior decorators or professional painters can often provide great insight into how a color will look in different lighting, or how it might set off the decor you already own. If you feel paralyzed trying to find the perfect color, consider asking a professional.

Disregarding Lighting

Lighting plays an integral role in how we perceive colors, including the paint applied to the wall. In fact, there is a technical term for how lighting affects color — illuminant metamerism — which, in simple terms, means that color may take a different hue when viewed under different types of light.

Different types of light may include natural sunlight and how bright it is on a sunny day vs. a cloudy one, as well as the tone, and temperature of artificial light. A few tips for considering light when selecting colors may include:

  • Accounting for the number of windows of the room and how much light they let in.

  • The directional facing of the room, and when the room receives exposure.

  • Your geographic location and climate may also impact how the colors you select may change in appearance throughout the year.

  • The color rendering index (CRI) of the lightbulbs you use and how closely the lightbulbs mimic natural light.

  • Use swatches on the wall in different places to see how light affects different parts of the room during different times of the day.

  • How the light will affect the color of the paint, and how this may change the mood of the room throughout the day.

For example, if you intend to paint your bedroom, you need to consider how the light will affect the color at the most important parts of your day.

Choosing Too Many Colors

Choosing the right color may seem overwhelming when they all look great and you feel like you just can’t pick one, or even a few. Studies have shown that color impacts psychological functioning and utilizing too many colors may feel overstimulating.

Additionally, you may need to consider taking a holistic approach to the colors you select throughout your home, and how color affects you as you move from room to room. A calming and serene room with soft blue hues transitioning into a warm, hot, or brightly colored room may feel discombobulating to your mood as you navigate the home.

Furthermore, your unique life experience may impact your color choices. Color can hold great depth and meaning culturally and personally. Select colors that are not only complementary but also comfortable for all inhabitants.

Not Utilizing Color Samples to Their Full Potential

Color samples and swatches, or a board painted with your intended color, can help you ultimately narrow down your choices, match design, and consider hue and mood. Tips for utilizing color samples for their full potential include:

  • Do not paint color samples right next to one another. Painting samples too close together can bring out different hues or undertones and may appear distracting.

  • Check color samples in various places in your home with different lighting.

  • Use a board or a sheet of lining paper to paint a color sample onto if you can’t decide between a group of colors. You can then move the color sample to different places throughout the room at different times of the day to see how lighting and placement affect the sample.

  • In addition to painting samples on a board to check colors throughout the room or in different rooms, be sure to paint a sample coat on the actual wall before making a final decision. A board sample can be extremely helpful when deciding against a group of colors, but a sample on the wall will give you the greatest insight into the final product.

  • Always paint a minimum of two coats of paint of the sample on the intended area to ensure that the paint is properly saturated and will appear consistent.

  • Use a good paintbrush, even when painting samples. Using a poorly made brush, even for samples, can make the paint appear thin or splotchy.

Curating your space with color to support your mood, design, and decor is an exciting opportunity and endeavor. Using these tips to avoid common mistakes and exploring your options and ideas with color samples can assist you in finding the perfect color that exceeds your expectations.