The most difficult decision (sometimes even more difficult than choosing the right contractor) is choosing the right paint color! I get it…choosing color is a big decision! However, after over 20 years in the painting industry, I’ve learned a few tricks that help minimize stress when choosing the right color – and they apply for both interior and exterior painting.
First, I recommend establishing a general direction for colors in your mind – i.e. “Gray with white trim” or “Tan with off-white trim”. Starting off with a general sense of what direction you’d like to go makes the color selection feel less daunting. If you don’t have a general idea, most paint companies have great examples in store and online. Keep in mind that some color combinations may work well on one style of house, and not so well with another. (for instance, Benjamin Moore historical colors generally look great on an older home with wood siding, but not on a newer vinyl sided home.)
Second, utilize help from the experts. Sherwin-Williams is the largest paint manufacturer in the U.S., and they keep great records of all the paint sold. Last year, we asked them for a list of the 50 most popular colors nationwide. They provided us with 8.5″ x 11″ sheets of these colors so our customers can see them on a larger scale. Again, boiling the choices down to 50 can help minimize the stress, verses the seemingly overwhelming number of colors to choose from.
Thirdly, we can help! We offer free consultations with every paint job. We have years of experience along with several tools in our tool belt – and in 20-30 minutes, we can help plan your color scheme. Sometimes all you need is another person to help choose a color, or just affirm the color you’ve already chosen!
Here are a couple additional things to keep in mind:
First, a color will generally appear lighter than you anticipate when applied to the outside of your home, due to the amount of light. The same color will generally appear darker than you anticipate when applied to the inside of your home, due to the lack of light inside.
Second, on most paint manufacturer’s color “fan decks”, the 2nd-4th colors from the top make great “main color” options. The top color is usually a very light or off-white color, and works well as a trim color. The bottom 2-3 colors usually work well as accent colors (i.e. accent walls inside – and a great color for shutters, doors, and accent colors outside)
And lastly, look around the neighborhood for color schemes you like. We often have customers tell us about a house they admire and whose color scheme they’d like to emulate. In some cases, we’ve actually asked the homeowner if they know their colors off-hand (or permission to match the colors ourselves)
Update your tired, worn out color scheme and make your home pop again!