If picking colors for a house were easy, we wouldn’t have studies about the psychology of color, nor would we have the ever-handy color wheel. Even with the extra help we still struggle. After all we don’t want to pay for something that we end up not liking and will then have to pay again to get it right. What will help us make better color choices? For that matter what color should we paint our front doors? This article will give you a few helpful hints.
Color-Wheel to the Rescue
Have you ever stood in a big box paint store looking at the millions of color swatches and just felt overwhelmed? Well sure you know you want a neutral grey, but which of the thousands of neutral greys will you pick? Then which color should you pick as an accent yellow, green, blue?
This is one of the reasons a color wheel works so well is it helps you deduce your complimentary colors. The color wheel is comprised of Primary Colors (Red, Blue, Yellow), Secondary Colors (Green, Purple, Orange, and Tertiary colors (mixes of Secondary and Primary colors such as Green-Blue). Familiarizing yourself with the wheel will help you pick out your colors in any room of your house.
Color theory tells us that complementary colors are any two colors opposite of each other on the color wheel, any three colors equally spaced on the color wheel (forming a triangle), or any four colors equally spaced (forming a rectangle). Then of course you can work with different shades with in those colors to get something closer to your likes.
Bags of Color Samples
Once you have picked out the colors you might like bring samples home with you (make sure you bring more than one of the same sample chip). Take them into the room or area you plan to paint. If necessary either cut the sample or fold them so that you can only see the color you want and then tape them to the walls in various parts of your room. At various times of the day walk by the paint samples to see which one you like. Remember what will work in one area of your house may not work in all areas of your house.
Sheen – no not Martin.
The sheen of paint will change the way the color looks on your wall. An eggshell sheen will look different than a semi-gloss because of the way the light reflects on the pigmentation and bounces into our eyes. Once you pick the color you think you like make sure to get the color in the sheen that you think you want and paint a small sample in various parts of the room. Do a walk by at various times of the day to see if you still like the color. What you like in the morning may look awful to you at night.
Now there are five different sheens to choose from and in general there is no right or wrong answer to which sheen you choose.
Gloss Semi-Gloss Satin Eggshell Flat or Matte
There are however guidelines to help us pick. In general, high traffic, low lighted, or areas that need that extra light shimmer should be done in a gloss or semi-gloss. Why, you ask? Gloss and Semi-gloss paints are the easiest to clean. Therefore kitchens, doors, trim such as baseboards or crown molding do best with a nice layer of Gloss or Semi-Gloss paint. Places such as family rooms, dinning rooms, and bedrooms can usually withstand the satin or eggshell paints. Keep in mind that flat paints are not easy to clean. If keeping things easily cleaned is important to you try eggshell or satin on your walls rather than flat paint.
What about the Exterior of your house?
If you live within an HOA community you may not have much of a choice, in which case contact your local board to see your color options. If you don’t have an HOA then you can generally choose colors you like, but keep in mind the style of your house and of course your neighbors. If you house has more of a ranch/country feel, bright loud colors may not work on your house as it would on a Victorian style house. Also never use an interior paint on the exterior of your house.
The Front Entry Door
As stated in our previous article, First Impressions – Front Doors, the front entry door is the focal point of the front of the house. It is the jewel of your front yard that draws the would-be visitors to your home. Homes with an unexpected exterior door color will catch the eye more often than a home with a monochrome door that blends into the home. This can be especially great if you’re looking to sell your home, but if you’re not it’s still fun to have a bold color on your door. However, if you have a smaller home it might be great to go with a monochrome door since it will make the front of your home appear larger. What about that ever-popular farmhouse weathered look? If you have a farmhouse it will look great. If you live in one of the contemporary houses that are in superabundance in Southern California it may not look so great. In which case a solid neutral color will work just as easily.
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