Clues to Finding the Perfect Paint


Go to any paint store, and you’ll find lots of information about color.

shutterstock_126591470But if you want to create an interior paint color scheme that’s just right for you, don’t overlook your own personal clues. “Most people are naturally drawn to certain colors that they’ll favor time and again,” says Debbie Zimmer, paint and color expert for the Paint Quality Institute.  “Focusing on colors that dominate one’s wardrobe and furnishings, for example, provides valuable clues to the best tints and shades to use when doing home painting.”

To that end, Zimmer suggests that you start your search for paint color not at the paint store, but closer to home. . .in your closet, in fact. If you’re like most people, the majority of your wardrobe will tend to fall into one or two color families.
“If you see lots of blue and green garments, then you obviously are fond of these colors, and very comfortable when clothed in them.  That makes it likely you’ll feel very much at home in surroundings painted in these same hues,” she says.
Another clue is the color and character of the car you own. Driving a racy red sports car? Then you’ll probably be more attracted to a paint color scheme with bold, bright shades rather than quiet neutral hues.  But if you own a white or beige sedan, it may indicate that you’ll be happier with a more understated paint color scheme.

“Doubly important are the clues you discover among furnishings in the rooms you’ll be painting,” says Zimmer.  “Perhaps a color that appears in a piece of fabric will pique your fancy, or one that embellishes a piece of furniture, or even the color of glaze on a ceramic bowl.”  Building upon color clues like these, you’ll soon make a strong case for a particular paint color or colors and applying them to walls or woodwork will help “pull together” the appearance of the entire space.
If your investigation has helped you identify the dominant color for your room, but you’re still searching for an overall color “scheme”, it’s time to go to the paint store – if possible, with a sample of your key color (or an object in which it appears).  Leaf through the literature there till you find a paint palette that includes your hue, and see which colors are recommended as companions for it.  Pick out one or two that appeal to you.


If you’re adept at visualizing things, you might be able to purchase your paint at this point.  But a safer tack is to take color cards home and tape them to walls, woodwork, wherever, and see how the various colors look right where they’ll be applied.  View them in daylight and at night.  This will add certainty to your selection.
Not sure how much of each color to use in the room?  Choose one color to be dominant, and another as the secondary color. If you are planning to employ a three-color paint scheme, then adhere to the “60-30-10 rule”, which will help bring color proportionality to the space. Use your dominant color on roughly 60% of the surface, the secondary color on roughly 30%, and incorporate the third hue on the remaining 10% as a “punch color” or accent.
No matter which colors you use to enhance your home interior, Zimmer recommends that you work only with top quality 100% acrylic latex paint.  It produces a durable finish that will resist fading, resulting in color that will remain true year after year.

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