How to Pick the Perfect Paint Colour – Part 1

How to Pick the Perfect Paint Colour – Part 1


Considerations to make before heading to the paint store

Have you ever wanted to change the colour of your walls only to be confused and overwhelmed by the number of choices there are? Or worse, you buy the paint, roll it on your walls and absolutely hate the result? Me too!

In this blog, I discuss the steps I go through to find that perfect colour for a space. It takes a bit of time and patience, but if you want to love the space, you will appreciate the investment of your time.

The first thing I do is sit in the space and look around

This might seem obvious, but there are things to take note of as you observe.

Consider the Light

Sit in the room at various times of the day. Natural light plays a huge role in making your room look just right.

  • What direction is the room situated in?
  • Where is the natural light coming in from?
  • Is there enough natural light?

If your room is facing north, natural light can seem cold (In the Northern hemishpere). So it’s best to think about warmer tones to make the space feel cozier. If your room is facing south, adding cooler tones shouldn’t be a problem. East will get lots of morning sun and of course, west will get light from later in the day. If the room is not getting enough light, consider a lighter colour and adding reflective surfaces like a mirror or higher gloss paint to reflect more light into the room.

Consider what is in the Room

Sometimes people go for those ‘go-to’ colours that seem to work in any space. But even if that feels safe, even a basic white can go very wrong when you don’t consider what will be in the room when the project is done.

  • What colour is your flooring?
  • What furnishings will be in the room?
  • Are there certain elements like artwork that will be staying in the space?

Knowing the things that will be staying in the space will direct what colour palette will work. For instance, a dark cherry floor will reflect a red tone on your walls so you have to be mindful of that. The colours in your upholstery and in your artwork should also direct the palette you choose to work with. Recognizing the things that are important to you to keep in the space will help you to decide the direction you want to go to make everything feel cohesive. Of course, if you are doing a total overhaul, then you have a rainbow of colours to choose from.

Consider the Function of the Room

Why would you care about what you use the room for? There is a psychology to colour that is really profound. Maybe you’ve heard never to paint a bedroom red because it can be agitating, but paint a dining room red because it stimulates appetite. And so goes the reason for assessing what you are using the space for.

  • What is the main function of the room?
  • Who is using the room?
  • How often are you in the room?
  • What time of day are you most often in the room?

A task oriented space like a kitchen or a home office needs more light. A bedroom or media room needs to be cozy. These are the considerations to have before you choose a colour. Now, that’s not to say that you can’t have a deep, rich colour in your kitchen. But be aware that you will have to adjust how much lighting you have to work in for the space to be well functioning.

Consider Colours you Love

Now that you’ve considered the light, the furnishings and the function of your room, it’s time to think about the direction you want to go in. You don’t have to know the exact colour, but you can have a few ideas of what will work. Try to think of a couple of different palettes- i.e. shades of purple or shades of blue to get samples of. But by all means, if you hate purple, don’t get samples of purple just because it might go in the room. It’s just as important to know what you DON’T like as it is what you do like. If you’re not sure, go on Pinterest for inspiration. Keep in mind that colours on your screen will look different in person. But at least you can get a general idea of what you want to do.

Now that you’ve done all of that, it’s time to head to the paint store!

(Read How to Pick the Perfect Paint Colour – Part Two for next steps)