Be Comfortable Picking Paint Colors

Be Comfortable Picking Paint Colors

Even when I was working in the retail furniture industry, getting paid on straight commission, I always tried to start by establishing the wall color with the client. I didn’t sell paint, have a painter-friend who was looking for business, or have any ulterior motive other than making the design process more complete, and furniture selection process easier, and more satisfying for the client. 

Because walls make up the most surface of any room, the choice of color is a meaningful one, but don’t let that hold you back. Here are the other sides of some of the myths I’ve heard over the years.

White (or off-white) walls always make a space seem larger/brighter


They make them colder, more austere, and in listing photos they read as dirty-especially if there is beige carpet or wood floors in a light color. Also, by contrast, your furniture will look bigger and boxier.

A recent Staging job I had was a newish condo the owners had been renting and wanted to sell. It was an open floor plan, and all still in the original builders’ off-white-one big vanilla space. Warmer, more saturated colors not only separated out the spaces, it created new ones, and you saw the nice trim details, now that there was contrast.

Conversely, dark colors can close a room in and make it feel smaller

Sometimes yes. And that’s not always a bad thing. Over-sized or dark furniture recedes into a darker painted wall, and it’s a great way to fill in a big/cavernous space without buying lots of  ’stuff’.

Take the individual preference element out of it (one person’s ‘small’ is another person’s ‘cozy’) Color is synergistic and the end result will depend on what else it’s shown with: both natural and artificial lighting, color of moulding and trim work, furniture, floor covering, furnishings, etc.

When a client craves a deep, intense color in their smallish or dark room, I recommend they follow their heart, but remind them the end result can be tweaked and lightened by hanging artwork and updating their lighting.

Semi-gloss finish on walls is durable, plus it adds interest in a room.

Well, yes, if you consider imperfections in the wall itself to be of interest. Easy to wipe down, so very suitable in a kitchen or bath, but shiny walls show EVERYTHING and can bounce light off them in an odd way. For durability in most of your living spaces, stay with latex flat in an eggshell finish.

Tomorrow: Kid’s Rooms, Neutrals, and Accent Walls