Choosing Paint Colors

Choosing Paint Colors

For a smooth transition between spaces, try choosing a color for one room and paint the adjacent space two shades away, lighter or darker, using tones from the same color chip. Wake up beige. Adding shades of the same color creates depth and interest. Paint below the chair rail a deeper shade of the existing wall.

Start with inspiration. Look for ideas of how you want your space to look. Google design ideas or skim through places like Pinterest to narrow down what styles you like. Make a board for each room. Once you get a significant number that gives you an idea of what you’re looking for then start weaning out the ones you only like a little

Buy testers. If you choose a few of your color choices/shades and paint a large enough area on a few different walls so that you can see how your light in the room hits it at different times of the day. Don’t test a small amount on a white wall because it will throw off the color. Make sure it is a big enough test area to really see the color. Testers are usually a few bucks but it is well worth spending the money before purchasing a gallon and not liking what you get. Plus the leftover samples are great for touch up and other small painting projects. Don’t just stop at testing the walls also test your paint colors against furniture and fabrics. It not necessary that it matches but you do want it to go well with it.

Tip: Don’t necessarily paint the entire living space all one color, try to break up the painting in some rooms or accent walls a few shades lighter or darker on the same color strip. This will add some depth to the space and make it look like a professional did the job.

Pick the right Sheen. Any sheen in a paint will accent flaws, so don’t use sheen if you are trying to mask flaws on your wall. Here are some guidelines for the types of finishing choices:

  • Flat (Matte): This has no shine at all and is perfect for low traffic areas like living rooms and bedrooms. Ceilings as well.
  • Flat Enamel: This has almost no shine but it is easier to clean than flat paint. It is great for low traffic areas also and is best for kids and pets.
  • Eggshell Enamel: This is minimal shine and best to use in moderate traffic areas like the living room. Most scuff marks will come off with a damp cloth.
  • Satin Enamel: This has more shine and works well in high traffic areas or areas that have a high moisture content. A good space is kitchens, bathrooms or laundry rooms.
  • Semi-Gloss: This is on the shiny side and great for high moisture areas but can also be used on cabinets or trim.
  • Hi-Gloss Enamel: Very shiny! This gives an almost glass-like finish and is perfect for high use surfaces like furniture or railings.


Understand Undertones. Use the darkest strip on the color strip to discover the true color. It will help determine your color without choosing a paint that is too much of the color you intended.

Pick a color theme for the whole home. This doesn’t mean the same color throughout the whole house. Model homes are a perfect example of having a color theme throughout the home. They keep the main living space wall neutral and use fabrics and accessories to add color. Then the bedrooms may have accent colors from the living space on the walls and keep the bedding neutral.


A few mistakes to avoid:

  • Picking your paint color first. Pick it last because you want to wait to see what all the fabrics and other elements look like in the space with the lighting and natural light in the room.
  • Picking a color that is too bright or saturated. It’s a lot stronger as a painted wall than an accent even if it trendy. Lighter, muddy colors or colors that have more gray or black in them work better than bright strong hues on the walls. Stick to bright for your accent pieces.
  • Not considering the home as a whole. Transitioning a color from one room to the next can be tricky and it doesn’t flow well if you have an orange in one room and a pink in another.
  • Losing sight of your emotional goal. Don’t just choose your favorite color, choose a color that is intended for what you want out of the space. For example: if you want your kitchen to be airy and refreshing, look at pale yellows or white with a tint of yellow to it, not bright fire engine red.
  • Ignoring trends-Even though you may love bright colors make sure to look at what’s trending for example right now softer colors are trending, more muted tones and a lot of black with metallic accents.


Feel free to Contact Us here at Retro Pro Kitchen and Bath and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have!

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