Painting your home’s interior can feel overwhelming. There are so many questions, and we hear a lot of them. What color is best for your bedroom? Which brand of paint should you choose? What is the right way to test the colors you like?
Before you spend countless hours watching online videos about paint (yes, we see you) or fill your garage with a dozen sample cans, read on to learn the basics and gain the knowledge you need to paint with confidence.
Want to focus on other things and get professional guidance with paint? Just reach out!
What Colors Are Popular?
We hear this question a lot. And we get it. You certainly don’t want to paint your home with a color that is on its way out. The quick answer is that right now, in fall 2022, whites and complex creams are popular. We’re seeing less gray, but if you like gray, we suggest sticking with warmer undertones.
And while looking at trends can be helpful, we recommend considering some additional factors when selecting the color for your room. For example:
- How big of a commitment are you willing to make to this color? How often are you willing to repaint it? You might be more inclined to honor your child’s request for a bright pink bedroom than you are to go with a trendy choice for a two story living room you don’t want to repaint for several years.
- Are you painting a house you live in or one you want to rent or sell? If the latter, you may want to use neutral colors that appeal to a wide audience. Think trendy, but universally appealing.
What are undertones and which ones do I want?
If you go down the internet rabbit hole of paint, it won’t take long for you to come across a slew of videos and articles about undertones. Undertones are the subtle shades of color that appear behind the primary color. They can be especially tricky when it comes to selecting light neutrals. And they really come into play when you are trying to match a paint color to an existing finish like a floor tile, countertop, or backsplash. You must consider the undertones of those items when selecting your paint colors.
If your countertop has a strong yellow undertone, for example, you’ll want to embrace that undertone by selecting a warm white wall color or go far away from it by selecting a completely different wall color like a navy blue. Whatever you do, don’t paint with a cool white. That will make the yellow tones of the countertop stick out like a sore thumb.
While you may be able to select a color on your own if you are not coordinating with existing finishes, it’s this finish fixture-matching scenario where a professional can save you from making a costly mistake.
Which brand of paint should I use?
Of all the paint decisions you have to make, this one is about to be your easiest.
- If you are hiring a professional painter, ask what brand they recommend that you use. Painters typically lean toward one brand. And the major brands like Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore offer plenty of colors for you to choose from. Sherwin Williams is the most popular manufacturer for painting contractors in the southeast so we usually start with Sherwin Williams.
- If you are painting yourself, choose a premium paint line so that the paint will cover better, which will make painting easier.
Paint stores can match colors from other manufacturers, but it is not an exact science due to the different tints of the base paint. The best way to make sure the color you pick on the sample strip is the one that ends up on your wall is to stick with the original manufacturer.
What sheen do I use on the walls, ceiling, and doors?
So you’ve picked the manufacturer and the color. All set, right? Not so fast. Now you need to select the right sheen to use for each surface you are painting. If you are hiring a painter, you’ll need to communicate the sheen you want or ask for guidance. Here’s a quick cheat sheet to summarize interior sheen basics.
- Walls: Use eggshell or satin. The terms vary, but represent the same sheen. Eggshell provides just enough gloss to disguise fingerprints and allow for easy cleaning, but not so much that it shows a wall’s imperfections. Builders often price jobs assuming a flat finish because it is the least expensive paint and the easiest to apply. You should tell the paint contractor to price your job with an eggshell wall finish.
- Trim (This includes anything made of wood – doors, windows, paneling, or anything that looks like paneling.): Use a semi-gloss sheen. This sheen is durable, hard, and highly wipeable – exactly what you need for surfaces that can get dirty or scuffed.
- Ceilings: Use flat paint. Flat paint hides surface imperfections and applies smoothly. Because you won’t be touching your ceilings or getting them dirty, you don’t need the paint to be easy to clean.
How do color, sheens, and surfaces work together in white rooms? What is the best white to go with my super white trim?
If you are painting a space white, we recommend painting the trim, walls, and ceiling all the same color white. In other words, don’t do Snowbound walls with Alabaster trim and a Chantilly Lace ceiling. Sticking with the same white in different sheens will ensure that your room appears white.
What else can I do to make sure the color is right?
Bring samples home from the paint store – or even better – order large paper samples from the paint company’s website. The paper samples provide really good representations of the color. Just never ever choose your color in the store. Try more than one sample so that you have a few to compare. If you decide to paint large samples on your walls, you will need to paint several coats to see the real color. And don’t be afraid to go to the website and/or Pinterest to see larger applications of your color of choice.
When it comes to paint colors (and really any colors), pick what you like! There are no rules. There is no right or wrong. If you hate gray, don’t do it. If you love gray, go for it! This is your home.
Still confused? Call a designer or color consultant to help. You’ll be glad you did.
Reach out for help making a decision you’ll be happy with for years to come.