Paint is one of the absolute easiest and least expensive ways to transform a room. It can make all the difference in going from blah to wow. I have painted my fair share of spaces, and boy have I made some crazy color choices! (baby-poo green, anyone?).
So here's the deal. When it comes to your home, you want to love it 5 years from now, right? You want to be able to get a different couch or a different rug (or whatever) in a year, without worrying that it clashes terribly with your lemon meringue walls. You need to be able to resell your house without worrying about hiring a painter because you chose a different color for every single room of your house. So here are a few of my favorite painting tips for choosing the perfect color. I should tell you that these are 100% my opinion, but they have worked very well for us when it comes to resale!
1. Neutral, Neutral, Neutral! When it come's to the walls of your home, there's black, white, and brown (and all the shades in-between). That's it. Anything with a tint of anything else isn't a neutral and *probably* shouldn't go on your wall. Sure, there are those rare occasions where I'll paint a laundry room blue or something, but that's the extent of it, and really it would be better if I didn't. I love color, don't get me wrong, but orange should be on your pillows and rugs, not on your walls.
2. Pick a color palette and STICK TO IT! I'm totally guilty, and I know a lot of people who are. They choose a completely different color palette for every single room of their house. The kitchen is red and yellow, the living blue and green, the bathroom orange and purple... Ok, that's a bit extreme, but you see my point. If you pick a semi-neutral palette of colors (I usually go with a set of 3-4) and use them throughout your home (particularly in spaces you frequent: living, dining, kitchen), your home will feel much more cohesive. Then, for example, in the living/dining area, pick a new color (or two) to pop with your accessories (like adobe orange). This not only makes it easier to change color palettes (recover your pillows and buy a new rug when you tire of orange), but it also showcases the color much better. A perfect example can be found at Just a Girl blog. See how that orange stands out, yet could be swapped out easily for, say, blue??
3. Use a Color-Picker App. Did you know these exist?? I didn't either until recently. Home Depot has a fabulous one called "Project color". You take a picture of your room (or there is also a "live" mode). Then you can pick a color by shade, tone, etc. The technology easily finds the edges of the things you have on and against the walls and "paints" around them, basically allowing you to digitally paint your room as many times as it takes to find the perfect shade. That's right, folks. No need to buy two million paint samples. Narrow it down to a just a few using this handy app first!
4. Time of Day Matters. Once you start considering your color palette, pay attention to how the light changes in the room. Check out how the ambient light of your lamps effect the color. Check out how morning light looks different than afternoon and evening. I usually like to have my sample color up for at least a day or two on MULTIPLE WALLS before I commit to a whole room. Why multiple walls? Because the shading of light won't be the same on different walls due to the light from windows, etc. When I'm testing a color, I paint little patches everywhere. High, low, corners, east, west...
5. Neatness Counts. Nothing ruins a freshly painted wall faster than a messy application. Be neat and clean. Take your time and make sure you are coating the surface. Do another coat if you have to. Be sure to use the right roller for the wall surface you are painting on and use "W-Shaped" strokes with the roller. I love using paint/primer's-in-one for painting pretty much anything other than an already-white surface. It's usually worth it. Also, I rarely ever use painter's tape anymore (only occasionally and for special projects). Try using a Shur Line painting edger. It is soooo much faster!
6. Clean-Up. With a two-year-old, I can rarely finish any painting project in just one day. I always keep 2 gallon ZipLock bags on hand. When I need to break, I put everything (roller, Shur line, paint brush) into the bag with a wet paper towel and stick it in the fridge. When I'm ready to use it again, I just pull them out and they are ready to go. I have kept painting materials fresh this way for months in the past.
7. Check out Pinterest. There are a BUNCH of ideas for simplifying the painting process, and making things cleaner and easier. (Like plastic bagging your roller tray so you can just throw the bag away but reuse the tray...GENIUS). There are also a million color palette ideas and samples. People that have already used your color palette in a room, so you can get a better feel for the look you're going for BEFORE you commit a bunch of time, money, and energy into changing your walls. It's definitely worth a browse.
So that about wraps it up. I can't go, however, without sharing with you my all-time favorite wall-color: Valspar Sandstone. I have painted nearly every wall in both my previous and current house with this color. I've had a few family member's use this color as well. It's almost fool-proof because it goes with just about everything. And **Bonus** because I use it so often and in such massive quantities, I buy it by the 3 gallon bucket and get a discount! It's warm, but still contemporary. Love it.