Walking into a paint place with those thousands of little paint sample cards can be a daunting adventure. Choosing among dozens of shades of white—white!—is mindboggling. And there are hundreds more shades of actual colors with names that range from imaginative to exotic. Here are some things to consider.
First, select colors you can live with for several years unless you are one of those people who simply loves to paint. Whether you paint to compliment your carpet, your couch, or your cat, you probably have an idea of what you like.
Second, especially if you might be selling your home in the next few years, consider colors that are both popular and fairly neutral. Neutrals today have definitely moved beyond white. In fact, even beige is becoming a bit passé.
Third, consider painting one wall of a room in a bold tone while leaving the others a complimentary neutral—or a lighter shade of the same hue. This makes it far easier to change the personality of the room by redoing that single wall, either to an entirely different bold color or to a neutral to increase marketability of a property.
Finally, visit local model homes for live sightings of some of these colors. Trolling the websites of various paint manufacturers is also a wonderful way to find painting inspiration.
What’s hot for 2015?
Just as clothing designers develop their individual “hot” color for a season, paint manufacturers promote their own “color of the year,” Some manufacturers’ websites even allow you to visualize how your rooms would look with various colors when you to upload your own photos.
This year, for example, PPG Pittsburgh Paints is spotlighting pleasant, vigorous “Blue Paisley” with various intensities and companion colors. You can visit their website, upload a photo of the room you want to paint and, with a little bit of computer manipulation, visualize it with various colors, even with different walls painted different colors.
Kelly-Moore also highlights blue. They describe their “Coastal Surf” as a timeless, saturated hue, ideal for bringing color into the mid-decade home. It is part of a recommended trio which includes a rich teal called “Swagger” and a classic gray named “City Tower.” The website offers tips on selecting colors and a series of videos on tips for painting a room.
This year, Pantone is starring “Marsala” which is a cherry-chocolate-rose tone described as “a subtly seductive shade that draws us into its embracing warmth.” The website shows the relationship between the fashion runway and color trends, offers many articles, and nearly endless colors.
The Sherman-Williams choice of the year, “Coral Reef,” is in the same warm family of colors. It’s a strong lively coral with tones of pink, orange, and red. They suggest using it as an accent color or partnering it with “Sedate Grey” or “Hubbard Squash.” Their website offers tips on color selection, how to paint, and coupons.
Rather than a bold tone, Benjamin Moore’s featured color is a pale grey-green tone titled “Guilford Green” that can also serve as a neutral. Their website offers painting ideas, how-to information, and pictures of a variety of rooms from home offices to laundries to see various colors. Here again, users can upload photos of their own rooms and choose up to five surfaces to manipulate with color.
Remember, it’s always wise to buy the smallest possible quantity of any color you choose and paint a large enough portion of your wall to really evaluate your choice by day and also with artificial light.
Specialty paints can add a new wrinkle to your décor. For example, “chalkboard” paint comes in a wide range of colors and can create an instant accent for children’s rooms, hobby rooms, kitchens, laundries, or even the garage.
Magnetic paint holds small items, but some users are disappointed it won’t support larger things. “Rare earth” magnets seem to work best. The best plan is to use a magnetic primer. The container must be very well shaken (ten minutes in your local paint store’s power shaker or even longer at home by hand) and three coats of primer are needed. Once dry, it can be painted with any latex paint.
An alternative is to get a piece of galvanized steel (be sure it’s magnetic) and paint it any color you choose—perhaps a color of the year.
Finally, for a bit of fun, look for some glow-in-the-dark paint. Usually coming in spray cans, these paints can add whimsy, especially to children’s rooms, but also might be fun in a bathroom or even the garage.
By Glenn Pribus
Glenn Pribus and his wife live near Charlottesville. After completing a sample section to be sure they liked the color, they recently painted their bathroom in a blue tone titled “Cincinnatian Hotel Ashley Atrium.”