How to Choose Paint You’ll Love

  It’s been mentioned to me that some people might consider making you wait to see what color I painted the kitchen cruel and unusual treatment.  Seeing as we are only able to paint during naps and in the evening (so it’ll probably be another week or two before we actually finish) I suppose I can see their point.  So today I thought I’d reveal the color I picked and walk you through how to easily pick a color you’ll love.

  First, the color I picked:
  And, even though you can still see bits of the old color at the corners of this shot, for comparison, the before:
  Muuuuuch better.
  Now, even if you hate my new color and wonder why on earth I’d have gotten rid of that magnificent orange, stick with me, because when I say I’m going to show you how to pick a paint color you love, I mean you, not how to pick a paint color I’d love.
  First things first, take into account the room you’re working in.  Chances are there will be some colors that you’re stuck with (unless you’re gutting the room and starting from scratch).  Look at your cabinet or furniture color.  Take into account the color of the flooring.  Think about how much light the room gets.
  For me, the two biggest factors I had to work with in the kitchen were the light and the counter tops.  The counters are this strange brownish-burgundy.  It was absolutely atrocious with the orange.
  So whatever color I picked had to work with these bad boys…or at least not clash horrendously.  I also knew I wanted a light color, because the kitchen doesn’t get as much sunlight as I’d like and I always felt like I was chopping my onions inside of a dark, dark pumpkin.
  The very first thing I like to do when picking paint colors is to find items I already own and love and consider their colors.  A favorite shirt, painting, bowl or rug.  Whatever you find yourself drawn to.  Check to see if that color will work with your non-negotiable colors and work from there.  For the color I used in the kitchen, I took my inspiration from one of the garlic scapes I had gathered at the start of the month.  I had a vase of them resting on my kitchen counter and the color was just so soothing to look at, I knew it would be perfect.  Plus, because the vase was already on my counter top, I could see that the colors would work well together.
  I started by using Sherwin Williams’ Colorsnap app on my phone.  I took a picture of the garlic shoot and selected the lightest part of the bulb (because I knew I wanted a light color).  The program immediately spat out a color name for me with a swatch.  It wasn’t what I wanted.  Color match programs like this one can be a wonderful thing.  If the brand has a paint that matches your item, it can make for an awful lot less work for you.  However, if they don’t have a paint that matches your item, they’ll suggest the closest option.  Look at the difference between what was suggested (left) and what I finally used (right):
  Another point this brings up.  If at all possible, verify your color with a swatch from the store.  Monitors do funny things with color and while the little cardboard pieces aren’t always dead on, they’re almost always closer than a screen version.  Doesn’t the online swatch look yellow?!
  If you aren’t quite sure what you want to do with the room, several of the big paint manufacturers have programs that allow you to see your room painted with their colors.  This can be helpful for determining what general color you would like, but as I said, be careful not to expect the paint on the screen to be a perfect representation of what will be in the paint can.
  To make sure your room has the right feeling of brightness (or darkness) you like, you need to look at your paint’s saturation.  Most paint color strips look something like this:
  I’m purposely using yellow because I want to point out a mistake a lot of people make when looking for paint.  Most of us tend to think of certain colors as being dark and other colors as being light.  When you say “yellow”, most people think “light”.  Thing is though, you can have a dark, light-sucking yellow just as easily as you can have a dark blue or green.
  The yellow on the bottom of this swatch, while brighter than say, navy blue, would still make your room feel much, much darker than a yellow from the top.  If your room feels a bit like a cave, save yourself some headache and choose from the top 2 or 3 colors.  If your room feels too big and glaring, head to the bottom of the strip.  Remember that the color will be much more intense on an entire wall as opposed to a tiny rectangle too.  Look how muted my paint looked where they dabbed it on the can!
  Finally, if the paint you are painting over is any shade of red (this includes oranges and pinks) make sure to use primer first.  These colors will find the way through your color and entirely screw it up.  I’m pretty sure a big part of the reason I hated the orange so much was that the people who painted it didn’t use primer first and so the 1950s pink that was underneath was still beaming through.  It’s an extra step, but it makes all the difference in the world.
  Good luck, and remember, if worst comes to worst, paint is cheap, you can
always pick again!
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