When Good Colors Go Bad

Have you ever fallen in love with the perfect paint color…and then regretted it the next morning? Many of us have spent hours comparing paint chips, imagining how the right color will transform a room into an oasis of calm or a cheerful gathering place. You may have even taken home an array of color samples, brushed a few strokes on the wall and declared a winning hue.

So how can you avoid waking up to a color you thought you knew, but turns out to be completely different in the light of day? Here are four insider tips to help you make wise color choices:

  1. Buy a pint of your top color choices so you can test them at home. If you don’t have a white wall in the room you’ll be painting, brush the colors on primed sheetrock. Prop the board on different walls to see how the light catches the colors from different angles. (If you don’t want to use drywall pieces, poster board offers a similar benefit.)
  2. Leave the samples up for at least 24 hours so you can see how the color options look at different times of day. Even better, see how they look when it’s cloudy versus sunny. West-facing rooms receive warm, natural light in the evenings – choose a color that takes advantage of this rich, cozy mood. Conversely, east-facing rooms start out warm in the morning and take on a cooler ambiance as the day goes on.
  3. See how the color samples look with the light fixtures and bulbs you’ll typically use in that room, as they will affect how the colors look. Incandescent bulbs cast a warm, yellow-tinted glow, while halogens project crisp, white light. Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) and Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are available in warm and cool options. The visual temperature of lights is measured in a Kelvin unit. Bulbs with lower Kelvin numbers emit warmer (more yellow) light, while those with higher Kelvin numbers provide cooler (more white or blue) tones.
  4. Put on some shades before making a final decision. It’s easy to think of lampshades or sconces as simply decorative, but they can have an impact on a room’s lighting – and ultimately, how the wall colors are perceived. Consider trying shades with varying levels of opacity, which affects how much light escapes into the room. You’ll also find that the amount of light varies based on the sconce’s or shade’s shape. Traditional lampshades are smaller at the top and broader at the bottom, while today’s trending drum-shaped options have the same size openings at the top and bottom.

Paint and light fixtures are powerful – yet cost-effective – resources in your interior design toolkit. Take some time to put them to work for you!
- By The HMA Team, May 08, 2018