The Difficulty Of Choosing Paint Colors

If you've spent months looking for that perfect yellow hue for the bedroom, you know just how tricky the process can be. You keep bringing home swatches, certain you've found the right color, but get them home and they look completely different—and wrong. You think it's the different lighting, but then how do you account for that difference? You can't schlep your bedroom to the hardware store!

The experts tell us that while light can make a difference, it's not the major factor in coloring snafus. There's science to choosing paint colors. It requires some knowledge of how the colorants work within the paint. There's a process of interaction between the two.

Color Experts

For this reason, it pays to talk to a color expert and describe the color you want. Color experts can tell you whether the type of paint and colorants you've chosen will give you the results you want. A consultation with a color expert sure beats 25 plus visits to the hardware store.

Yellow tends to become more intense after paint is applied to the walls. The effect is even stronger when the same color is painted on all four walls of a room. For that reason, color experts advise going a shade or even two shades lighter than the paint sample.

In general, people are more satisfied with the end product when they choose yellow that contains some orange or gold. Pink acts in much the same way as yellow. It has a tendency to become much too pink after it dries, so your room ends up looking like an explosion of bubblegum.

Retouched Photos

Experts also say we shouldn't try to duplicate wall colors found in magazine photos. Even though the brand name and source is supplied, purchasing the same paint won't yield you a match to the photos. That's because the photos have been touched up by graphic artists. The actual color may be quite different than what you see in the photo.

Selecting colors for your home can be overwhelming. The technique is similar to trying on perfume. Try on too many perfume samples and you go into sensory overload. The same is true of choosing colors. It's better to choose only three colors at a time.

To get a good idea of how the color will look, get a sample of paint and use it to paint a 2-4' sq. patch of interior wall or a 4' sq. or larger patch of exterior wall. Allow the paint to dry. Use your hands to block your peripheral vision so you see only the paint sample. You can use a cardboard tube from a roll of paper-toweling to get the same periscope-like view. This is the way to get an undistracted true view of how the color will look when applied to a larger area.