The other day we were eating breakfast, and Paul joked that the only reason he has to go to work is to pay for all my paint test pots! I am slightly embarrassed to admit, but I think I have a test pot addiction? I literally adore colour, and when I see a new shade of grey up on the walls it feels like I could literally bounce off them from my giddy high.
Like any bad vice, the amount of money I have wasted trying to find the perfect colour is beyond total recall. And since we are chomping through our bathroom budget money fast, I need to figure out a way to get this right. So I am on a reconnaissance mission to find out is what is the best way to choose a paint colour for your walls every time.
After consulting with a paint expert, gathering some research, plus combining my own experience I have come up with 5 easy steps for choosing wall colour.
- Do not pick a wall colour based on your computer. From my own experience choosing colors from my computer has led me up the wrong garden path every time. That is because every monitor reads colour differently.
Here is a great anecdote from Lewan Technology – “When you walk into a major electronics store, they have dozens of flat screen TVs displayed on the wall, all playing the same video. If you stand there and look at the images on the different screens, you’re going to notice the picture looks slightly different on each one. Brighter whites or deeper blacks, warmer or cooler tones, less or more contrast, etc. Every TV varies because of screen type, contrast ratio, color calibration, the room’s lighting and even the data transmission hardware”.
If you need further proof look at my latest blunder choosing colour from my lap top screen. I found the exact vanity colour we are after on Pinterest: French Beret, Benjamin Moore. I couldn’t believe my luck when I found an American paint stockist in Naenae, Lower Hutt? Here is the color on my screen.
And here is the colour on my cupboard door (French Beret paint on the left). I don’t know if there was a typo, or if I need to go to Specssavers, but to me these colours do not match up? We had better luck choosing from the paint card.
- Test directly on the walls. I know most 101 painting classes will tell you to paint an A4 piece of paper or card and place that on the walls in varying light so you can see how the light reflects off the colour. But if you can paint on the walls directly you will get a better idea of how the paint is on this particular texture. If this is not possible then get some scrap plywood and paint your test colour on the board. At least this way you will be able to move the board around your house.
We finally found our vanity colour Sea Smoke from yes Benjamin Moore Paints. Paul has just about painted every corner of the house in this denim grey colour.
The bathroom cuboard…
The bathroom vanity…
The kitchen cupboard where there is a ton of natural light.
The only thing that might trip us up is currently our bathroom is all boarded up while we wait for our new double glazed windows.
That leads to me to point three…
- Use the tester in a light room and in a dark room. As mentioned above when your colour receives a hit of sunlight it will read differently than a colour that is in a dark corner of the room. Try putting up the colour on a wall that gets lots of natural light and one that doesn’t to see the contrast.
- Paint at least two coats on your test run and make sure you put up a decent swath. From the picture below you can see how an extra coat of paint can make a difference to the final look. Also, don’t be measly when putting up a swath. Aim for at least a 30 x 30-centimetre swath up so you get a good sense of the colour.
5. Think about your lighting. My very practical partner Paul believes that when it comes to lighting one needs to consider what is the room used for and not just how the colour looks artistically with the light fitting. Your laundry room lighting requirements are going to be different from say the task lighting you will need in the bathroom or a reading room. Generally ambient lighting will admit a soft warm glow, and task lighting used over the mirror or a chair will have a whiter glow. Before you buy that 10 litre of paint, you might want to consider how your lighting plays off against your colour on the wall.
I know I am just scratching the surface with my very basic 5 points on testing paints above. So if anyone else has any other tips and tricks up their painting sleeve please share with us in the comments below.