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How to avoid paint color mistakes in your home
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How to avoid paint color mistakes in your home

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Thinking about painting your home? Make sure you choose your colors carefully.

It’s a minor job compared to other home renovations, but how you paint your home and plan your wall and trim colors makes a major impact on how you use your space.

You can put this to work when designing your painting plan. Your color and finish choices can make a bold statement, so choose wisely.

Choosing the right properties of color

Color is the first thing you perceive when you enter a space, which means you’re evoking a mood from the very moment someone enters. When selecting color, think about the various properties and how they will interact with light and each other.

Saturation: Higher saturation can crank up the effect of even a moderate tone while lightly saturated variants of bright colors dial it back.

Tone and hue: Even within a broader color range, different shades set different moods. A cool forest green creates a restful bedroom feeling while olive gives the impression of militaristic productivity.

Contrasting colors: Remember the color wheel from grade school? It’s important for more reasons than just “yellow and blue make green.” Colors from across the wheel can complement each other, which is why warm shades such as yellow or orange provide a striking look when paired with complements like green or purple.

Surfaces: The texture of surfaces affects the appearance of color. Rough walls appear darker than smooth walls.

Room size: Darker colors tend to contract the size of a room, while lighter colors make it look more expansive. Keep this in mind so you don’t accidentally create a small claustrophobic black room, or a large white room that seems infinite.


Your color selection makes a big impact when painting your home, so choose carefully.

Picking the best finish

Choosing a paint finish might seem like a minor detail after you select the color, but it makes a difference. More reflective finishes create a brighter, bolder and more stimulating look, even when the underlying color is the same.

Flat: A common matte finish that doesn’t reflect much light. It hides imperfections but also creates a low color saturation. It tends to have a generic, neutral look, and you need to be careful when cleaning it so as not to lose color.

Eggshell: Though still a matte finish, it gives an understated shine. Eggshell cleans more easily than flat, but you should still be cautious when cleaning it.

Satin: This offers a balance point between high-gloss and flat, with a smooth and attractive surface. It’s easily washable and stands up well to high levels of humidity. Satin works well in kitchens and bathrooms.

Semi-gloss/high-gloss: These finishes are at the high end of reflectiveness. They provide a lovely sheen, but imperfections in your wall will stand out. If you don’t want to paint the entire wall with a gloss finish, consider using it for baseboards, trims or other accent possibilities.

Make your house a home

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