When I began considering the best paint color for my home, I quickly became overwhelmed by overthinking the process. I wanted to choose colors that were timeless but still inviting. As a Realtor, I knew that some colors were out (yellow, orange, bright whites), but other colors were becoming boring to my clients. With a future resale in mind, I didn’t want to choose something that would be 2016 in 2020.
My first step (and biggest mistake) was to begin Googling color palettes. Talk about confusing. There are color palette generators, endless articles on how to match colors, and of course…Pinterest. After thoroughly confusing myself, I realized that keeping it simple was the key to success.
Here are a few tips on creating the perfect (and timeless) color scheme.
Consider Colors in Your Home That Will Not Change
Unless a whole house makeover is happening, some items such as floors, cabinetry, and countertops will become part of the new paint scheme. Keep these in mind when choosing colors or a theme for the house. You don’t want to use colors that won’t compliment the items that will remain.
The Best Paint Color Relates To A Theme You Like Most
Today, the most popular themes are Coastal and Farmhouse. Other popular styles are contemporary and classic. Try to stay away from bold trendy colors as they are usually short-lived, and even you may get bored with them quickly. The best paint color is timeless.
Once you’ve found a theme you like best, decide if you resonate with the cooler or warmer tones of that theme. For example, if you choose coastal as your theme, colors on a coastal palette will be muted or intense. Most people find themselves drawn to one or the other intensity.
A warmer palette will consist of muted colors (more powdery with yellow and orange undertones). In contrast, a cool palette will have crisper colors. Many colors will fall in between and can go either way. That’s okay. Just be careful about mixing warm and cool tones that are obvious.
If you’re having trouble deciphering a cool tone from a warm tone, a color wheel will come in handy. Colors mixed with blue-based colors will be cooler, whereas colors with a yellow base will be warm.
If you want to choose variations of one color for your home, that’s okay too. Monochromatic colors will blend well when used in different areas. A monochromatic color would be any color on a sample card from the hardware store.
The Best Paint Color For Trim is Neutral
Once you’ve chosen a theme, you will select a neutral color for the whole house trim. Trim will be a semi-gloss finish that compliments the color scheme we want for our home.
The best paint color for the trim is crisp and clean. White is the best choice but, not all whites are created equal. Some whites are warm, and some are cool, and to a non-trained eye, it can be hard to tell the difference. In my opinion, Simply White, by Benjamin Moore, is the way to go. It’s clean, timeless, and looks great with any color. For some people, it’s too white, so definitely sample the whites before committing to one.
Choose a Second Neutral Color from Your Theme
This color will be a lighter color from the palette you have chosen for your home. If you selected a monochromatic palette like the blues above, it would be the lightest blue on the palette.
When mixing warmer tones from floors or counters with cool tones, use a transitional neutral color to blend the transition. Transitional colors have a balance of both warm and cool undertones to easily transition and blend mixed areas.
Some of the most popular transitional colors are Sea Salt, Agreeable Gray (Sherwin Williams) and Revere Pewter, Beach Glass, Repose Gray, Gray Owl, Edgecomb Gray, and Shaker Beige (Benjamin Moore). Sherwin Williams has free color fans available at most locations. They are broken down into sections so that you can easily differentiate the neutral and timeless colors.
Choosing The Best Paint Color for Bedrooms, Dining Rooms, and Bathrooms
This is where you can be more creative. Using a website or app such as PicMonkey to create a whole-house color palette. Make sure to get samples of the paints you love most and try them before you buy them. Furniture, light reflections, and room size will change the way a color looks.
Other basics to keep in mind would be to use lighter colors for smaller rooms. Dark colors can make a small room look even smaller.
Decorate and Accent With Color Pops
Once the rooms are painted, and you’re ready to decorate, go back to your color wheel and use complementary colors (opposite on the wheel) to create dramatic pops.
Use these colors in pillows, artwork, vases, and even furniture.
The Bottom Line
Painting can be a quick, inexpensive makeover for any room or the entire house. Just don’t overthink it. Choose colors that are timeless and give off the mood you want to achieve. If you’re thinking of resale before a repaint, don’t use bold colors. For a whole room or even for trim. For some reason, most people cannot see past paint. But, if resale is not your final goal, then go wild and have fun. Make your home the masterpiece of your dreams.