Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Choosy about paint colors? Join my club.

If you've been keeping track, we've done a LOT of painting. I'm the primary painter of the household- I actually LIKE painting. Sean does not. So, I (stupidly) volunteered to be the chief painter extraordinaire, as long as I got to pick out colors. He (wisely) agreed to that, as long as he retains color veto power.
Choosing paint colors for this house has become like an art form to me. It's a commitment. You LIVE with your colors for years. (Or you are going to spend your lifetime painting and re-painting.) The colors on the walls help define a room, define your mood, define the furnishings , the decor, the function....
I've probably spent as many hours looking at color schemes and samples as I have with a brush in my hand. The folks at Sherwin-Williams and our local Abbott Paint store know me by name. And my dog's name (gotta love dog-friendly paint stores.)
So, I thought I'd put together a little anthology of my thoughts on choosing paint colors...

* I crawled through websites when I was choosing colors- Those "paint-the-room" web programs on the major paint brands' websites are pretty cool. In the end, they were better at giving me ideas than helping pick the specific colors, but they are worth a visit.
You can find good ones at:
http://www.benjaminmoore.com
http://www.behr.com/
http://www.sherwin-williams.com/do_it_yourself/

* Good paint stores have someone in-house that will help you pick colors for FREE. Bring in pics of your rooms, and you have a free decorator at your disposal (big box stores don't have that!). I spent a couple hours with a gal who helped a TON- she looked at my pics together, helped me define what I was looking for in each room, and loaded me up with samples. And you DON'T have to buy paint there to use the service (although if you do, they usually will give you a discount! Make sure you ask!) If you really want to spend a lot of time with this, don't go on the weekend- try a weekday afternoon or evening.

* It was worth spending $$$ on more expensive paint. The cheaper stuff took more effort and more paint, and in the end didn't look as nice.

* I LOVE Benjamin Moore colors. Mmmmm.
* I REALLY love California Paints historic palette. Get a complete brochure from a store.
http://www.californiapaints.com/colors/index.asp

* They now sell small vials of sample colors- this is the greatest invention since sliced bread. You can actually see how the color will look and compare a couple for a pretty reasonable price- and you get WAYYY more coverage than that little paint chip sample card. At first I thought it was a little extravagant to buy several small samples just to test colors. Going through three gallons of different reds for the dining room before we found one that worked made me re-think that.

* If the color you bring home doesn't look quite right when you put it on the wall, you can take it back to the store for an adjustment for FREE. It helps to be as specific as possible about what you would like done with the paint... Darker, lighter, more red, less pink... even if you have a color chip that you are hoping to move towards. Then they can add pigments and test them out to get the color you want. It takes awhile sometimes to do this, but a good paint store will do this without blinking. (This is why they know me by name...)

So far, I'm really happy with all the colors we have chosen (although the dining room was a vendetta!). I'll try to add the names of the colors we chose in another post with pics.

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