Sunday, May 18, 2008

Tips for choosing interior paint colors

My good friend Chris Butterworth has a great post about how to paint a razor-sharp straight line when you're painting with bold colors.

For several years, the interior paint trend has been sliding down the in-store color chips, towards bolder, bright, more saturated hues. Home buyers are demanding more windows, higher ceilings, and "light and bright" has become so overused in MLS ads that it's almost the sort of trite 'code' where buyers have learned to read between the lines.

"Charming" means exceptionally small. "Plenty of cupboard space" means galley kitchen. And "light and bright" means you can probably navigate through the house without turning on an industrial strength spotlight.

In any case, if you want to try today's hipper, bolder colors on your walls, read Chris' advice post first.

Wondering what colors will look good? One of my go-to painting contractors in metro Phoenix is CertaPro. See below for a list of popular paints chosen often by their customers. Or for the easily overwhelmed, visit their website to see Certa's expert-recommended color palettes, a collection of 4 different families of hues that mix & match well.

These are all Dunn Edwards brand paints. Click here to locate a DE store near you. Note: most paint stores (including Home Depot and Lowes) can color match for you.

Want a bold brown? Try Cup of Cocoa (taupe-y), Florentine Clay (reddish), Pumpkin Butter (less orange than the name implies and really pretty). Ready to really get your brown on? Opt for the double bold by choosing Warm Nutmeg (taupe-y), Traditional Leather (almost the color of a Hershey bar), or Cinnamon Spice (a bit on the reddish side and a shade darker than actual cinnamon). Another fabulous brownish hue for the Southwest's strong sunlight is Peanut Butter, which is made by Behr (their color code is 270F-4).

Seeking a soothing blue? Quiet Moment, Provence and China Pattern are popular choices. Quiet Moment is the palest, and a little on the warmish side. Provence is a clear robin's egg blue and China Pattern is the deepest.

Going for the green? Certa Pro gets a lot of customer requests for Soothing Celadon (a cool pastel) and Lime Juice (a warm pastel). Good mid-range greens include Crisp Celery (a warm yellowish green), Green Tea (coolish mid-range green), and Dried Chervil (a neutral medium green). For bolder greens, choose Herbal Scent (clear green), Sage Green (grayish blue) or Rosemary Sprig (the darkest of the bunch, and what I think of when someone says 'library green').

A great way to test paint is to buy a quart of the color you think you'd like. Paint 1 or 2 walls in the chosen room with a swath of that color measuring about 4 feet square. Live with it for a couple of days; check it out in different lights. Like it? Go buy Blue Tape, read Chris' post again and go for it. Don't like it? Grab a primer, a new quart of bold colored paint, and try again.