How to select interior color

  • Light colors will help lighten a dark or poorly-lighted room, and provide a psychological lift. Light colors also make walls and ceilings appear to be further away, and can be used to make small rooms appear larger and more open.
  • Dark colors can give a room a dramatic look, and create a sense of intimacy. They can also make walls and ceilings appear to be closer, and can be used to make a large room appear smaller and more cozy.
  • Bright, vibrant colors will give the room a cheerful feel, and a sense of excitement.
  • Reds, yellows and oranges are warm colors. When these colors are used in a room, they make the walls appear closer, creating the illusion of a smaller room.
  • Violets, blues and greens are cool colors. When these colors are used in a room, they make the walls appear farther away, creating the illusion of a larger room.
  • Tans, greys, and off-whites tend not to attract attention, and can be used to create a restful, relaxing atmosphere. They are also easier to coordinate with other colors in the room.
  • For long, narrow rooms, paint the shorter walls a darker color. This will make these walls appear closer together, so the room will seem less like a tunnel.
  • For square rooms, paint one wall a different color, preferably the wall first seen when entering the room. This will give the room a more dramatic look and make it seem less ‘boxy’.

How to choose the right sheen

To decide which paint sheen is best for your project, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What room, area, or surface is being painted?
  • Will the painted surface be handled frequently, or subjected to abrasion or excessive wear?
  • Will the painted surface be washed or scrubbed frequently?
  • Will the painted surface be regularly exposed to moisture or high humidity?
  • Does the surface being painted have any nicks, dents, or surface flaws present?

How to select exterior color

  • When selecting exterior paint colors, take the fixed colors into account (like the roof, brick, stonework or any stained wood), and make sure all the colors look good together.
  • Light colors will make a small house seem larger, and dark colors will make a large house seem smaller.
  • A large, boxy house can be broken up by using a trim color that contrasts the body color.
  • A small house will appear larger if the trim is painted the same color as the body of the house.
  • Light colors will help keep a home cooler in warmer climates, because they absorb less heat. Dark colors will help keep a home warmer in cooler climates, because they absorb more heat.
  • Because light colored paint films absorb less heat, they will generally last longer than darker colored paint films.
  • Some communities have restrictions on what colors can be used on house exteriors, so check this out before you make your choice.

How to estimate paint quantity

Along with selecting the right products and colors for your project, you’ll also need to estimate how much paint you’ll need. This is done by calculating the surface area that’s being painted, and dividing it by the estimated coverage rate of the paint you’re using. When estimating your paint needs, keep the following things in mind:

  • In most cases, it’s better to buy a little too much paint rather than not enough, so you don’t run out in the middle of the job. But don’t overdo it! Ideally, you should end up with 1 – 2 quarts of paint leftover, for future touchups.
  • Paints in ready-mixed colors are returnable (in full, unopened containers), but tinted paints are not. This means estimates for tinted colors must be done much more carefully, so you don’t end up with more paint than you can use.