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How do you figure out what color to paint your walls?

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How do you figure out what color to paint your walls?

Old 05-03-05, 11:11 AM
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How do you figure out what color to paint your walls?

When I bought my place the walls were white/off white but now Im wanting to do a little change with some color. How do you figure out how to do this? Ive seen Queer Eye and how cool some color walls can be. How do you go about doing this though? Do you need to match with something? Is there a good website just about doing your walls so they dont look lame?
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Old 05-03-05, 11:15 AM
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must not make joke of "paint the wall the color of black jeans"

i guess it depends on what colors you currently have in there (furniture, pictures)
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Old 05-03-05, 11:16 AM
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Buy paint samples (Benjamin Moore sells them, I'm sure others do as well) and paint a small section of wall.
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Old 05-03-05, 11:25 AM
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I just ask my wife.
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Old 05-03-05, 11:33 AM
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I did this a few months ago with my (now ex-) girlfriend. She told me a couple rules of thumb, but I'm sure there are a lot more things to know, but as a start- Lighter colors make the space seem bigger. Darker = smaller. Warm colors are generally better (i.e. more red, less blue tinting in the colors). Um, don't use fuscia. Other than that, just pick out colors that you like and that match or go well with what else you've got in there. There's really no secret.

Oh yeah, one more tip based on something we did that turned out really really well. If you go to Home Depot (or whereever, actually) check out the textured stuff. I know that the Ralph Lauren paints have different texture process that come out really cool. For my home theater we did a dark red antique leather texture, and every person who walks in the room before a show comments on how great the paint is.
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Old 05-03-05, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by OldDude
I just ask my wife.
Ditto.

Well, actually, I ask my own wife.
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Old 05-03-05, 11:54 AM
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thanks for the tips, keep em coming!
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Old 05-03-05, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by OldDude
I just ask my wife.
Yep.
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Old 05-03-05, 12:02 PM
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You can use Behr's website http://www.behr.com/behrx/workbook/ and visualize the colors for your interior. As for paint, Benjamin Moore is the best.
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Old 05-03-05, 12:07 PM
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Home Depot has a 1-2-3 Paint-It Book (or something like that) that is $20. It is [i]damn/i] thorough and it has been my bible on this subject since I started thinking about painting a while ago.

I generally dislike any of the faux techniques (spraying, sponging, denim ). The plainer the room or area, the more imaginative you might want to get. If the architecture is very open or already interesting, don't detract from it with wild colors. In a white room, paint some of the East/West or North/South walls a light color (light yellow, light green, light blue -- same one for all) it will give a nice change-up to the area. That also helps because you don't need to paint trim, which can easily double or triple the time you need to paint.

Also, please make sure that you spackle any holes, then paint the entire wall with primer. It will cut down on the coats of paint you need and it will absorb the spackle so your spackling doesn't show through. Don't think primer is an "upsell" that people try to get you to pay for, either. It's cheaper than paint and will cut down on the paint that you buy.

Also, make some good mix CDs beforehand. You will be listening to a lot of music.
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Old 05-03-05, 12:09 PM
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I also suck at this. I will be having to paint the walls of my new house later this year. Not sure what I'll pick. The decision will come down to whatever my mom, girlfriend and any other chick in my life likes.
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Old 05-03-05, 12:15 PM
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Be careful with yellow - it is the only color that intensifies. By that I mean that if you paint one wall yellow, it will look like shade a. Paint another wall in the same room, and both turn to a more intense shade, b. It keeps intensifying if you paint more walls yellow. Thus when you start with a buttery color, it can end up bright sunshine yellow if you're not careful. So if you want a yellow room, or a room with yellow tones, start with a formulation a shade or two lighter on the color strip (less pigment, same color). That has worked for me in the past.

Don't be afraid to go with bold color - my living room is this gorgeous shade of olive green/chocolate brown/gold - it changes with different light. Deep red, navy, champagne, greens, yellows all look great against it, as do all wood stains that I like (mahogany, walnut, cherry).

Paint a large section of a wall as a test - see how the color changes in different types of light. Bring tester pots home with you to try out different colors on the wall - those little chips are pretty useless if you don't have an eye for color already.

Look in magazines to see what you like - I go to the library or barnes and noble and sit down with a bunch of decorating magazines - if something really strikes me I buy the magazine and use the picture as inspiration for my room. I do not think that you should worry if the colors "go together" or if they "match" your furniture - if YOU like the colors together and if you like how they look with your furniture, that's all you need. Generally if there's something I'm not going to change, like the floor, I try to choose colors that coordinate (never match, but that's me). Since I rent, however, I usually ignore the generic carpet and instead choose colors I like that contrast nicely with my furniture - I just cover the carpet where necessary with throw rugs.

Good luck, and have fun!

Oh, and I always buy Behr's paint - consumer reports rated it as high (if not higher than) as premium paints, and it is quite cheap. They can match any color you bring in to them, although I usually find one from their color line that I like.

Last edited by WarriorPrincess; 05-03-05 at 12:17 PM.
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Old 05-03-05, 12:15 PM
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I ask my cousin who is a wiz at all things relating to interior decorating.
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Old 05-03-05, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by WarriorPrincess
Be careful with yellow - it is the only color that intensifies. By that I mean that if you paint one wall yellow, it will look like shade a. Paint another wall in the same room, and both turn to a more intense shade, b. It keeps intensifying if you paint more walls yellow. Thus when you start with a buttery color, it can end up bright sunshine yellow if you're not careful. So if you want a yellow room, or a room with yellow tones, start with a formulation a shade or two lighter on the color strip (less pigment, same color). That has worked for me in the past.

Don't be afraid to go with bold color - my living room is this gorgeous shade of olive green/chocolate brown/gold - it changes with different light. Deep red, navy, champagne, greens, yellows all look great against it, as do all wood stains that I like (mahogany, walnut, cherry).

Paint a large section of a wall as a test - see how the color changes in different types of light. Bring tester pots home with you to try out different colors on the wall - those little chips are pretty useless if you don't have an eye for color already.

Look in magazines to see what you like - I go to the library or barnes and noble and sit down with a bunch of decorating magazines - if something really strikes me I buy the magazine and use the picture as inspiration for my room. I do not think that you should worry if the colors "go together" or if they "match" your furniture - if YOU like the colors together and if you like how they look with your furniture, that's all you need. Generally if there's something I'm not going to change, like the floor, I try to choose colors that coordinate (never match, but that's me). Since I rent, however, I usually ignore the generic carpet and instead choose colors I like that contrast nicely with my furniture - I just cover the carpet where necessary with throw rugs.

Good luck, and have fun!
I'll agree with the yellow comments. I was helping my cousin and his fiance paint their new house this weekend. They painted their room some sort of yellow called butter cookie. Sort of a creamy yellow. They then painted the shit can room some other yellow. While it may not have been that bright in a naturally lit area, it was like radioactive fluorescent yellow in there compared to the other shade of yellow.
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Old 05-03-05, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Access Granted
I did this a few months ago with my (now ex-) girlfriend. She told me a couple rules of thumb, but I'm sure there are a lot more things to know, but as a start- Lighter colors make the space seem bigger. Darker = smaller. Warm colors are generally better (i.e. more red, less blue tinting in the colors). Um, don't use fuscia. Other than that, just pick out colors that you like and that match or go well with what else you've got in there. There's really no secret.
Good advice. I'd also keep in mind what kind of mood or effect you want the room to have. For example, blue tones tend to give a relaxed atmosphere while bright red, orange or yellow will tend to make it excited. In the kitchen, some colors like red or orange would make you hungrier while other colors will make you less so.

I'm dull so I generally like neutral earth tone colors.
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Old 05-03-05, 12:32 PM
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ooh..ooh.. i am in the middle of trying to paint my laundry room.. someone help me out.

The ceiling is white
Tiles are designer tiles with roman type desighns.. they have gray dark green and baige.
Everyone told me go with lighter colors.. me being the stubborn jack ass that i am, decided to paing it brown. ahh.. not good.. came out looking like someone shit on my walls. Then i tried to fix it by using the sponge technique... where you dab it every couple of inches or so with a lighter paint. Now it looks like someone spackled the entire shit covered wall. mmm... chunky.
My walls need a womans touch
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Old 05-03-05, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDude
I just ask my wife.
Ahyep.
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Old 05-03-05, 01:14 PM
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Consider a very, very light peach color. They are often named "coral cloud" and "coral dream" and other names of that vein. It is much more warm and enervating than a white but is still neutral enough that you won't feel self-conscious about it (or get a bunch of shit from the realtor) when you try and sell the home. Plus, natural woods that are honey stained or darker and all bright colors, particularly deeper richer colored furniture, tapestries, etc. just pop in a room of this color.
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Old 05-03-05, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Oraphus
ooh..ooh.. i am in the middle of trying to paint my laundry room.. someone help me out.

The ceiling is white
Tiles are designer tiles with roman type desighns.. they have gray dark green and baige.
Everyone told me go with lighter colors.. me being the stubborn jack ass that i am, decided to paing it brown. ahh.. not good.. came out looking like someone shit on my walls. Then i tried to fix it by using the sponge technique... where you dab it every couple of inches or so with a lighter paint. Now it looks like someone spackled the entire shit covered wall. mmm... chunky.
My walls need a womans touch
pics? Without seeing it, I'd say start over - and I'd try beige or pale grey. Since it's a small room and visibility is important (as opposed to rooms where "atmosphere" is more important) I'd go light beige or grey that coordinated with the tiles. Beige will be a bit 'warmer' than grey - be careful if you go the 'grey' route - adding chrome and black accents will make it look quite bachelor-cheesy. Grey cries out for very classy accents/knobs/switchplates/etc. Beige is much easier to deal with for one uncomfortable with decorating. BTW, decorating is my hobby, not my job, and I have my own sensibility as to what looks good, so take it for what it's worth.

I am usually against faux painting techniques, save for the "old world" look of distressed stucco or stone - I do love that. If you paint a room too dark and want to lighten it a little bit without starting over, use glaze - you can get whatever shine finish you want, and just add cream or white paint and a bit of the wall color together, mix well, and roller on the whole wall. It can knock the color back a bit, and you can experiment on a sample board until you find the right combo that you like. I find it also gives a nice depth to the color.

Last edited by WarriorPrincess; 05-03-05 at 01:19 PM.
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Old 05-03-05, 01:17 PM
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When you choose the paint, think about how long you will be there. Benjamin Moore really is the best out there, but they cost nearly twice as the next best brand. If you don't plan on being there very long, I don't think I'd recommend a paint that outlasts your ownership of the home.

That being said, I picked up Glidden at Home Depot. Behr is also very good, but Glidden was on rebate (which I never did get )
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Old 05-03-05, 01:18 PM
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I didnt read every word of the thread, so i dont know if someone suggested this or not -


How about take a good digital picture of the room, and then bring it in to photoshop, and then select the wall area and adjust the colors in photoshop, so you can see how it looks? I tried this with mine since i am considering painting too, and it allows you to get alot of good ideas
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Old 05-03-05, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by JustinS
Consider a very, very light peach color. They are often named "coral cloud" and "coral dream" and other names of that vein. It is much more warm and enervating than a white but is still neutral enough that you won't feel self-conscious about it (or get a bunch of shit from the realtor) when you try and sell the home. Plus, natural woods that are honey stained or darker and all bright colors, particularly deeper richer colored furniture, tapestries, etc. just pop in a room of this color.
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Old 05-03-05, 01:25 PM
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Pick something that goes well with your furniture (or what you want your furniture to be), but doesn't overpower it. Painted walls should add to a room, but not dominate. My parents just bought a new house, and my mom decided on a mostly light yellow scheme for the first two floors, with some light blue, light gray (sounds oddish, but works), and peach for a few key rooms. She's leaving the other two plain white.
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Old 05-03-05, 02:17 PM
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If you have children, paint your walls muddy-brown to match the dirty hand prints.

If you don't have children, follow what WarriorPrincess had to say, it makes good sense.
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Old 05-03-05, 02:21 PM
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I let the wife decide
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