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How to Pick the Perfect Color

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Some people are born with a gift of knowing color and style. They sense instinctively what would look perfect in this space or that, what color would add a pop of visual interest, what neutrals work best in what lighting. Thankfully, for the rest of us who don’t have that innate knowledge, there’s help.

Color expert Belinda Dietrich recommends that homeowners think about specific areas they want to focus on so that they can best use their time effectively. They should spend some time visualizing the mood they want the space to imbue—cozy and intimate, bright and energetic, luxurious or elegant. Find one thing they love in their space as an inspiration or focal point.

The process of selecting new colors begins by gathering information about the colors of the fixed components in the space, and make a list of colors you love or hate.

It can help to ask for an outside perspective. Other people and experts like Dietrich may see things that someone living in the space on a daily basis doesn’t.

Also keep in mind the lighting in a space, which can dramatically change a color’s hue and tone. Have you decided on a color and by nightfall, you’re regretting your decision? There’s a word for that: metamerism. Metamerism means that colors seem to change under different light conditions. That’s why testing is key!

Simply put, light affects the way colors look. It can appear one way in natural light and slightly different under the glare of artificial light. The direction of the light, from East to West, can change what you see based on the surroundings. This is why you need to look at the light in all the possible scenarios of sunshine and flash that the room may get. Look at it in the morning, afternoon, and evening. The color can change quite a bit from morning sunshine to nighttime with the glow of lamps. The position of the rooms puts this all at play. Northern light is cooler, while Southern light is warmer.

The takeaway: always look at your color within the space you will actually be painting to achieve the right appearance.

Categories: Color psychology, Painting Tips, Selecting Colors
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