Monday, February 20, 2012

How to Choose Paint Colors

Our 1900 Victorian
Picking the colors for our flip house is a challenge.  Starting with the outside, I'd love to take off the vinyl siding and get to the original wood siding - that's so much more appropriate for an old house.  But with so many variables regarding the condition underneath, it just doesn't make economic sense (plus we can't paint it in the winter).  So we need to leave that mint green vinyl (sigh....).

The next color challenge is the interior.  I've read lots of house flipping blog posts that recommend you paint the entire interior white or off white.  It's the cheapest option - no leftover half cans of paint in each room - and it's easy.  But it's so boring!  And since we will be staging the house, we want it to compliment the decor.  But, it still needs to be neutral to appeal to a future buyer.

Glass and marble mosaic 
So how do you pick a paint color?  Rule number 1, don't start with the paint color!  What other colors will be in the rooms?  Do you have a piece of artwork or fabric that is your color inspiration?    I've picked out a marble and glass accent tile that is going in both the kitchen and powder room.   This provides some great neutral color ideas.
Daphne is such a ham!

For accents, I'll be using this print fabric for window treatments - part of the Richloom Platinum collection print (and Daphne likes it too!).  This gives us a lot of colors to work with.

Rule number 2 - a cohesive color palette will make a small home feel bigger.  So we need to think about all of the rooms.  Look at your rugs and fabrics and see if there is a unifying color that will tie them all together and provide a nice background.  And again, keep it neutral to appeal to a wide range of future buyers.

Rule number 3 - Think about other elements in the room.  For example, our kitchen will have lots of white - cabinets and beadboard wainscot.  So we don't want it to be too pale, we want to provide a nice contrast.  But upstairs, It's just the opposite - I'd like something a little lighter and brighter.

So, I armed myself with my Sherwin Williams color fan and started looking at options.  I came up with some ideas - but that brings me to rule number 4 - buy paint samples and put them on the wall.  I ignored this too many times, and it caused a lot of grief.   Why?  Because that requires me to convince my color blind husband that we need to repaint - he doesn't get it when that tiny chip of paint looks different in a whole room!  That taught me a lesson and now I always sample first.  And it's also helpful to see how the colors look during different times of the day - sunlight or cloudy days can dramatically change the look!
Checking out color samples on the dining room wall
So, here's what I'm coming up with,  The darker shade on the right is Sherwin Williams Ancient Marble for the kitchen and bath.   And I'm looking at the next lighter shade (on the left side of the wall) - Nonchalant White -  for the living room and dining room.  And the creamy yellow in the center- Crisp Linen -  works beautifully for the foyers and upstairs.  Remember, with our open floor plan, we need the colors to complement one another.

What do you think??  Will these colors be neutral enough for prospective buyers??

Want to see the finished rooms with the colors on the walls?  Click here.

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  1. Replies
    1. Thanks so much!! Hopefully I can post some kitchen photos in the near future. I did a sample section with the white beadboard and the Ancient Marble - it looks fantastic!! I can't wait until I can do more!

  2. Hi, Laurel,

    I so enjoy reading your updates. The colors are beautiful; very complimentary and soothing.

    1. Thanks so much for the encouragement! Today I'm tackling the 3rd floor, so I'll get to see how the linen and white trim come together.

  3. I like the LOOK of the Ancient Marble and the NAME of Nonchalant White.

    1. crack me up!!! LOL I have to confess, sometimes I do get drawn in by the names of paint colors.

  4. Thanks for a great post on wall paint. I found this post while surfing the web for Thanks for sharing this article.

  5. So glad to hear your found it helpful!

  6. I learned some tips to choose paint color. I will apply these tips in my house when I paint it.

  7. How did you end up liking the ancient marble?

    1. It was beautiful!!! A great neutral, that worked well with the rest of the color scheme. If you pick 1st house B&A tab, you can see the finished product!


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