TIPS ON PICKING PAINT COLOURS WHEN YOU HAVE ANXIETY (or overthink)
I’m obsessed with paint colors. Throw in a bit of decorating and design, and I’m one HAPPY lil Ginger. However, as many of you who subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram know, I have anxiety (and ADHD). This means that when all of the above are combined, you have someone who can give you first-hand KNOWLEDGEABLE advice on picking paint colors when you have anxiety OR are an overthinker.
And let me just say, being in the Design world, whether choosing paint colors, decorating, or just living everyday life, is a CHALLENGE when you have anxiety.
I absolutely AGONIZE over my own home. My anxiety doesn’t just take a front seat; it hijacks the friggin’ car and starts running over curbs and innocent pedestrians while quickly stopping at the liquor store for a six-pack and a box o’ wine.
This being said, I’m doing a pretty bang-up job of managing it and want to share some paint tips with you today; tips that UNFORTUNATELY don’t include two bottles of wine and a tranquilizer dart (we’ll save those for another day).
HOW TO CHOOSE PAINT COLOURS WHEN YOU HAVE ANXIETY
While I can help YOU choose paint colors with a wink and a smile (because I don’t get EMOTIONAL about it and am confident in my knowledge), I know first-hand how HARD it is to choose paint colors for your own home.
Why is it so hard?
Well, if you’re like me, you might have…
- a tendency to overthink, which causes you to doubt yourself
- a habit of asking OTHERS for their opinion, which only adds to the muddle
- ALL the feels (emotions that we have in abundance)
- difficulty making a big decision as it relates to our home
Luckily, I’ve learned a few key tricks to make your paint-picking journey a bit less painful…
1. DON’T ASK FRIENDS FOR THEIR OPINIONS
We know what they say about opinions; they’re just like…well, let’s just say that ‘everybody has one.’ The more opinions you get, the harder it can be to decide. And MOST opinions are swayed by personal tastes and perceptions – not actual knowledge.
If your friend doesn’t like pink, they might not tell you that Pale Oak is the best colour for your room, even if it is.
Just like the great Britney Spears says, let’s hit that baby one more time…
MOST opinions are swayed by personal tastes and perceptions – not actual knowledge.
Choose one or two key people to throw your ideas at, but choose the people who you feel will have you and your home’s best interest at heart.
2. TAKE YOURSELF OUT OF THE EQUATION
Sometimes, we get so caught up in what WE want to see that we forget to listen to our home. And when choosing paint colors, the needs of your home are pretty darn important. If you like bright whites and your home prefers off-whites, things could get a little fugly if you only cater to yourself. And let me tell you, NOTHING will cause you more anxiety than realizing you didn’t listen to your home and you painted it the wrong color.
Damn, do my clients ever have good taste – I love this kitchen!
By the way, choosing the wrong colour HAPPENS; that’s life. HOWEVER, there are some ways to reduce the chance of this happening (other than hiring me, wink wink).
3. PAY ATTENTION TO THE HIERARCHY
I’m not talking about Prince Andrew (although he’s not hard to pay attention to, and Megan’s a total babe); I’m talking about the hierarchy when choosing paint colors (in very particular order)…
- The needs of your home’s interior finishes (i.e., does your countertop better suit beige or gray?)
- An existing colour palette in nearby rooms
- Your room’s exposure
No matter how much a homeowner might love blue or violet hues, this backsplash and countertop TOTALLY DISAGREE!
While this hierarchy can shift depending on the situation (especially #3 and #4), considering your HOME FIRST is a great way to remove some of the EMOTION and add some LOGIC. I find my brain spins TEN TIMES SLOWER when I take my heart out of it and put my head back in.
This is one reason I’m so good at helping YOU (and I’m modest, too) – the emotions aren’t there (I mean, I love y’all, but you know what I mean). I can look at your space unemotionally, take my knowledge (which you can also find in my hundreds of blog posts), and apply it to what best suits your home. At the end of the day, I never want to ignore my client’s personal tastes, but often, there’s a GREAT happy medium between what they WANT and what their home NEEDS.
In this next photo, even if the homeowner doesn’t love violet-pink hues, the space tells them otherwise…
The result is that Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray, which is a GREAT COLOUR for some spaces, actually clashes with the NEEDS of the finishes.
Of course, some would rather choose a colour they LOVE; even if it looks disconnected from the finishes in their home – you do you, boo (insert Kylie crying and twitching in a corner HERE). Really, though, the end goal is to be HAPPY in your space, whatever ‘happy’ looks like to you.
Stop fighting your home and start LISTENING to it.
4. DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE YOU START LOOKING AT PAINT COLOUR SWATCHES
Now that you’ve taken some of the emotion away, you’ll pay less attention to YOURSELF and more to your HOME. Trust ye ole Ginger, doing it this way makes it much easier to step back and view your space with more curiosity.
Curious, you’ll try to figure out what your home’s interior finishes are REALLY asking for. This will lead you to the types of colors you can be LOOKING for. Once you know what to look for, it’s easier to do your RESEARCH, using my blog as a great reference (the SEARCH function is awesome with 450+ articles. Seriously, type in any word and see where it takes you…except the word ‘nudes,’ that’s a WHOLE different blog).
This homeowner did a GREAT job of listening to their countertop…and me (Benjamin Moore Colony Green)
5. TAKE IT EASY ON YOURSELF – YOU’RE NOT A COLOR EXPERT
If you were a paint colour expert, choosing paint colors would be easy for you. But you’re not, and it doesn’t HAVE to come easy to you (you’re only LUCKY or skilled if it does). While I might be able to fill my car’s tire with air, I sure as heck can’t change the tire – I’m not a mechanic. I can cook a mean Kraft Dinner, but don’t ask me for chicken and potatoes – I AIN’T NO CHEF (if you want to learn more: ‘Mom, What’s That Smell? Cooking with Kylie‘).
Take a deep breath, and if all else fails, hire someone to help, either myself or a local expert, and let yourself off the hook. Remember, you’re not saving lives here; you’re just picking a paint colour.
Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray
6. A FEW MORE HELPFUL DETAILS
Of course, it will finally come down to actually PICKING the paint colour that, HOPEFULLY, both you and your home can agree on…
- ALWAYS surround your sample with white paper. Your existing paint colour WILL skew your perception of your samples. The only side that shouldn’t have white paper next to it is the side that buts up to your cabinet/trim.
- Once you know you don’t like a sample – GET RID OF IT. I don’t care if you recycle it, throw it in a box for later, or light it on fire singing ‘I Hate Everything About You’ by Three Days Grace – PURGE THE DEMONS and move along.
- Come heck or high water, narrow it down to your FAVE TWO OR THREE before you start asking for the limited opinions I suggest you get.
- If things seem OFF, shift your undertones. If the colors look too gray/cool, try some warmer ones. If they look too warm, try something in the middle. Remember, this isn’t ‘Do YOU find it too cool?‘ it’s ‘Do your INTERIOR FINISHES find it too cool?‘.
- Look at your samples throughout the day. Heck, buy a quart of paint and paint an important section of the wall that will really give you a feel for how things work. And don’t let that first coat scare you; it’s ALWAYS the worst, as it’s being directly compared to what’s currently on your walls.
Committing to painting ONE WALL/section that butts up DIRECTLY with the finishes you’re trying to coordinate is a great way to get the decision ball rolling.
Worst-case scenario? You hate it, buy another quart of paint and go at it again. BEST case? You made a great choice.
So there you have it. While you might not implement ALL of the above tips, hopefully, you picked up a few tidbits to help you along the way. And remember…BREATHE (meditation and Mojitos help as well).
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