Undertone and Inspiration – The Best Ways to Pick Paint Colours
Partner post to ‘How to Create a Paint Palette’
Time and time again I go to client’s homes for the purpose of ‘saving them’ from their painting disaster – super hero style (cape and all)! The beige they picked looks taupe, the yellow they chose is like a visual punch in the face, the gray that looked sooo great in the store looks terrible in their space. And the funny thing is, we hardly ever really ‘change’ the colour they picked – we just tweak it.
Seriously, this happens all…the…time. But why?
Well, there’s 2 main reasons…
#1 Reason – Undertone.
#2 Reason- Failure to find inspiration
Let’s start with undertone. Undertone is that lil’ bugger hiding in your paint that doesn’t really surface until AFTER you’ve spent the ENTIRE WEEKEND painting your room. So what do you do? Well, you get out the ole bottle o’ wine, 2 straws and call me because yes, I would love to help you with your paint colours and oh, now that you mention it I would looove a glass of wine!
However, if you aren’t local, don’t want an Online Colour Consultation or are one of those darned independent types (wink wink) then read on my friend!
Tips and Tricks for Picking the Right Paint Colour – Undertone
Find out what the undertone is using comparison.
1. Go to the paint store and pick the colour chip that you ‘think’ you want.
3. Lie them all down right next to each other (with no spaces in between) and notice the shift in ‘colour’ from chip to chip. More often than not, the colour that you thought you wanted is not the one you end up picking! You’ll find it much easier to notice the green in your beige or the pink in your gray using the process of comparison.
Do not pick your colour by taping it up on your wall on your current paint colour
Your current colour can ‘severely’ affect how your paint chip looks – especially if they are opposites. Here are some easy steps to follow.
1. Use a piece of white paper and tape your sample to it. The more solid the white is the better. And sure there are different whites out there, but for the sake of sanity, just a piece of white paper will do.
2. You can place ALL of your colour chips on this sheet of white paper to really let those undertones shine via comparison!
4. Move this piece of white paper to all of the different walls in your room. Well lit spots as well as shadowed areas.
5. As you move your paper around the room, remove colour chips that you don’t like. Eventually, you’ll end with 1 or 2 faves to choose from!
Tips and Tricks for Picking Paint Colour Using Inspiration
Failure to find (or notice) inspiration is a common reason for choosing the wrong paint colour. So how do you find inspiration? Here’s how…
1. Find 2-3 things in your room that are ‘permanent’ items with colour in them Great examples are…
Countertop or tile backsplash (which really should be coordinated with each other already…).
Fireplace – Brick, stone or tile.
Tile or linoleum floor.
A sentimental item that ‘come Hell or high water’ won’t be leaving the room as long as you live in that home.
If all else fails and all you have is wood floors or neutral carpet as your ‘permanent’ items, then look to these ‘secondary’ items…
The reason why these are ‘secondary’ inspiration pieces is that these pieces are likely to be replaced over time and you may not want to pick your colour scheme based on them. The other items tend to be higher cost items and are more ‘permanent’ – unless you’re like me and your home is a revolving door of products and colour…and husbands… 😉
Now that you’ve got 2 or 3 inspiration pieces, here’s what you do…
1. Break down their colour palettes. If you have 2 or more items, try to find a colour that exists in all of the pieces. If you have only 1 item then pick 2 or 3 colours that you like from it.
2. Decide which of those colours you like the best – that you could live with in your room. If it’s a strong colour that you love, but don’t necessarily want painted on your walls you have 2 choices.
Read more: How to Create a Paint Colour Palette
#1 choice is to find your ‘strong’ colour on a colour chip and choose one of the lighter versions of it for your walls.
#2 choice is to paint your walls a neutral (using undertones as your guide) and use your ‘strong’ colour on a feature wall or as an accent to be used on toss cushions/artwork/etc…
So of course, there are a billion other paint tips and ideas that I could share with you, but for the sake of staying focused on not having complete verbal diarrhea we’ll stick to these 2 ideas today!