When people tell me they're painting a room and they're just going to use white, I know they haven't done their homework. White is one of the most challenging colors to work with. That's because there are literally hundreds of whites offered by each paint manufacturer. Just google your favorite manufacture like “Benjamin Moore and white” and you'll get overwhelmed. Benjamin Moore offers Super White, Linen White, China White, Ballet White, Cloud Nine … and you have got to laugh at this one, Mayonnaise. Benjamin Moore has more than 100 white colors to pick from, with the ones below just a small sample (find the other whites here). Are we talking about paint or food? So we're going to explain one of the biggest painting mistakes homeowners make and how easy to avoid once you understand it.
3 Tips to Avoid One of the Most Common Painting Mistakes
Research your colors before you head off to the paint store, to avoid a common painting mistake. You can buy a good book on paint colors or more popular are the color fan books offered by many paint manufacturers. You can buy these fan books at most paint stores or I just discovered you can buy them on Amazon.
Alternatively, if you work with an interior decorator, you can borrow their paint fans. Or my preference is to have a color consultation with an interior decorator as they'll save you lots of time, money and angst. If you've never worked with an interior decorator, check out Hosking Interiors write-up on their color consonsulting services because they know their colors, and more important how color affects your mood.
Trust me, I've learned this lesson the hard way. I'm a quilter and love bright, bold colors. As we spend so much time in the kitchen, I use lots of color in my kitchens. The safe way to do this is with paint, so I or a future homeowner can change the color easily. You can see my beautiful red kitchen here and I cried when we painted the space a light green to sell the house.
Guessing I'll be learning how difficult it is to pick just the right color … forever. My husband was done with red when we moved to a condo on the beach. We tried four different blues until we found the right one for our new condo. When I tried a complimentary orange and got lots (I mean lots) of interesting feedback, I knew it was time to rely on someone else to pick my colors so my decorator found a nice seashell beige. This only demonstrated one more time, why it's important to try and avoid one of the most common painting mistakes ever made!
Home Stagers Can Help You Avoid Painting Mistakes
Most homeowners think they can paint their own home. When you've got lots of time and not enough money, this is one of the best projects to tackle. While visiting my son over the holidays, my husband and I wanted to help get their house ready for sale. They decided the kitchen floor tile needed to be replaced (my husband's project) and I set to work painting and staging the entry way and living room as the first impression is so crucial to selling a house.
Painting and paint colors that sell a house aren't something I'm great at because of my passion for bright, bold colors. Decorators and especially those that stage homes for sale know which colors are neutral and inviting to attract those offers. Knowing this, I asked my decorator/home stager about the best colors for my son's home which they planned to put on the market as soon as it was ready … hoping to avoid this common painting mistake.
Once I got to Florida, I found my local Benjamin Moore paint store and purchased several pints to test the colors in the rooms I was painting. You can buy small pints and try out several paint colors before making your final decision. It's good to do this in the room being painted and you want to see how the color looks throughout the day(s). In Florida you definitely want to see the color on a sunny day, cloudy day and at night with the lights on.
Testing Paint Colors to Avoid Mistakes
I started painting the master bedroom and I'm soooooooooo glad I tested the colors first, both from Benjamin Moore. This was important to me as it wasn't my bedroom. I wanted to be sure the colors worked for my daughter-in-law, so I put a few of the whites on the wall. We call this auditioning, and then I asked Emily to pick the color she liked best.
- Monroe Bisque (lower left), HC26 with White Dove (06) trim … the winner!
- Philadelphia Cream (lower right), HC30 with Atrium White (79) trim
I prepped the walls first – dusting, patching nail holes, wiping down dirty spots and vacumming to get rid of the dog hair. As I'm not a great painter, I also covered all the trim with painter's tape. It really is true, more than half the time spent painting … is prep time. Next I painted the ceiling as you don't want to change your mind after the walls are done, another one of the common painting mistakes made by homeowners.
The next morning I headed off to the store to buy the paint, after calculating how much paint was needed.
Back home and time to get started painting, yeah. Fortunately, I started painting the wall where I had tested the colors. Ugh, the color didn't look right to start but I thought (hoped) maybe it was a matter of wet versus dry paint, and the color would be right once it dried. No, it wasn't the right color so that meant waiting until the store opened the next morning.
We knew it wasn't the right color because it was too yellow, and we could prove that the sample quart we had picked didn't match the 7 gallons of paint we'd purchased (the labels looked the same?). At the store we discovered they used the wrong base when mixing the paint. The store wasn't happy and tried very hard to remix the paint we had, to get close to the color we wanted. After wasting more than two hours at the store, it was time to find a real Benjamin Moore paint store rather than the Ace Hardware store that sells Benjamin Moore paint.
This wasn't a great painting experience but I learned a lot. To recap my 3 tips on picking the right paint color:
- Research paint colors before you buy any paint.
- Audition paint colors in the room(s) you're painting to make sure you like how the color (and finish) look.
- Confirm you've got the right colors once you start painting. This is a new tip based on this story, where I didn't get the right paint … so I guess I'd add, stick to buying paint from a paint store too!
We've got more articles about painting, paint colors and paint finishes like flat or semi-gloss. Let us know which articles helped you the most … or the one you were looking for that we still to write (and we will, promise).
Thanks for sharing the tips to test colors………
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Very good point about testing the colours – you can’t just go to the store and choose.
For starters the lighting in the store will be completely different to that in your home, and you also want to see that test under different lighting conditions throughout the day.
Test it first 😉
You’re absolutely right that you need to test colors throughout the day. What might look great with full sunlight, could get washed out under artificial light.