How to Choose a Paint Colour

Learning more about undertones makes selecting the proper paint colour a snap

Credit: Daryl Bueckert

In this living room the clients’ sofa has a strong taupey pink undertone. It’s essential in this case to also choose a colour with the same value for this room to blend seamlessly. Here, Stonehearth (CC-490) by Benjamin Moore was chosen because it also

Learn more about undertones and take the Guesswork out of Selecting a Paint Colour

Choosing a paint colour can drive you crazy. If you’re anything like me I used to walk into my local paint shop hoping that the right paint chip would just automatically materialize. You are not alone.

There are Many Undertones in All Colour

Every colour has an undertone. No exceptions. What do I mean by that? Whether it be fabric or the colour on your walls, there is an underlying presence of a second colour. Sometimes it is very obvious and sometimes it is a bit tricky to see.  For example, grey undertones include blue, violet, and green. In beige we see green undertones, gold beige, pink beige, yellow beige and green beige. This list goes on.

Choose a Colour Based off the Fixed Elements in Your Home

If you are confused by which colour to choose then you are not alone.  Your hard finishings are your wood floors, cabinetry, stone, furniture, and other soft major furnishings. This applies to all hard surfaces that cannot be easily moved or surfaces that are here to stay.

It’s far easier choosing a paint colour from a deck of colours as it relates to your hard surfaces versus the other way around. This may mean selecting a colour for you walls based off the undertones in your tile floor or choosing a colour based off your sofa that you know will be staying in the space when you redecorate or take on a renovation.

Do you ever walk into a room and just feel that the something is just off? Chances are that the undertones in the space are not correct and the colours just need to be tweaked a bit. It really all depends on the particular space and situation.

Test Your Colour Pick

If there is an existing colour on the walls you must look at the new colour with a white background behind it. Otherwise you will be visually  comparing the new colour to the old one and that will influence how your eye sees that colour.

You  most likely will never be able to choose a paint colour perfectly by just viewing the itty bitty paint chip. The small paint chips  that you bring home from your paint shop are all printed and not an actual paint colour.  

I usually advise my clients to purchase a large piece of poster board. You can find these at dollar stores or craft stores. Paint at least an 11 inch by 14 inch poster board with two coats of paint from a sample pot. Paint a few boards up and place them around your room at all times of the day as well behind any furniture. This will give you the confidence to love the colour that you have chosen without painting your room five times and losing precious renovation dollars.

There you have it, a few basics to begin to understand colour and the relationship to the surfaces in your home and any future purchases. Above all, love the colours you choose and how they make you feel when you come home every night.

Jodi Bueckert of Simply Inspired Design lives in Langley, B.C., with her husband and two children. She believes that intentional design equals intentional living. She enjoys helping people create beautiful and well thought out spaces, but most importantly to be able to use her creativeness to help those in the community.