Color and mood are so intricately connected that we often don’t even that realize our thoughts and feelings have been lifted by a bright blue sky or a vivacious batch of magenta flowers. People see color before any other aspect of a room, so when it comes to picking a new wall paint, it is important to choose wisely. The designers at Gary Riggs Home offer some advice on how to select colors that not only reflect your individual style but also provoke just the right mood.

Keep Some Guidelines in Mind

There are no rules when it comes to picking color that’s right for you, but there are a few guidelines you should follow when painting a room:

– If you’re going with a combination of colors, keep it to a maximum of three. Limit bold colors to two, with at least one neutral color to give the eye a break.

– “Neutral” doesn’t mean just whites, grays and tans. Blacks, deep browns, olive greens and navy blues also fall into the neutral category.

– When choosing a color combination, start with the boldest color first, and then select others that complement the first.

– Always, always test the color out on the wall before you paint the entire room. Buy a small sample can, paint a swatch of it on the wall and live with it for a few days before you come to a final decision.

– Color can change your perception of a room’s size. Pale, cool colors help to make a small room feel larger, while warm, dark, more intense colors give a big room a sense of coziness.

– Colors on the ceilings appear darker than they would on the wall. If you’re painting the ceiling a color other than white, choose a color at least one or two shades lighter than your walls.

Avoid These Common Mistakes

Choosing a new color is exciting, but you shouldn’t rush out and pick the first color that catches your eye. Take your time, think it through and avoid these common mistakes:

– Not considering the house as a whole. Transitioning color from one room to the next can be tricky. Even when you’re in one room, the walls of the adjacent room may still be visible. Consider how wall colors interact and flow from room to room.

– Losing sight of a room’s emotional goal. A hot pink bedroom might not inspire the relaxed, calm feelings conducive to sleep. Always consider the function of the room you’re painting and what mood you want it to evoke. Soft, cool colors and neutrals create a quiet, calm environment while stronger colors add drama and interest.

– Not identifying a color’s undertone. Looking at the rows and rows of paint swatches, it might appear that many of the colors are the same. But they’re not. For example, red can have an orange, pink or blue base. To discern one swatch’s true color from another, look at the darkest colors on each color strip. You can also place the swatch against your furniture or other focal points in the room to see what undertone each color brings out in the swatch.

– Getting caught in “paint paralysis.” It’s a common decorating dilemma: you have paint swatches scattered across the wall but you still can’t decide which color is best. But before you even enter the paint store, you should sit down and contemplate what your goal is for the room you’re painting. Flip through magazines and troll the Internet to find photos of spaces that match your vision for your own room. Then take those examples with you to the paint store to help narrow down your choices.

– Not examining the paint swatch under natural light. Natural daylight shows the truest color. It also tends to wash out a color that might appear darker in the store.

– Not taking into account the existing items in the room. Built-in fixtures, flooring, upholstery and artwork should be considered when choosing a new color. For example, dark granite counters or gray tile floors are better matched with cool hues like blue or gray or saturated colors like orange or yellow.

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Don’t be afraid to try a color or combination that lies outside your comfort zone. Remember: paint is not permanent and can always be changed if it doesn’t work. And if you still can’t decide on a new color, visit Gary Riggs Home, where the designers are happy to help you with any of your home decor needs.