Creating a color palette can be an overwhelming task. Below I’ve provided some color theory basics to get you started.
Cool colors have a relaxing effect. Greens and blues are good for contemplation. They work well in reading rooms, bedrooms, and master bathrooms.
Warm colors have an energizing effect. Red, yellow, and orange lift people’s spirits and get them interacting with each other. Warm colors are great in areas where you plan to entertain.
The versatility of neutral colors is truly underappreciated. They are soothing and welcoming with a touch of elegance and sophistication. They are great for living areas, offices, and meeting rooms.
Depth and Perception
Color can also be used to alter the appearance of space. Dark colors ‘reach’ out to you. They make ceilings appear lower and rooms feel cozier. Light and cool colors recede. They make rooms feel more expansive.
For a real sense of coordination consider a monochromatic color scheme. These consist exclusively of various shades of the same color; these fit nicely in bathrooms, nurseries, and themed rooms.
When choosing colors make sure they compliment your existing furnishings and décor. Also consider the amount of light the area will receive. This can alter the ‘value’ of the color. Light can make paint appear brighter or darker. Try to develop a cohesive color palette. Variety is the spice of life but too much variety can feel chaotic and discordant.
An often overlooked aspect of paint is the finish. A paint’s gloss affects how reflective and durable it is. At one end of the spectrum is ‘matte’ finishes (flat finish) At the other end is ‘gloss’ finishes. Matte finishes reflect very little light while gloss finishes reflect a high amount of light.
Matte finishes are the least durable.They scuff and stain easily and do not hold up well to moisture or cleaning. The benefit of a Matte finish is that it conceals surface imperfections. A gloss finish is more reflective and highlights these imperfections. Glossy finishes have the advantage of being more durable and washable than matte finishes. Often times a slight sheen can add a sense of depth to a surface.
Different Types of Finish
Most paints are are not entirely flat nor entirely glossy. They come in several levels of gloss. Although different brands offer different finishes, most are based on one of the four categories below, listed from least to most glossy.
Matte finishes (flat finishs) are the least glossy of all finishes. Their surface is porous and non-reflective. Smooth and dull in appearance, this makes them good at covering existing colors and hiding surface imperfections.Their porous surface makes them susceptible to stains, scuff marks, and moisture damage. They do not hold up well to scrubbing or cleaning products.
Common Uses: Matte finishes are commonly used on ceilings, walls in low traffic rooms, and closets.
When to Avoid: I do not recommend matte/flat finishes for kitchens, bathrooms, kid’s rooms, laundry rooms, high traffic areas, or on trim around doors and windows.
Probably the most widely used finish; eggshell finishes have just a touch of sheen making them more durable and resistant to scrubbing than matte finishes. Their slightly glossy appearance also adds a sense of depth to surfaces.
Common Uses: Both eggshell and the slightly glossier satin finish (discussed next) are considered well rounded finishes offering durability without excessive sheen. Because of this, eggshell is appropriate on virtually all interior walls. High traffic areas which require more frequent cleaning such as bathrooms, kitchens, trim, or kid’s room often make use of the glossier satin finish.
When to Avoid: Consider using a glossier finish for high traffic areas or areas that will be subjected to frequent cleaning.
Like eggshell, satin finishes are widely used because of their durability and moderate glossy appearance. Satin tends to be glossier and more durable than eggshell. You may find when comparing brands, that the eggshell of one brand offers virtually the same gloss as the satin from another.
Common Uses: Satin finishes are typically used in bathrooms, kitchens, kid’s rooms, and on trim.
When to Avoid: Like eggshell, satin is appropriate for most applications; however, some may prefer the less glossy eggshell for interior walls, or the glossier ‘semi-gloss’ for high traffic areas or trim.
Semi-Gloss finishes offer, even more durability and more gloss than matte, eggshell, and satin finishes. Semi-gloss is generally considered to be too glossy for general application and is reserved for kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and other high traffic areas.
Common Uses: semi-gloss paint is applied almost exclusively to bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, trim, or other areas which have heavy traffic, exposure to moisture, or require frequent cleaning.
When to Avoid: Semi-gloss is generally considered too glossy for use other than on trim, bathrooms and kitchens. Too much gloss reveals surface imperfections and can give walls an inconsistent color appearance.
Gloss is the least used of all finishes, used so rarely in interior painting that many brands do not even carry an interior gloss paint. Extremely durable and stain resistant, gloss paints will dry to an almost laminate look.
Common Uses: used for cabinets or trim.
When to Avoid: Gloss finishes are not used for interior walls.