I understand painting your home is a big expense and a big commitment. While styles and trends come and go, you will likely get nearly a decade of life out of your new paint job. Sometimes even more! So undoubtedly you want to take the time to select colors you will be happy with for the long term. And the decision can be overwhelming. Regardless of where you are at in the color selection process, you should find something in this guide that will help you determine the best strategy for selecting a color that you will love for years to come.
Matching the existing colors
If your preference is to stay with the same colors you currently have, my best recommendation is we try to track down the actual paint used on the home last time. Hopefully, the previous homeowner, or maybe the home builder, left you some touch-up paint. I will not be using your paint for any of our work, but I would like to pick it up from you and take it to my paint store to have it matched. If you’re unsure, I would be happy to stop by and look through your paint collection to see if there is anything in there that I can use. Whenever possible, this is the simplest and most accurate system for getting a color match done. Even if the cans are dried out, typically the dried paint on the inside or outside of the can is still a good color sample for me to match. If you don’t have any leftover paint that’s ok too. I can almost always find some item to discretely remove from the home for each color I need. If we are painting the exterior, I will do my best to find something protected from fading to get the most accurate color match possible, but I can’t guarantee we will get your home back to its original luster unless I have a good protected surface to work with. The paint store can only make the color match as good as what I give them. If we go this route, I will make sure to re-install whatever piece of the home I remove and you won’t ever know I removed it.
I want to change colors and I already have them selected
If we are changing the color of your home, my first question is where are you at in the process? Do you already have colors picked out that you like? I can match whatever you have selected if you could either provide me with the sample card itself, the color code and paint brand from the sample card, or the sample pint/quart of wet paint that you tested on the home. Before making a final commitment I can’t recommend strongly enough that you see an actual sample of wet paint on the house, as the actual paint can sometimes look a bit different from the sample cards.
I want to change colors and I need advice on where to begin
If you’re starting the color selection process from the beginning right now, and you feel comfortable handling the process on your own, I can recommend a couple of different ways to proceed. Select whichever you feel most comfortable with. You can stop any paint store, whichever is most convenient for you, and choose from their available colors. Or if you are local to me, I could drop off a color deck for you to look at from home. The swatches in the color deck are smaller than what you would have access to at the paint stores in most cases, so I recommend a trip to the store if you have the time.
On color change jobs I include a maximum of 2 samples for each colored surface of the home in my quoted price, distributed over two visits. For example, if your home has just one wall color and one trim color, I have included a maximum of 4 total colors to be painted on the house by me or one of my workers in one or two locations of your choosing at no additional charge. I’m happy to make some extra trips if necessary at additional cost, but most of my customers are able to figure out colors by following these steps:
If you or a friend/family member have a good eye for color, you may be able to take some shortcuts in the process. However, I find most of my customers have to make a couple of attempts to get the colors dialed in just right. As you can imagine, if purchasing paint samples from the store for the purpose of experimenting with color combinations, the costs would add up quickly. Therefore, I highly recommend using the sample cards to explore different options. These are free from all paint stores and allow you to “try on” as many colors as you want.
Make sure to evaluate them at different times of day and in different lighting conditions. I also recommend that you hold them up next to any surfaces on the home that are never going to change color and are highly visible. This might include brick or stone, for example. If you’re getting a new roof, having stucco work done, or possibly new countertops installed inside, it’s a good idea to select those colors first since you will have a more limited palette to choose from. And paint can be mixed to pretty much any color to tie it all in together at the end.
Sampling my newly selected colors
Once you are about 99% sure you have chosen your colors, then it’s time to proceed with wet sampling. The paint manufacturers often include a note on the sample cards as a disclaimer that the colors are an “ink representation” of the actual paint color and they cannot guarantee a perfect match. But the difference should be very subtle at this point. Most of my customers don’t see any difference between the sample card and the actual paint in most cases. But at least if something is off, we have very little to lose at this point. We can still make some subtle adjustments and try again.
Work with our decorator
If you feel like you may need to see additional colors on the home to decide, or if colors are really not your thing and you anticipate it might be difficult or too time-consuming to select colors, I do also have a decorator that I work with. Colors and design are very much “her thing” and she would be glad to help. If we are painting your entire home exterior, I am able to offer her services complimentary to you if we go that route from the very beginning. Otherwise, color consulting, testing out different wet samples on the home, etc. can always be added on an a-la-carte basis as needed if the process proves to be more challenging than originally anticipated.
Are you ready to move forward with your project? How can we help you take the next step? Let us know in the comments below or get in touch with us using our Contact page.