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  • Karen

The answer is PAINT!

Updated: Mar 13, 2019

The question is....What is the easiest way to change a look of a space that is affordable and can be done in a matter of days?

So, you are saying to yourself, let's do it! I'm going to repaint the walls in my home with a new color. Easy...right? So you head to the paint store to pick up a can of paint. But, when you get to the store, your simple project takes a turn. Who knew there are so many shades of one color! And sheen, what is that?! Stop the madness!

Here are a few tips to help make the process easier. Three things to think in mind: Color, Sheen and Durability.


Picking out a new color to transform your space is exciting!

First of all, remember it is your space. So don't worry about what the top trending paint colors are in the marketplace...unless you are fixing up your home to put on the market (then that is an entirely different conversation for another time).

The point is, go with a color YOU

like that makes you feel good.....

while keeping some things in mind.

Elements in your space: The color should compliment the elements in your space.

Elements include furniture, flooring, counter tops, art, stone, get the idea. And don't forget your floor and window trim. Trim may not be the most glamorous thing in your space. But since it sits right next to your paint color, it really impacts the color that you choose. I like to treat walls as a backdrop in your room, providing a clean palette for your elements to be showcased and pop.

Lighting: The amount of light you have, or don't have, in your space can totally change the look of the paint color you select. For example, color in a bathroom where there may be no natural light will look totally different then in the living room, for example, that has lots of natural light.

Room Flow: Consider how colors in your home visually flow from room to room. For example, when you stand in your living room, what other rooms can you see from that room? You want to make sure the color family from room to room 'gets along'.

Inspiration: There are SO many ways to get inspired on color choices. Pinterest and are great sites to help you. On both sites you can narrow your search on rooms in a specific color (even specific brand name/color name) which is a very helpful. I recommend visiting one of these sites and start pinning/saving a dozen or so rooms with colors that you like. I think after doing this, you'll find a trend in the color you are leaning towards. Inspiration can also come from something you already have in your home; a piece of art, pillows, a color tone from a tile floor, for example. Be inspired!

Keep it Neutral: I am a big fan of neutral colors. Why?

Neutral colors treat your walls like a back drop to everything else in your room. Neutral colors are often timeless and work in virtually all spaces. They are elegant, provide a clean look and are flexible. By flexible I mean you can easily change out colors in your room without having to repaint the walls.

Neutral is not just white and beige. Neutral means a light to medium color that works well with other colors. Most neutral colors come in a wide variety of shades and undertones. For example, the color grey can look more blue, more beige or even more green. So you have to be careful. If you are not sure what undertone your neutral color has, look at the darkest color on the swatch. It will help you see the true base of the color because the darkest color is where the color is the most obvious.

Grey is a very popular neutral color and one of my favorites. Perhaps grey is the new white?! But, white is great in a space!! White provides a clean, fresh palette for anything. And, the color white reflects light so it can open up and brighten up a space very nicely. You may be hesitant to paint a room entirely white. Don't be! But if you are, you can incorporate white with white trim, white cabinets, white counter tops or paint a feature wall white.

When to go bold: If you want to have an accent wall that draws the eye in, then go bold! Bold colors work well on walls that provide a architectural touch or feature in the room.

I also like bold colors in small bathrooms. Typically elements in a bathroom are neutral and there isn't a large amount of wall space so a bold color is very doable.

Ceilings: Ceilings no longer have to be white.

If you have a space with high ceilings and you want the room to feel cozy, painting your ceiling a darker color will help lower the ceiling. Painting your ceiling white has the opposite effect. And if you have a space that you want to have some fun with (i.e. kids room, playroom), paint stripes or a design on your ceiling while leaving the walls neutral. Do keep in mind the texture on the ceiling since texture can change how the color looks.

Test the color in your space:

Without a doubt, test the color in your space!

I highly recommend purchasing paint samples. You can usually pick up a sample for $5, which is well worth the investment. Try to narrow you choices down to 3 - 4 colors. If possible, have the sample made in the same sheen you plan to paint on the wall.

Paint a large test swatch (2 ft x 2 ft or larger) on your wall at eye level. I prefer painting a test swatch on the wall versus painting a sample board. Your walls have texture so the color can look totally different on your wall versus a sample board. Also, be aware of the existing color of the wall you are painting the test swatch on. If your wall is white, your color will look different then if you are painting over a brown wall. Just be aware.

Note: Before you paint your walls, you may want to prime the area that your test swatches are on, just to make sure they don't bleed through your final coats of paint.

Test your color against your furniture, floors, trim and other elements in your space. You can do this by using a painted sample board and holding it up against your sofa, for example. Or hold your wall art up against the test swatch on the wall.

Even take the painted sample board into adjoining rooms that are painted a different color. How does it look in there? The colors from room to room do not want to compete with each other or not get along at all!

Look at the color a lot!!! This is SO IMPORTANT! I recommend not making a decision for several days. Look at the paint at different times of the day in different light. Every time you walk by the test swatch, look at it! Give yourself a lot of time to make a decision. You won't regret it!


The gloss or sheen of paint impacts how the color looks in your space, the durability of the paint and how easy it is to hide imperfections in the wall.

Consider how the room is being used. Is it a high traffic area so the ability to clean the wall is important. Is the room susceptible to water and humidity or even kitchen grease? Even though you can use whatever sheen you wish to in almost any room in the house, some sheen's offer advantages depending on the use of the room.

Also consider the texture of your walls. The flatter finishes tend to hide imperfections in the wall's texture (and believe me there are very few perfect walls out there!). So for walls that have patches, a flat or matte finish is best.

When selecting a sheen, also think about how much natural light is coming into the room. A higher-gloss finish will allow more light to bounce across the room. While a flatter finish will absorb the light.

If you want to learn even more about how much light paint finishes reflect, has a nice article.


COLOR: I like to have consistency in the paint colors throughout the home. It not only provides an easy flow from room to room, but also provides a calm space. And consistency can be either the same color from room to room or a lighter or darker shade (on your paint swatch). Just going a little lighter or darker shade..up and down the paint swatch...helps ensure the colors work well together.

I love white woodwork. It just makes the color on your walls pop. And it provides a clean look, a nice contract if you are painting your walls a color and a crisp outline for your room.

However, with that said, black trim on doors and windows can be stunning as well (in a room with neutral wall color).

Bold colors for walls are great but I like to have a place for them. I like to see bold colors as an accent color on an interesting wall in your space.

Bringing out that asymmetrical shaped wall or highlighting the bump out that has to be there by painting it a bold color, turns that wall into a fun, unique architectural feature in your room.

SHEEN: Eggshell or Satin is the sheen of my choice in living rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms and hallways. I even like that sheen for kitchens. Satin or Semi Gloss is a good choice for bathrooms, mudrooms or kid play areas.

QUALITY: Select paint brands that are high quality. It is worth the investment! Those little hand prints get bigger and higher as your kids get older! Believe me I know! So you want to have a paint that is durable and will last through the clean-ups. And there will be clean-ups!

You live in your space. You need a good quality paint.

There are so many great articles/blogs/advice available regarding color, sheen and applications. So be sure to do your research before you jump in the car and head to the paint store to buy your favorite color of paint!

Happy painting!!

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