Ask These 7 Questions to Create a Whole House Color Palette

It seems so simple, but picking a paint color is one of the biggest obstacles my clients have when updating their homes. Once they realize they’re really picking an overall palette, they’re positively paralyzed.

I’ve been part of the process in thousands of homes, and it really is easier than most people think. Answer a few questions, make a few quick decisions, and then narrow those decisions down to an ultimate choice. I usually give myself a week to make a final decision.

What Do You Like, and How Do You Want to Feel?

Flipping through magazines and websites can be a big help when you’re looking for inspiration, but first, take a minute to answer two important questions that people often forget: What are your favorite colors, and how do you want to feel in your home?

Are you looking for a serene oasis from the world or a fun and funky vibe? Finding yourself on that spectrum and considering the colors most likely to take you there is where you want to start. We react to color on such a gut level that instinct will serve you well. If you’re really having a tough time, head to the closet and note the colors of your favorite clothes. Check out the bedding and the art on the walls. You’ll be surprised how quickly you see a pattern that resonates. Choose three colors to get started.

What Are the Elements You Can’t Control?

Now, factor in the elements of the architecture and design that you can’t change. Cabinets, carpet, floors and furniture are more permanent fixtures, and it’s easier – and more affordable – to paint around those things rather than remodeling just to match the paint. Now, which of your three colors come off the list? Decide quickly, be brutal, and keep moving. You can do this!

Which Rooms Can You See from Other Rooms?

Even if you’re not working with an open floor plan, you want to consider everything in your line of sight as you choose colors for particular rooms. This won’t necessarily result in removing any of the colors from the list, but you may end up choosing a different tint or shade of the color you like for another room in your sight line.

Are You Ready to Commit? (You Still Get to Pick Three!)

Time to make a call. Start with your three main paint chips, and then choose one or two of its neighbors on either side to give you a spectrum of the colors you like. This will give you options for accent colors or for picking a broader whole-house color palette. The chips will look different in the store than they will at home, so head home and tape them up somewhere that gets some natural light, so you get a sense of how they look in all kinds of light. Remove the “non-contenders” as soon as you can until you’re down to one chip for at least two of your three colors.

Can Your Choices Pass a Test?

This is a crucial part of the process. Pick up an eight-ounce sample of your chosen colors and brush some on every wall they’re intended for. Depending on the light, one color will often look like two different shades when painted on different walls. Live with them for at least three days – viewing them morning, noon and night – again noting the difference in shades under different light sources, and start narrowing.

If you’re still having trouble deciding, vow to eliminate one color a day. Remember, you can always change paint, and you’ve already chosen colors you actually like.

Do You Want a Different Look Between Upstairs and Downstairs?

If you’re working with a two-story layout, you’re no doubt trying to decide if you want a different color upstairs. Many of my clients do, often choosing warmer, cozier shades for their more private spaces. If possible, try to look for colors somewhere on the spectrum of your anchor color. But whatever you choose, just repeat the process upstairs.

Do You Have Any Neutral Nooks?

Stairwells that connect your two living areas, small hallways and the other nooks and crannies of the house where colors come together are often best left in a neutral shade to avoid clashing. For these spaces, look at shades of white, beige, or “greige,” a taupey color that will work with just about anything. Believe it or not, our eyes want an occasional rest from color, and this is a great way to achieve that, and bring the colors you do use into more sharp relief.

Hopefully these questions will help you develop a palette that’s a perfect reflection of your personality. If you have any of your own suggestions, please share them in the comments!

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About thenoelteam

As a Broker with RE/MAX Alliance, I work energetically for my clients whether they are a buyer or seller. I help you achieve your goal of owning a home or getting the best price for your home in the shortest time possible. After graduating from UCLA with a degree in communications and finance, I was licensed in 1977 and since then I have sold over 3600 properties amounting to over $1 billion in sales. I currently rank in the top 10 in home sales for Colorado. I offer the same quality of service and superior communication to all clients, ranging from starter homes to multi-million dollar estates, commercial and income properties, relocations and foreclosures My goal is to provide you with the best representation possible whether you are buying or selling. Over the years, one of the things that I've discovered is that there is a difference in the way individual Realtors do business. For me, I have always felt that honesty and personal integrity are the foundations upon which a successful business and career are built and sustained. I have an extensive background and knowledge base in real estate, including financing, which has enabled me to provide outstanding, quality advice and service not found with many agents today. My commitment to communication creates a positive relationship between my client and myself that results in a successful property sale or purchase. My passion for real estate, commitment to my clients and personal integrity has helped me to achieve success placing me in the top 1% of all brokers in nationwide. In my career, I have earned a number of awards and received considerable recognition for my success but the most significant recognition comes from the fact that over 75% of my business comes from past clients. My success is a true measure of my client satisfaction.
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