Designing Eye: Picking The Perfect Paint

By Toni Berry
Contra Costa Times Correspondent

Deciding to paint the interior of your home is easy. Deciding what colors to use, not so much -- just ask anyone who has agonized and struggled for hours choosing paint colors only to be disappointed with the end results.
Some hire a decorator to help them choose. Others decide to go it alone. Either way, it can be a bit scary to make color choices unless you know a few simple tips.

  For this Client; The same two colors in the family room and living/dining room were used in the foyer to create harmony. The two wall colors are Benjamin Moore"s "Stone House" and "Tree Moss". And the ceiling, crown molding and baseboards are Linen White throughout.

On the don't list
  • Don't choose colors in a paint store. Colors change drastically depending on the light, so they can look very different in your home. When deciding on colors, make sure to look at them in the space they will be used.
  • Don't forget the ceiling -- it's the fifth wall. A white ceiling may be the best choice, but don't just leave it white by default. A room looks more finished when the ceiling is deliberately painted to coordinate and harmonize with the decor.
  • Don't ignore accessories. While paint is the most common way to add color, incorporating pillows, fabrics, area rugs and other accessories is a great way to add splashes of color and your unique personality.
    The do list
  • Do understand the psychology of color. Colors evoke reactions and affect us physically and mentally. When you understand how colors shape your feelings, you can choose ones that help you feel wonderful in your home.

  • Do create flow from room to room. In most homes, you can stand in one room and see other rooms, so there needs to be a smooth continuity. That doesn't mean you have to paint all the rooms the same color, but the colors need to work together. Carry elements of one room into another. The easiest way to do this is to paint the moldings in all of the rooms in the same color. Another way is to use different shades and intensities of the same color in each room.

  • Do be inspired. If you have a large piece of furniture or a treasured accessory, let it awaken your color creativity. The background color in a piece of art can become your wall color; a favorite antique can inspire the color for pillows; a lampshade can become the molding hue.

  • The most important thing to remember about color is that it should make you feel good. So be courageous and pick some color! And if you need some advice call for a "Color Consultation".  925.862.9064 or email