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|Below are eleven informative resources to learn about choosing house paint colors.
What is color? Color or colour can be defined as the “visual perceptual property corresponding in humans to the categories
called red, green, blue and others.” In other words, color is really what the eye perceives. Color is created by the spectrum of
light – which is the distribution of light power vs. wave length – combining with the spectral sensitivities of the light receptors
in the eye. We associate color categories and color’s physical specifications with materials, objects, and light sources; this is
based on the color’s physical property, i.e., reflection, light absorption, or emission spectra. The emission spectra of a
chemical element or compound is defined by the frequencies at which the element’s or compound’s atoms are emitted when
returned to a lower energy rate. When a color space is defined, colors can thus be recognized numerically by their
coordinates. Read The Six Colors of the Eiffel Tower
“Pick Paint Colors For Your House”
This article emphasizes that houses exist in historical and neighborhood contexts. The author advises homeowners to
consider what an older structure’s original color scheme might have been. She also recommends finding the middle path
between copying the home next to yours and choosing colors that clash with it. This helpful list of tips even suggests a house’
s natural environment as a color-scheme inspiration. Each piece of advice is thoughtful, yet the descriptions are brief and to
This Old House
“Choose Paint Colors With a Color Wheel”
The color wheel seems like a natural place for a how-to guide to start. This one reintroduces the concept of complementary
colors, which “bring out the best in each other, making both colors look cleaner and brighter.” Understanding primary,
secondary, and tertiary colors wasn’t just helpful for 5th grade art class; it can help you choose the right hues for your home.
The author goes on to provide examples of vibrant color combinations using complementary shades. The violet-blue pantry
doors and yellow-orange wall look particularly gorgeous together.
“Color Dos & Don’ts”
This well-edited package of stories on color selection starts with the basics — hello again, color wheel! — and moves in all
sorts of interesting directions. The writers talk with interior designers, delve into feng shui and the psychology of color, and
provide specialized tips for small spaces, such as apartments. (Example: Use sharp hues and unexpected accents.) Among
the don’ts: Don’t assume beige is the only neutral, and don’t jump on every trendy color bandwagon that rolls by. The guide
even includes a splashy, fast-moving video.
“How to Select the Right Paint and Color for Your Home”
After reviewing paint and sheen types, DIY Network offers tips for achieving looks ranging from subtle and elegant to rich and
vibrant. There are also short sections on choosing ceiling hues and using color to create focal points in a room. Like the
HGTV guide, this article has a companion video, hosted by an honest-to-goodness contractor.
“How to Choose Paint Colors for Decorating a House”
SF Gate recommends an inside-out approach to choosing paint colors. This involves picking a central item and building a
room’s color scheme around it. The article also repeats an age-old bit of painting wisdom: Test your colors on small sections
of wall before going all out. There are even tips for homeowners planning to sell: Light colors make rooms look bigger, and
white acts as a “blank canvas” that lets potential buyers imagine things their way.
Fazzolari Custom Homes & Renovations
“How to Choose an Exterior Home Paint Color You Will Love”
John Fazzolari is a contractor, so when it comes to color schemes, he knows whereof he speaks. His article on color
selection relies in part on amusing anecdotes, some of which are cautionary tales, to make his well-considered points. (The
“Smurf Blue” story is particularly memorable.) This piece may not be as systematic as the others on this list, but the
conversational tone and common-sense advice (look around your neighborhood for exterior colors you like, then knock on
some doors) make this a quick, fun read.
Hooked on Houses
“How to Pick Paint Colors”
Hooked on Houses lives up to its name with this essay on the art of finding the right paint colors. Like Fazzolari’s account,
this piece has a strong, compelling voice, but it doesn’t skimp on the helpful tips, either. Are you about to paint a room Shrek
green without realizing it? Such mistakes are avoidable, Hooked on Houses assures us, with sufficient forethought.
The article spotlights a gorgeous, deep-red living room, then reveals brands and hues of paint you can use to recreate it.
Other gems: Paint chips are ink, not paint, so don’t use them to decide which color looks best in your house; exterior paints
often have more vibrant colors, so using them inside can make a bold statement; earth tones are always in style; and low-
VOC paints are the way to go, for you and the planet.
“How To: Select a Paint Color”
Good old Bob Vila. The longtime home-improvement guru is still around, and his approach to choosing paint colors is as
grounded as the buildings he renovates. He stresses that color selection is a personal choice that should (and inevitably will)
reflect your personality. He also provides a helpful glossary of color terms — a godsend for those who can’t remember the
difference between value and tone. (The former is lightness or darkness, the latter intensity.)
Whether your project is interior or exterior, Vila suggests taking a good look at the context your colors will be part of. This
includes architectural factors, since a Victorian wears deep colors much more gracefully than a Colonial. Vila also touches on
neutral colors; he regards dark brown as a panacea for outside trim, and, yes, beige is a safe bet for siding. As you might
expect from someone who’s been in the home-improvement biz for more than three decades, Vila isn’t wild about the notion
of following color trends. All in all, his guide is on the conservative side. Then again, if you’re considering radical changes to
your home’s appearance, a voice of reason should always be welcome.
This last guide is a little unconventional. The home-decorating magazine House Beautiful has created an online slideshow of
ideas and inspirations that’s eclectic, fun to read, and suitably colorful. Travel back to the 1950s in a color-powered time
machine; check out the color scheme of a gorgeous Charleston home on a virtual tour; and explore shades that match the
seasons. Perhaps most important: Learn which are “the hardest colors to get right,” and find out why. The slideshow’s
creativity and variety make color selection seem like an adventure, not a drag. This may not be the only resource you need to
decide on a color scheme, but it’s one you won’t regret using.
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