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It’s amazing what a difference a fresh coat of paint can make for a space. But, with the millions of colors available to us, making that decision can be overwhelming. Here’s how to choose the right paint colors for your farmhouse, every time.
You walk into the paint aisle ready to choose your paint color. You select, what you think is, the absolute perfect paint color. Only to be completely dissatisfied when you slap it on the walls. We’ve all been there, right?
The paint looked grey at the store, but it looks blue now, they must have mixed it wrong.
I thought it would really bring out the furnishings, but it makes everything blend in.
It should make the room pop, but it turned it into a dungeon.
And then, you just wasted 40 bucks on a gallon of paint and you have to go through and paint it all over again. Blah…. And I know, it’s so hard to pick the right paint color, especially for your farmhouse. I mean…
how can there possibly be so many shades of white??
But, they make it look so easy on TV. I mean, they just grab some paint, throw it on the walls, and it looks absolutely gorgeous. How does she do that??
You can make your farmhouse beautiful, light and airy just like the pros do with a little know-how, though. Here’s where to start.
How to Choose the Perfect Farmhouse Paint Colors
1. Choose Furnishings and Decor First
We’re all guilty of this one. We put the cart before the horse and slap paint on the walls figuring that it will help us pick the right furnishings, accents, and decor. Only to find out, it did the exact opposite and we have to paint it all over again. If you’re like me, that’s the last thing you want (I loathe painting walls). So, do yourself a favor and pick out your furnishings and decor first. At least, most of it. It is so much easier to do it this way.
Once you have your furniture and such in place, use it to your advantage! Pull some color inspiration from patterns within the room. Pick your favorite shade out of the neutral area rug, or use your bedding to inspire what color you’d like to paint your walls.
You can also use your furniture to help you decide if you’re going to go really light, or a bit on the darker side. If you can add a pop of color (even neutral farmhouse shades can have color) or if you need to stay with true whites and greys with just the right undertone.
2. Find some Inspiration
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We all love a little inspiration! My favorite place to get inspiration for my home is Instagram. My second favorite is Pinterest. These are real people sharing the interiors (and exteriors) of their homes! On instagram if I find a space I love and they didn’t say in the comments, I just ask them what color they used. You can bookmark the spaces you love so you can look back through them! On Pinterest, the blog posts often mention the colors, but if they don’t, they’re only an email away!!
3. Find the Undertone
You picked that perfect grey, slapped it on the walls and now your living room looks like pinkalicious had her birthday party there.
They didn’t mix that color wrong at the counter, you just picked the wrong undertone.
How do you pick the correct undertone? Look at the darkest swatch on your paint chip. What color stands out on that chip? Brown? Blue? Green? The color that immediately pops out at you from the darkest swatch is the undertone of the entire palette. So if you look at that darkest color and it’s super red or green, when you paint even the lightest color of the chip on your walls it will have red or green in it. Subtle, but still there.
If you’re picking up those pesky single swatch paint chips, you can find the undertone by putting it against a white sheet of paper. The undertone will actually still pop right out at you!
This is so important when picking any paint, but especially the neutral color scheme that lends itself to farmhouse style. You need to think of the undertone you want. If you want some green in it, look for a swatch that has the darkest color looking green. If you’re picking a greige, you need to find one that has taupe or brown.
4. Stick with Subtle Neutrals
To me, farmhouse screams neutral color palette. And those neutrals aren’t near as flashy as those bright bold (and beautiful in their own right) colors. And that’s okay. The boring neutrals are going to create a calm, inviting space that provides that beautiful farmhouse vibe you’re going for. So, my best advice is to steer clear of the bright and bolds. It’ll be okay. Plus, those bold colors are hard to paint over when you change your mind….
Just because I said neutral doesn’t mean that you can add something with a pop of green or blue. Even Joanna Gaines uses pops of colors when the space is right. And it doesn’t mean you can’t go dark. Painting doors, accents, or even trim can be a great way to add some dimension to the room. So, don’t think that you’re glued to painting your entire home ultra white. White is actually an incredibly dynamic color. So, keep an open mind.
5. Consider the Lighting
I painted our bedroom what was once a beautiful grey color with heavy blue undertones. It looked fantastic in our old home. In here? It made my bedroom look like a dungeon. We have windows in that room, but only two and they are both north-facing. So, after painting it blue, which I don’t regret because it was pepto bismol pink… I was tasked with re-painting it to lighten it up, tremendously. Not fun because it took 2 coats, but… it’s done now and looks amazing.
Did you know, you can flip the paint swatch over to see what the light reflective value is to help you decide if it will be too dark for a space? The light reflective value will tell you how much light will be reflected off of the color. Colors that have a value above 70 are really going to bounce the light back into the room. Colors lower than 70 are going to start absorbing the light the lower the value gets. Just think about the light and what kind of mood you’re trying to create and go with it.
6. Go a Shade Lighter
You’ve found it, the perfect color. But, is it? You have to keep in mind you’re looking at a little square of color, so consider that when you paint it on your walls it will take over the room. Perhaps the richer color is best, but it could definitely overwhelm the space and make the wall color the focal point of the room. You can probably achieve the same goal by going up one on the swatch. It will be in the same family, have the same undertones and not be too much for the room.
If moving up on the swatch isn’t on your list of things to accomplish, a similar option would be to have the paint counter to lighten it anywhere between 25-50%. It may change the tone just a tad, but you’re not going to notice and it won’t be drastic. So, if you need a lighter option but want to use your favorite color, have them mix it just a tad lighter. It could make all the difference in the world.
Just like that blue I painted all over our bedroom walls, if it hadn’t been so saturated and I had lightened it up, it would have been fine. But, I’ve found my favorite colors and no looking back now….
7. Utilize Color Samples
If you only use one tip from this list, use this one. Color samples are cheap and a really easy way to decide if the color you picked is right for the space. They save you tons of money (who wants to waste $60 on a gallon of paint and it not look right) and time (because painting the room the wrong color just means you have to paint it all over again).
Paint at least a 2X2 foot space in the room on every single wall the colors you’re trying to decide from and give it a few days before you buy the paint. If you think you have it narrowed down to “the one” I’d get a shade lighter and a shade darker of that same color to decide if it really is “the one” or if you should go lighter or darker.
You can also paint a small 1X1 foot piece of poster board and put it up to the different furnishings in a room to make sure it will look great once it’s on the walls without having to drag your furniture over to the spots you painted (which often isn’t an option, anyway).
I love to hear from my readers, so tell me in the comments below have you ever picked the wrong paint?