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Sunset Orange, Popsicle Dream, or Pumpkin Soup? Renovation decisions are difficult—especially when it comes to choosing paint colours! With thousands of hues and finishes available, picking a palette for your home can be tiring and overwhelming, even for the best of us.

Whether you’re painting your entire home or just a single room, we’ve got a list of paint picking tips that will help you choose the perfect colours for your space. Read on, fellow home stylists!

(Remember to store your leftover paint correctly or recycle it if it’s old, unwanted, or taking up needed space!)

1. Consider your home’s lighting fixtures and natural light

Though Squares A and B in the above illustration appear to be different shades of grey, they are indeed the same colour. Looks can be deceiving!

Adelson’s illusion above shows how shadow and light can affect the appearance of a painted wall. This is why it’s important to assess how your space’s light changes over the course of a day. Are you painting your apartment’s living room, which has a large south facing window and enjoys constant sunshine? Or, are you painting a downstairs bathroom that is lit with a cool-toned flood light? These details may seem minor, but are important in settling on paint colours!

2. Don’t choose paint colours through a computer screen

With the advent of online colour matchers and “try it on” paint preview services, choosing paint colours digitally might seem easier than ever. Remember: easy isn’t always better!

With the variety of devices that we use to browse the web (laptops, desktops, smart phones) and the dozens of display options our devices have (like iPhone’s Night Shift) it’s important to remember that colours display differently depending on your screen and its settings. This means that a paint colour on your favourite retailer’s website could look completely different on your walls! We suggest looking at paint swatches in-store if possible and taking your favourite colours home for comparison. Make it a family affair by bringing a loved one, your kids, or even a friend with you when you’re ready to colour shop!

3. Treat your space holistically and consider neighbouring colours

Are the two orange squares in the photo above the same colour? Though the two squares may appear to be different shades of orange, they are in fact exactly the same colour, thanks to chromatic adaptation.

When looking at an object—a banana, for example, or the orange squares—our eyes assess colour based on the wavelengths they reflect to us. Our eyes also account for the wavelengths around us when we look at an object and adjust the colour of said object accordingly. This explains why a banana is yellow to an onlooker, whether it is sitting in the dark or visible in full sunlight. It also explains why a pink wall next to walls of different colours may appear more (or less) vibrant than the pink paint swatch in your hand. Be sure to accommodate your other wall colours and test colours on your wall to avoid a paint combination fiasco!

4. Pick colours based on the mood you’re creating

Have you ever wondered why bathrooms and bedrooms are often soft shades of blue, green, or light grey? These colours help create calming environments, which is important in spaces where we relax, like our bedrooms. This may not be the case for all rooms in your home—when choosing paint colours, remember the mood you’re trying to establish and pick colours to match it.

For example, if you’re renovating your downstairs workout room this year, choose a bright red or maroon for this room—red is not only energizing and exciting, but has scientifically been shown to induce greater physical stimulation in test-takers.

Remember: for smaller projects like accent walls, you can also pick up high quality leftover paint for free in BC, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Newfoundland & Labrador, and New Brunswick. Find a location where you can pick up free paint using our recycling locator!

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