Hoffman Leakey Architects 

O: 814.466.7811

110 West Main Street, P.O. Box 865, Boalsburg, Pennsylvania 16827

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Color Selection

September 21, 2016




So you think you picked the right paint color.

You consulted with your best friend, mom, and neighbor.  The paint chip looked great in your home. The best weekend to paint comes up: everything’s moved out of the room, drop cloths are laid, and wood trim is taped over. You feel really good about your color choice, so you run to the store and buy your first gallon with all the supplies.


A couple hours later, after the first coat has dried, your face turns into a frown, maybe even a gasp escapes your mouth. “That’s NOT the color I picked!!” you think, or maybe scream. You’re perplexed and check the can. “No, the number is right, and the little paint dot on top of the can matches the sample.” What happened?


You’re not alone! Many residential customers have difficulty choosing a paint color for the interior of their homes. There are many reasons for a paint color faux pas. Without going into the depths of color theory too much, I will touch on a few points that should help you next time.


When you look at those tiny paint samples, remember they are not a good representation of what the color will look like on a large area. A small sample will tend to look darker than the end result.


Tip#1: Obtain as large a sample as you can, and when you have chosen one or two, purchase a sample cans of those colors and paint an area of wall or poster board.


Color is really a representation of light reflected on an object. Light can be affected by many things, and therefore, color as well.  Have you ever put on a pair of shoes in the morning in your dark bedroom, and later noticed in the daylight that one is navy and one is black?


Tip #2: Choose your color under the lighting that resides in the room at different times of day. Typically this is daylight, and an artificial source: an incandescent, fluorescent, or LED bulb. After you have painted your area of wall, watch it during the next couple of days and see how it changes under different light sources. Do you still like it?


Color has a psychological effect on us. The other day I walked into a coffee shop with high ceilings and off-white walls. I couldn’t wait to leave because I didn’t feel all warm and fuzzy, (and come to think of it, did this in turn create my dislike of the coffee?).  Think about how you'd like your space to feel. Once, a parent let her daughter choose a saturated, or bright pink color for her bedroom. The end result was what we call INTENSE; all the walls painted this color created an overwhelming feeling!




Intense means the hue was pure; it had no white within creating a tint, or black within creating a shade. Most intense colors create a feeling of energy, and this family realized they wanted her room to feel more comforting. A pink with more white within would accomplish this.


TIP #3: Remember a color can have three basic qualities: the hue, value, or intensity. Choose one which generates the feeling or atmosphere you wish for the room.


There are many aspects to color theory that this post doesn’t touch on; we won’t give all our secrets away!  If you feel your design challenge is too complicated, a professional consultation may be in order. We would love to meet you, and welcome the opportunity to tackle your color challenge head on!

















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