Pick a Color

Painting is the least expensive way to change the entire look of a room, but with so many options available homeowners are often confused about what colors to choose. Many homeowners often stick to neutrals such as beige or gray but stepping out of your comfort zone can give a room that extra pizzazz and showcase your home’s architectural details.

Going Beyond Gray

Bonnie Feifer a designer with Chappaqua-based Alison Friedricks Interiors, Inc. notes that many clients are still requesting gray but the “pendulum is starting to swing and everything is starting to warm up. People are slowly starting to experiment with darker colors.”

In fact, Benjamin Moore’s color of the year is Shadow, a dark purple with black in it and Pantone chose Greenery, a greenish-yellow hue. Feifer favors using darker colors in smaller rooms because this makes the room appear cozier, sophisticated and elegant. She also suggests that if clients are afraid to leap into bolder colors, they might be more inclined to do so in a dining room with wainscoting or a chair rail. She’s seen clients embrace bolder colors by popping out the trims around the windows, doors or molding as a way to get confident with color.

While white is ever popular on ceilings, she sometimes advises clients to paint the ceiling a different color to draw attention to a great chandelier or a tray ceiling. “Years ago, people used to say this is my red dining room and my blue living room. Now we try to give the rooms a more cohesive look with different tones of the same color,” says Feifer.

“When you walk into a room you want people to notice the interior and the furnishings and not say I love that wall color.”

Feifer, who offers clients throughout Westchester paint color consultations, says that it is important to consider the type of house that you own. In mid-century modern and contemporary homes lacquer and glossier finishes are all the rage while a matte finish tends to work best in classic colonials. The room that you are painting plays a key factor as well. Bathrooms need paints that can withstand moisture to prevent mold and mildew, so a semi-gloss or eggshell finish is best.

Environmentally-Friendly Paint Options

If you are thinking of painting a child’s bedroom or creating a nursery, choose colors that offer longevity and avoid colors such as bubblegum pink or baby blue. The colors for children’s rooms today are more muted and less primary. Today’s paints also offer more “green” options for concerned homeowners. Parents often request paint that is free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) because those chemicals in paints have been linked to respiratory illnesses. Benjamin Moore’s Natura line, Ecos Paint, Real Milk Paint Company and Mythic Paint all offer VOC-free paint options that come in kid-friendly colors. If your home was built prior to 1978 when lead paint was banned, it is crucial to conduct lead testing.

Preparation is Key

No matter what color you choose, prepping the walls with primer is essential in every room, according to Vanessa Dasilva, owner and painter at Femmy by Design Corporation. Glossier finishes and darker colors show every imperfection and primer helps prevent this. Professionals have more experience with caulking, sanding baseboards and filling in imperfections so that your walls, once painted, have a smooth finish and even texture. Dasilva notes that a contract with a painter should specify the brand of paint that will be used, the number of coats (at least two), the preparation that will be done to the walls and how existing furniture in the room will be covered. In addition, the homeowner should verify that the painter is licensed and insured and request a timeline for the project’s completion.

Overall Quality and Testing Color

Paints vary in cost but before you think of choosing the most economical, buyer beware, advises Kimberly Scappaticci, the design director at Wallauer’s in North White Plains. While big box stores offer bargain paints, a higher-quality premium paint offers better coverage and durability.

Once you’ve finalized your options, Scappaticci suggests buying several samples and paint them on a white board.

Then move the board around the room and place it on different walls to see how sunlight or shadows affect the overall color. “If you are painting a sample over an existing color, then you aren’t going to get a true representation of that color,” explains Scappaticci.

“At the end of the day you are moving into your new house. It’s your sanctuary – you have to like the colors and you have to be comfortable,” sums up Feifer.

Stacey Pfeffer is a freelance writer based in Chappaqua, N.Y.