One of the most frequent questions I get is “What color should I paint this?” Unfortunately the answer is never that simple. There are several factors that go into my color selections, so I thought I’d share my thought processes when choosing furniture paint colors.
1. Will you be painting to keep or painting to sell?
Every market is different, certain colors sell better in some geographic areas than others. Try to stay in touch with design trends. Pinterest can be helpful, browsing home decor stores, watch what pieces are available in your area and how quickly they sell.
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2. If you are painting to keep, what decor is in the room it will be in?
Do you have bedding, artwork, or other accessories that will be in the room with your piece? Choose an inspiration piece that you love, that will be in the room, and pull color inspiration from there.
Much of my work is custom orders for a client. We usually start by exchanging photos of their decor, this helps me see their style and decorating taste. Then we exchange photos of furniture they like. I do my best work when given basic direction, then given creative freedom from there.
3. What finishes have you done lately?
It can get monotonous to paint the same finishes and colors repetitively. When choosing furniture paint colors, I look at my previously painted portfolio and look for colors I haven’t done in a while. This helps keep my work fresh and diverse. Occasionally I go to the paint department at my local hardware store and grab paint chips that are different colors for me to mix and try.
4. Is there a new technique you are wanting to try?
Tired of blending, wanna go boho? If there is a technique you are wanting to try, keep that in mind when choosing furniture paint colors.
5. Take cues from the style of your furniture piece
The style of your furniture will help give color direction. I like softer, more muted tones on curvy pieces like French provincial, but prefer bold, basic colors on clean lines of mid century. Look at the vibe your piece is giving off, is it soft and feminine or clean and masculine?
6. Look for inspiration in everything around you
My private inspiration board in Pinterest is full of images of everything…except furniture! I save canvas art, nature photos, fashion photos, anything that catches my eye and refer back to those for color and technique inspiration. Look for textures, layers, all of those are tips on how colors will work together.
7. Do you have a transfer or decoupage paper you plan to incorporate?
The background color for your transfer or decoupage should compliment the image itself. Pull complimentary colors that showcase your design or pull colors from the image itself.
8. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery
If you are stuck on colors choices, look for similar pieces done by other artists that inspire you. I always appreciate credit when reproducing one of my finishes, but otherwise welcome seeing different versions.
9. Pinterest. Pinterest. Pinterest
If you don’t have a Pinterest account, get one. Its a rabbit hole of inspiration. You are bound to leave overflowing with color ideas and probably a few dozen new dessert recipes too.
10. Post on social media for help
There are public forums dedicated just to talking paint colors. Chalk Mineral Paint Enthusiasts and World of Chalk Paint are 2 examples of Facebook groups just for avid furniture painters. Talk about a creative mind collective! Draw on the expertise of others and don’t be afraid to post a pic of your piece and the direction you are thinking. The paint world is a helpful one, the first post can be nerve racking, but after that you’ll know you are in good company.
You can also check out my blog all about My Favorite 3 Color Blends for more inspiration to help you in choosing furniture paint colors.
As you can see, these decisions don’t happen spontaneously. We often say a piece “speaks” to us, but in reality, our brains are mulling over all these factors in making a color decision. Its not so much that the furniture “speaks”, but rather that we carry on a long, involved conversation, over a cup of coffee and brunch 😉