Paint stores will not like this post; however the recycling depot will. Did you know that 40% of paint purchased ends up being the wrong colour? I would much rather that you hired me to pick the right colour in the first place (of course 🙂 or that you go back to the paint store to tweak it if it does end up the wrong colour. So, can your paint gallon be saved? Read on to find out:
1. It’s way too bright and clean. If it screams laundry room (my favourite expression for loud and bright colour) yes. The paint store can tone it down or ‘muddy’ it. That’s the easiest fix.
Everyone seems to pick a too-bright Yellow at some point (I did too the first time I picked one), like in the image shown above. Unless you live in Miami (which is where this entry is), a yellow this bright might be all wrong in your house.
This is the easiest mistake to tweak at the paint store (if you still want yellow of course) all they have to do is tone it down (which starts by adding the complement purple), so it doesn’t have to go to the landfill. And/or if the pink you’ve chosen starts looking too much like bubblegum or the green, too minty, blue too baby, purple too girly, orange too peachy. . . well you get my point, it’s still possible to save it at this stage.
2. Warmer or cooler. See the green (below)? If you want it to be more yellowy/green, or more of a blue/green? Or if the yellow you picked is too green, you can add more orange to make it warmer, in other words, you can go warmer or cooler on the colour wheel (unless it’s already a murky gray colour, at that stage, it’s too late to do anything to it, it’s got too much gray or black in it) Also, if the colour is already dark, it’s better to start again, which leads me to my next point. . .
3. Lighter or Darker. If it’s too light, you can make it darker but only as dark as the base you have purchased. Said another way, if you have picked a pale colour to begin with, it has been mixed in a 1 base or 2 base gallon of paint. A darker colour will have been mixed in a 3 or 4 base colour, therefore there is a limit to how much more colourant can be added to your gallon of paint–so within reason–it can go darker. If the colour is too dark or gray to begin with, then you need to start again. You could add white paint to it, but that I would try on your own at home. The paint store won’t help you there, it’s too hard to manage the actual colour at that point.
My final tip: make sure you go back to the paint store where you originally bought the paint—this seems obvious, but it may not be to some.
And, don’t expect them to work miracles however, if it’s not too far off what you want already, there’s hope.
If you would like to schedule a Colour and Design consultation with Maria Killam in the Lower Mainland, please call 604.318.9725 or for questions on on-line consultations email me at, [email protected]
Maria Killam is an acclaimed decorator, stylist, and a leading authority on colour. Known for her revolutionary Killam Colour System™ and her innovative Understanding Undertones® Neutral Colour Wheel, she's also an educator, sharing her expertise and insights on all things colour along with her timeless design aesthetic.
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