How to select the perfect color palettes for your home!

If you’ve ever found yourself staring at a freshly painted room and wondering where your color selections went wrong???? You may be the victim of mismatched undertones. Below is a few up basics tips to consider regarding undertones and some tips on how to use them to create beautiful color combinations.

Mass tone vs. undertone.

Whenever a color is made by mixing two or more colors together, that color will have both a mass tone and an undertone. The mass tone is what you see first; it’s what tells you the color is red, blue, green and so forth. The closer the undertone is to the mass tone, the truer the color will appear. So a true red will have a mass tone and undertone that are very similar, but magenta will have a blue undertone, while poppy will have an orange undertone.

Below are some things to consider before selecting your paint color. It is just as important to understand the undertones in the colors, neutrals and whites, as it is to understand the lighting of the room and the colors in your textiles (fabrics, rugs etc.) that will play on your paint color.

Don’t look at colors in isolation. If you’re just looking at a white by itself, it will probably just look white. But put it next to a pure white and you’ll see how it differs — the green or pink or blue undertone will show up in comparison. You can use this trick with any color: Just put the color you’re considering next to a pure example of that color (if you don’t have one handy, use a color wheel); the undertone will quickly reveal itself. Another option that works particularly well with light neutrals and white- Look at the mid-to-darker colors on a let-down strip — it will be much easier to identify the undertone than the paler colors at the top.

Consider color temperature. Warm colors typically have undertones that are orange, yellow, or red, while cool colors have undertones that are green, blue, or purple. If you don’t want to analyze the undertone too intently, just figure out if the color looks warm or cool to you, and what kind of mood you want your space to have. Warm colors tend to create an atmosphere that’s cozy or energetic, and cool colors often appear fresh and soothing.

Look at the lighting. How much and what type of natural light a room gets can have a big effect on the undertones that come out of a color. Blue northern light will emphasize blue undertones; golden southern light will make colors appear creamier. Electric light is equally important. “Colors will look totally different under yellow incandescent light versus green fluorescent light.

Strike a balance — or don’t. Common decorating advice is to balance out warm and cool elements in a room. But there are no hard and fast rules. If I were choosing paint colors for a Tuscan style house with a lot of warm wood tones, I’d probably pick a cool paint color like grey/blue to balance all that warmth. But someone else might want something like gold, to really emphasize it.

Here at USI, we love helping guide our client towards smart color decisions, but should you decide to venture on your own, we hope these little tricks of trade help you in your next painting project.

Happy Painting-