How to Choose a Paint Color


We know at General Contractors Tulsa, picking a paint color for your house can be extremely difficult and overwhelming. You walk into The Home Depot or Lowe’s and you are hit with a wall full of every shade, tint, and tone of color imaginable. Did you know you could have so many options just based off of three primary colors; red, blue, and yellow? General Contractors Tulsa didn’t either until we learned about the color wheel, color schemes, and a few tips and tricks regarding how colors work. General Contractors Tulsa is here to provide three steps you can take to narrow down your choices. Before we get into the process, General Contractors Tulsa wants to list the following disclaimers regarding choosing paint colors for your home:

  1. Every paint color looks different in every room. There is no cookie cutter paint color that will look good in every room. Every piece of furniture, the shape of the room, the windows, low or high ceilings, will all affect how the light is dispersed throughout the room, in turn affecting the paint color.
  2. Get paint samples! Paint chips give us options to choose from and help us narrow things down BUT they are not the color! We take the paint chips to get samples we then try in the room. And figure out the color you want from there.
  3. Color is a personal choice. It’s not about the latest design trends, it’s about you. General Contractors Tulsa believes the colors you choose to put on the wall should reflect the feeling that you want to evoke in the house. Do you want fun and quirky? Maybe lime green or hot pink is the best choice. Do you want drama? Maybe a deep navy, burgundy, or moody green is a good option. Minimalist? Perhaps a neutral color palette is the best choice. Regardless of the options, do what makes you happy.

Now that General Contractors Tulsa has that out of the way, let’s move to the 3 steps you need to take to help narrow down your color choice(s).

  1. Build a base palette. This means figuring out what colors are dominant in your room. To do this, we at General Contractors Tulsa recommend you look at the floors, furniture, and room décor you have throughout the room. Take notice of any repeating colors or colors that stand out.
  2. Pinterest is a wonderful option for inspiration! Pinterest can be a bit overwhelming but the algorithm does a fairly good job at providing pins that catch the eye and also reflect your style. When using pinterest as inspiration General Contractors Tulsa suggests searching  for the feeling you want to invoke in your room; calming, vibrant, moody, rich, luxurious, bohemian, eclectic. Name it and more than likely you will find it. Once you have found  a picture that resonates with you, General Contractors Tulsa suggests analyzing the photo and picking out the dominant colors from the picture. Then, and only then do you try to match the  colors in the picture to the paint chip(s) you find at Home Depot or Lowes. Not only does this help narrow down your style but we at General Contractors Tulsa know that it helps train your mind to see color palettes.
  3. Bring in paint samples and paint them on the walls in your house. Paint colors change completely depending on the lighting in the room and what reflects off of it and what furniture is around it.  General Contractors Tulsa suggests when looking at colors you should paint them on the wall and let them sit for a few days. This will allow you to see the color throughout all times of day when the light is changing which will affect the color you see on the wall. When painting these samples, paint squares and label with paint name initials. If you need to write down the paint initials along with their names write them down wherever you keep notes. General Contractors Tulsa does this just in case there are duplicates or we can’t remember what a particular one is called. It just saves everyone time and we always love when things are organized.


Now that we have discussed how to go about choosing colors for a home let’s delve even deeper into the world of color and talk about color theory.  Color theory is a set of rules and guidelines used in the world of art and design to describe how best to use color. General Contractors Tulsa will start off with the basic colors, also known as primary colors: red, yellow, and blue. Then we have our bonus colors, black and white; we will explain more of what they do later.  With these 5 basic colors General Contractors Tulsa can make any color within the color wheel. From these primary colors we can mix them to create our secondary colors; blue and yellow make green, blue and red make violet, and yellow and red make orange. This is the basic color wheel you would have seen in elementary school art class. After secondary colors we have the tertiary colors. Tertiary colors are made exactly how the secondary colors are made. However, tertiary colors tend to be pretty bright and intense, think lime green, bright orange, magenta, or periwinkle. Now that General Contractors Tulsa has covered the three basic levels of the color wheel, let’s talk about saturation.


Saturation has to do with how intense a color is. We at General Contractors Tulsa love a good bold color. Starting from the beginning, every color has a base color. Let’s say you are starting with red, violet, or green and you add black, white, or grey (a mixture of white and black), the more desaturated a color becomes. Think of an old painting or a photograph. The colors in the painting or photograph were more than likely much more vibrant at the original time of the creation than they would be 50 to 100 years from then. The colors would have faded and have more of a dull appearance. This is called desaturation.  General Contractors Tulsa likes painting homes in desaturated colors! General Contractors Tulsa likes it because, when putting a desaturated color on the wall it becomes more saturated making it appear more vibrant on the wall than on the paint chip.  Now let’s discuss the difference between a “tint”, a “shade”, and a “tone”.  A “tint” happens to a color when you add more and more white. Doing this causes the color to get lighter. A “shade” happens when you add more black and the color becomes darker.  A “tone” happens when you add some mixture of black and white or grey. General Contractors Tulsa suggests looking at the entire range of saturation for a color before you decide which you would like in your home. Some colors look better desaturated and others can become less appealing the more desaturated it becomes. 


The last thing to consider when painting your house is to look at color schemes. Color schemes are general rules for the color wheel that will give you color combinations that work well together. They can help highlight a trait in a room you would like or take away from something you don’t like. General Contractors Tulsa loves color schemes because it’s basically a formula you can follow to always have color combinations that work. General Contractors Tulsa will briefly discuss five basic color schemes and how they work. The most simple and currently very popular color scheme is monochromatic. Monochromatic means there is one color in multiple shades of that one color. As long as the color shades (adding white or black) are in the same tone (adding grey, aka a combination of black and white), they will work beautifully together. 

Analogous color schemes are a combination of colors that are next to one another on the color wheel.  Complimentary color schemes. Complimentary colors stand directly across from one another on the color wheel: Red and green, blue and orange, yellow and violet. Complimentary colors will offset each other and really make the other color pop. If you want to get more complex you could do a split complimentary color scheme. This for example, takes red and instead of pairing it with green it would pair with the tertiary colors, blue green and yellow green. It has the basis of a complimentary color scheme because the base color has the green but by adding that third color it  makes for a more dynamic and interesting room. You can do single or double split complimentary  schemes and they are both created the same way. Triadic color schemes are colors that are equally spaced apart on the color wheel. Think red, blue, yellow, or your secondary colors; green, violet, and orange. It even works with the tertiary colors; blue green, red violet, and yellow orange. 

Anytime you make a color scheme more complex you are just adding more interest and drama to a room. If you feel your room is lacking, General Contractors Tulsa suggests you look at what you already have and see if you can add a color scheme in to really make it pop.