Ready to Paint a Room? 7 Mistakes You Don't Want to Make

There's power in paint. When done correctly, a fresh coat of paint will make a room feel clean, cozy, and bright. But a bad paint decision can make a room feel small, busy, or drab. Choosing the right paint color now becomes especially important when you eventually decide sell your home; as some paint colors can turn off potential home buyers, while others can add value. Read on for common mistakes people make when choosing interior paint colors and how to avoid making them yourself. Paint on!

Mistake #1: Picking colors based on dream furniture, not real furniture
Interior design magazines are packed with photos of vibrant-colored walls, often paired with a perfectly matching sofa and accessories. And that's the key with bright colors; you have to consider all of the pieces in a space, including the carpet, sofa, curtains, and area rugs, to find a color that ties them all together. Don't get your heart set on a color you see in a magazine if you can't afford to update all of your furniture to go with it.


Mistake #2: Going for the look, not the lifestyle
All-white kitchens, which gained popularity in the '90s, are coming back in a big way (thankfully, floral furniture isn't). While stark white can make a kitchen look airy and bright, it can also be a pain to keep clean. And constantly erasing marinara sauce splatters on all-white walls and cabinets would bring out the OCD in any of us. The same is true of all-white furniture. Even the best quality fabrics can't fight off an onslaught of muddy paws or purple frosting. Don't choose paint that looks best with white furniture if that's not a good fit for your lifestyle.

Mistake #3: Going overboard with accent walls
Accent walls have been the trend for the past five years, but interior designers have had enough. "Accent walls are a no-no. They are usually severe and distracting. If you are dead set on having one, try a tone that's only two or three shades different from the other walls, and consider doing a semi gloss finish for added contrast," says Maria Thompson, a designer at Tom Delavan interior design firm in New York.

Mistake #4: White washing everything
Radiant Orchid is officially Pantone's color of the year, but that doesn't mean you should rush out to paint your living room purple. While fashionistas may fawn over the color-of-the-moment, it's best to stick to neutral colors neutral shades like cream, gray, and beige are a good choice, but you should avoid stark white. When all the walls are white and the trim is white, it can make the room appear smaller and have a lack of warmth. White trim with a contrasting color helps to outline your walls and define the space.

Mistake #5: Picking hues that are too bright
On the swatch, a color may appear to be too dark, but the light of the room will brighten it, and thus, paint often looks much brighter when it's on an entire wall. Colors that are less saturated, with gray mixed in (often called "muddier") will look more like the hue you were going for. When in doubt, choose a shade that is two hues darker than the one you think you want.

Mistake #6: Taking DIY too far

Sites like Pinterest are full of tips on how to paint anything from chevron stripes to ombre colors to chalkboard walls. In general it's best to avoid these trendy design projects if you're considering selling your home as they won't appeal to everyone. But if you really think a certain will spruce up a room, don't take the plunge without practice. Try it out on large poster board first and e sure to test the way the tape peels off and how the paint dries. If you do decide to sell your home, make sure to leave plenty of time to repaint the room if your project becomes a Pinterest Fail.

Mistake #7: Forgetting the finish
A paint's finish can have a dramatic effect on the final look and feel of the room. Finishes range from flat to matte to high gloss so when purchasing paint, be sure to ask the pros what kind of finish the paint has, and how that will affect the overall look. The decision will make a difference.

Redfin is a technology-powered real estate brokerage with agents in 22 major metros nationwide. Redfin agents have seen it all while touring homes with clients, and have witnessed how interior design choices – both good and bad – can affect a buyer's decision. For more home design and staging tips, visit the Redfin Blog.