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Choosing colours can be one of the most difficult aspects of any paint project. Many homeowners worry they are not going to like the colours they have selected. Understanding colour systems and a few simple terms relating to colour can help homeowners make better colour decisions. Look at the colour wheel and keep it mind or refer back to it when reading the information below.

Primary colours are the pigment colours that all of the other colours are made from. These colours are blue, red, and yellow.

Secondary colours are two primary colours mixed together.

Tertiary colours are a primary colour and a secondary colour mixed together.

colour Families are groups of colours that are made from the same colours.

Neutral colours are gray , white, and black, that contain no other identifiable colours.

Monochromatic colours on the wheel are one basic colour (hue), but have different values (lightness (tints) or darkness (shades).

Adjacent colours combine two or more colours located next to each other.

Complementary colours are opposite each other. Use a subtle colour and a dominate colour to avoid clashing.
Triad colours are three colours that are used together, with one being the dominant colour and the others being accent colours.

Using the colour wheel and mixing various colours together can be a good starting point. However, most people will select colours for an interior room from fabrics that may already exist in furniture and window treatments. Idea's for exterior colours can be drawn from the colours in roofing shingles, and brick.

Itís always best to buy a small amount of a paint and try it out to see if that is the most desirable, no matter how many colours are being considered. Those small colour chips can sometimes be difficult to judge. Some colours can be bought in a quart while others will cost a gallon if the colour is undesirable.

Light colours make a room, or the exterior of a house, appear larger while dark colours will have the opposite affect. Lighting, and especially direct sunlight, will affect colour. Look at the samples in the room where the colours will be used to get a better idea of how the colour will look.

Consider some other important facts when selecting colours. Darker or more dramatic coloured paints contain less titanium (see Primers And Paints) and may take multiple coats to cover. If applied incorrectly, Hatbanding (see Paint Failures) will appear. Darker colours are extremely difficult to touch up, and like sheen finishes will show touchup marks.