Why Nate Berkus Recommends Waiting A Day Before Committing To A Paint Shade

Paint is one of the easiest ways to transform a home's interior, but it can also be a major commitment. Choosing the perfect shade of paint can be overwhelming because of the many options available and the desire to ensure a hue looks good in the space. That's why interior designer Nate Berkus recommends that people pause before painting an entire room. "Experiment with a couple of color options and live with them for a day or two," Nate Berkus tells Home and Gardens. On top of pausing between painting your sample and deciding on the final one, Berkus suggests swatching a couple of colors on the wall.

Having a few swatches will allow you to see the nuances in different shades of paint and choose the one that best fits the room and your interior style. It's a good idea to narrow down the options to a color family and then choose three to five colors to sample. The reduction provides you with fewer options, so you don't become overwhelmed with choice paralysis. Waiting a day not only gives you some time to make your decision but also allows you to see how the color looks throughout the day. Different kinds of lighting, both natural and artificial, can affect the way paint appears. You may love a color in the natural morning sunlight but dislike how it looks with the light coming from your table lamps in the evening.

Watch the sunlight throughout the day

For many people, their prioritized factors are whether they like a paint color and if it will match the rest of their decor. However, lighting plays a role in how paint looks in the room."I recommend gathering swatches of paint, putting them on the wall in the actual room you'll be painting, and watching how their hue evolves throughout the day," Jeremiah Brent says, agreeing with Nate Berkus in an interview with Home and Gardens. Natural light can make a color look different at various points throughout the day, so a color may appear to change from morning to night. Similarly, the direction a window is facing can make all the difference.

South-facing windows, for example, receive more direct sunlight, so these spaces will be brightly illuminated. On the other hand, north-facing windows receive much more consistent indirect light, which may contribute to a warmly illuminated but slightly darker space. Rooms with east-facing windows receive strong sunlight in the morning, while west-facing rooms receive strong light in the afternoon. So, east-facing rooms may have dimmer colors in the afternoon, and west-facing rooms may be darker in the morning.

Artificial lighting can also impact how you perceive the color on the walls, depending on the bulb's color. Whether a light bulb gives off a cool or warm tone can either intensify or dull a paint color. Watch the way color changes throughout the day before making a final decision.

Test the paint for a few days

When testing paint for a room, you want to get the most accurate look at the color. To do this, you'll want to paint a swatch that is at least 1-foot-by-1-foot. The larger the area, the easier it is to imagine it covering an entire wall. You should also apply two coats to ensure you're getting an accurate portrayal of the color. Some paints need multiple coats to get the full effect, especially if it's a thinner formula. 

Finally, you should paint swatches of the same product on multiple walls. Because light can illuminate parts of a room differently, you want to test how the color looks throughout, including the dimmest and most illuminated parts of the room. Take note of how light does or does not hit the paint on each wall at different times of the day. During these test days, you can also see how well the paint pairs with the furniture and decor pieces. Hold up picture frames, throw pillows, or compare the samples to colors in the area rug. 

Your opinion may also change from the time you pick out the samples to when you make the final choice. Nate Berkus' suggestion to live with a color can be very literal. Do you like walking past that color every day? Does it make you feel calm or energized the way you expected? Those few days can make you feel more confident in your final decision.