If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you know we’re deep in our entryway renovation (which has been two years in the making!) and we’re finally to the fun part… paint. This is the first time we’ve hired professional painters and I really wanted to get the colors just perfect. It’s a big expense, the design plan includes painted stripes, and it’s the room in our home with the most wall space. When swatching, I decided to test some paint percentages for a monochromatic look and immediately received questions. This blog post contains all the answers… everything you need to know about using and ordering paint color percentages, as well as an easy chart showing how it works!
If you missed our entryway renovation before images and design plan, be sure to check that out. My last entryway renovation update covered millwork & electrical, which I shared back in October. Things have certainly evolved since then, and I’ll be sharing the big reveal this spring! The painters are wrapping up this week, but onto all things paint color percentages… let’s dive into how I picked the paint colors.
What Adjusting the Percentage Does To A Paint Color
Adjusting the paint color percent changes the value of the color. What does value mean? It describes the overall intensity of a color, referring to how light or dark a swatch is. If you’d like to adjust the lightness or darkness of a paint color, this is where using percentages comes in handy!
Examples of How Paint Color Percentage Works
How exactly do paint color percentages work? A paint at 75% means only 75% of the paint formula will go into the paint can. The remaining 25% is the base color (usually neutral white or off white). Here’s an example using Benjamin Moore’s Royal Silk… the true swatch is in the center (at 100%).
The painted versions of Royal Silk are pictured below on my wall (100%, 125%, and 150%). Paint color percentages typically work in 25% increments, so keep that in mind when ordering or experimenting with swatches.
When To Use a Percentage
When would you need to use a percentage of a paint color? If you’re trying to achieve a monochromatic aesthetic, tonal look, are color blocking, are painting contrast trim, or just want a variation of a color you love. It’s an easy way to adjust a swatch, if you like a color but need it to be a touch darker or lighter. In the case of my entryway, I was testing percentages for monochromatic color blocked stripes.
How to Order a Paint Color Percentage
Speciality paint retailers (Sherwin-Williams, Benjamin Moore, Farrow & Ball, etc) will know exactly what you’re asking for. Choose your color and ask, “I’d like a gallon of Royal Silk at 125%.” Since percentages don’t have individual swatches, it’s very important to get a sample pot. I highly recommend testing paint before you fully commit!
Check out this post for help on choosing the perfect paint color! I think it’s also important to remember a paint color that looks good in my home, will look totally different in yours. Don’t choose colors based on a swatch that looked good in someone else’s space. It can also vary from room to room. Paint absorbs, reflects, and changes depending on the lighting and its surroundings… that’s why swatching is super important!
Honestly, no… but I’d say it depends on where you were ordering the paint from. I’ve found specialty paint stores to be more knowledgable than big box home improvement retailers. If you’re ordering paint from Benjamin Moore or Sherwin-Williams, they’ll definitely know how to mix paint percentages. Whereas, I could see it being more of an anomaly at places like Lowe’s or Home Depot, depending on who is behind the paint counter.
Designers and trade members (architects, builders, etc) have access to the larger fan decks, but you can usually find them online to buy from places like Amazon or Ebay. Some may be outdated by a year or so, but most of the colors remain the same and it’s a worthy investment. You can also grab loose swatches from your local paint store! Those are especially helpful when pulling together physical interior design mood boards.
I’d skim coat over it! Check out this post on how to achieve perfectly smooth walls, a skim coating tutorial. If that sounds like too much work, opt for a flat or eggshell finish as opposed to semigloss or gloss, which can reflect the texture and accentuate it.
I’ve shared many posts on painting, choosing a color, and my favorite swatches… give the following a read, if you’ve missed any of these! I hope they’re equally as helpful.
- Favorite Benjamin Moore Paint Swatches
- Color Matching Our Kitchen Cabinets (+Painting Tips)
- 10 Painting Tips for Cutting In
- Tips for a Durable, Professional Looking Spray Paint Finish
- 10 Pro Painting Tips
- Timeless Paint Colors and Favorite Pairings
- How to Paint a Door
- Favorite Paint Swatches from the Sherwin-Williams Designer Deck
- Designer Trick : Choosing the Perfect Paint Color
- My Favorite Green Paint Colors
- The Best Spray Paint Colors
I hope this post answered all of your questions about how paint percentages work. Feel free to ask more questions in the comment section below- I’m here to help! I’m really looking forward to sharing our finished entryway renovation with you… it’s looking SO good! Have a great week, friends.