How to tone paint - guide to achieving the perfect wall colour

(Ida who mixes wall paint for our makeover at Nailit. Read more about the interior design project in this article )

Find the right wall color

The question ' what color code is this? '' is one of the most frequently asked questions on our Instagram profile - and we understand that. When it comes to choosing a new color for your home, you want to be sure of a great result. This is the reason why we often tint our paint ourselves, as it makes it easier to approximate the perfect color. For the same reason, it unfortunately also means that we often do not give you a real color code. Instead, we have prepared a do-it-yourself guide on how to tone paint, so that hopefully you can still achieve the perfect wall color in your home.

Read along below and find inspiration for how you can adapt colors in the shades you want.

Main rules for tinting paint

  • Perhaps the most important rule: “ Tone the color over many rounds! " – if you've put too much paint in, it's next to impossible to go back to the previous tone. If, for example, you've got it too dark, you'll need an absurd amount of white to make it lighter. So take small steps at a time.

  • In relation to the above: " Test possibly a smaller batch before you mix the big bucket ”. If you haven't tried it before, you can take some in a small cup and mix a little in. Here you can sense how the color develops if you mix different colors.

  • " Buy a few cheap basic colors to tone with " (the basic colors are yellow, blue and red - and then just buy a black one too). My experience is that toning the color with some cheap Søstrene Grene colors does not destroy the chosen gloss. It doesn't take much to tone it down.

  • Buy the big bucket of paint in a color similar to the color you want ”, and then you can customize it afterwards. It's immediately a bigger project if you have to mix the desired color from an entire bucket of white paint - that's not to say that it can't be done.

  • " Let the paint dry before you assess the colour! " Bring a blow dryer with you if you don't want to wait - the fact is that you can only assess the color when it's dry. It will be quite a few tones darker.

  • It must be darker than you think ”. When you test the color on a small area of ​​a white wall, it will look very dark because it is in stark contrast to the white color. When the color comes out on an entire wall - or in an entire room - it will appear brighter than on the small area where you are testing.

  • Mix it properly! ” – it's such a shame if you start out with the perfect color, which gets lighter and lighter on the wall, because you haven't mixed it properly at the bottom of the bucket. It requires a few minutes of good stirring!

  • " Mix enough paint! " – if you need to paint a meter of your wall and have run out of your home-mixed paint, good advice is suddenly expensive. It's impossible to hit the same note again. You simply have to have enough in the first place :0)

Tips for tinting paint

Now you're probably thinking that the below looks super technical - but don't be intimidated! It is quite clear.

  • Use complementary contrasts! And what's that? You can see the complementary contrasts of the different colors on the wheel below.
  • Blue's complementary contrast is e.g. orange (ie yellow and red mixed together).
  • Green's complementary contrast is red, and yellow's is purple. Knowing this makes it easier for you to tone your color.

Do you want a more greyish/cracked colour? Add its complimentary contrast color + possibly a little black.

  • Should your blue be more muted/grayish? Add a little yellow and red + possibly a little black.
  • Should the green be more muted/greyish? Look again at the color wheel - add red + possibly a little black.
  • And so on and so on …

Do you want more movement in your color? Then it is a little easier to calculate. A pink that is a little too weak should of course have a little more red, and if you want it more 'salmon-coloured' or beige', you can add a little yellow.

The best tip: try your hand at a small portion. If you can't see the big color guide, you can go a long way by testing a little differently before you put it in the big bucket .

"Not everything can be done" - know your limitations when you tone:

If you have a very dark base that you want light, there is no point in starting to put white paint into the dark base. Instead, buy a white paint that you slowly and gently put the dark base over. You will find that very little of the dark paint is needed before anything happens.

I want an intense ultramarine blue or a screaming pink – it's not going to happen this way. Then you have to go out and get hold of some pigment, and here I would probably recommend that you buy the exact color from the start. You cannot 'tone' yourself to the intense colours.

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