Understanding Masstones and Undertones

Picking paint for any room in your home can seem like a daunting task.  You take a few samples, test them on the wall and you find yourself staring wondering where your color picks went wrong.  We’ve all been there.  Without a basic understanding of masstones and undertones, it is easy to get tricked when purchasing paint for your home.

Paint is made by mixing two or more colors together, the color will have both a masstone and an undertone.  A masstone identifies what the color is at first glance, red, blue, green and so forth.  The undertones are usually hidden from plain sight and can take a bit more effort to identify.  For example, grey has either blue, green or even purple undertones.  The closer the undertone is to the masstone, the truer the color will appear.

Take white for example.  If you’re looking at white by itself, it will most likely just look white.  But if you put it next to pure white, you will see how it differs through green, or pink, or blue undertones.  This trick can apply to any color.  If you’re looking at hues of yellow, place the color swatch next to true yellow and the undertones will reveal itself.

Colors will look totally different depending on how much and what type of light used in a room.  Natural light vs. electric light plays a role in how undertones will be affected.  Test the colors where the sun hits the wall and watch how the paint changes as the sun rises and sets.  If you aren’t happy you can change the colors you’ve chosen.  Another trick is to try changing the lightbulbs if the room doesn’t receive much natural light.

To create a successful color scheme within your home its important to understand and identify the undertone of each paint color and selecting colors that work harmoniously.  For example, coordinating the paint on your walls to the carpet on your floors.  Undertones can also be used to emphasize or downplay elements within the home.  Painting a nursery pink without screaming ‘pink’ can be done by selecting a white or a gray that has an undertone of true pink.

Working with an interior decorator can help you identify which color schemes work best for the style you are going for.  The Vintage Bee Hive is more than happy to help if you have additional questions, get in touch with us!

Author: vintagebeehive

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