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Here’s How Undertones Make a Great Impact on Your Color Scheme

Have you ever found yourself stopping midway through painting a room wondering how the color you chose looks so different? That is more than likely due to mismatched undertones. When it comes to paint, the undertones are what matter.

If you don’t want to deal with the headache of worrying about paint colors and undertones, you might try hiring painters in Canton, Georgia who can make the process painless. However, if you decide to tackle the project yourself, here’s some information on undertones that might help when selecting paint colors.

Mass Tone Versus Undertone

Every color has a mass tone and an undertone. The mass tone is what you see first. The closer the undertone is to the mass tone, the better the color will appear.

When two or more colors are mixed together, the undertone appears through the exact proportion of color used. For example, if you’re creating a gray, and the color formula has a little blue in it, then it will have a blue undertone. This is why it can be so challenging when picking neutral colors.

What’s the Secret?

Undertones are like secret codes. Once you’re able to crack them, you’ll be able to pick any paint color easily. It will become common knowledge that picking a gray paint with a white undertone for interior painting would normally be fine, but if the white you choose had a pink undertone your plan might backfire.

Neutral colors can be difficult because they can have an undertone of any color. Beige usually has undertones that are green, yellow, orange, and pink. While gray has undertones of blue, green, or purple.

How to See Undertones

Spread the paint

Put some paint on a white sheet of paper. Take your paint brush and spread the paint very thinly until you can see through it. This allows you to better detect the paint’s undertone.

Compare to other shades

Look at different shades of the same color next to one another. You’ll quickly see that even though they are all a part of the same color family, their undertones are very different.

Compare to other colors

Take your paint and compare it to other colors to see if you see any undertones coming through.  Gray will become more obvious when you’re comparing it to warm colors like red, orange, and yellow.

What to Consider


Lighting should always be considered when choosing color for a room. Think about how much natural light the room gets. This has a big effect on the undertones that will come through the paint.

Usually, north-facing rooms natural light will be bluish and cool. Lighter colors will look tamed, while bolder colors will pop. South-facing rooms will look better with lighter colors because they will glow.

When it comes to artificial light, keep the following in mind:

  • Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have both warm and cool options.
  • Halogens resemble natural light, making colors look more vivid.
  • Fluorescents are great for blue and green rooms to give off cool lighting.


Color temperature is another aspect of determining paint undertones. Warm colors usually have orange, red, or yellow undertones, and cool colors usually have green, blue, or purple. You’ll also what to consider how color affects the room’s mood. Warm colors generate a cozy atmosphere, and cool colors offer a calming environment.


Colors look different when they are next to other hues. White will look white on the wall if it’s by itself, but if it’s next to a pure white, then you may be able to spot the undertone. When selecting your paint, put the sample next to a pure example of the color. Choosing colors and undertones that best suit your home can be very challenging. However, the professionals at J. Stevens Painting have been doing this for decades and can help you through the process. Contact us today and we’ll get you a free estimate!

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