How to Choose the Perfect Paint Color

In my opinion, the experience of picking paint colors can be similar to the experience of buying a new house or shopping for a new car.

The excitement you initially feel about all of the wonderful and fun possibilities can be quickly shattered by the reality of how difficult it is to choose the perfect one (color, house, car).

And then someone swoops in and places a better offer on your dream house and…wait, we’re talking about paint. Right.

Over the years I’ve done my fair share of painting. Before we moved into our current home, I painted every room (some more than once).  There was the Pepto Bismol-colored dining room which after 8 attempts, finally morphed into the pumpkin-colored dining room of my dreams.

There was the “chocolate”-colored study which looked like a cardboard box covered in mud.

And there was the beautiful taupe color I’d searched high and low for only to learn that when it covered my walls…it was really just white.

And the color I chose for my first baby’s nursery…don’t even get me started.   It. Was. Horrible.

Since then, I’ve gained more experience and gotten a little smarter.

Here are a few tricks I learned along the way to ensure you pick the perfect color:

  1. If you’re coordinating the wall paint with an existing print (i.e. bedding, curtains, rug), select the color from the background of the print. Use the brighter, bolder tones for accents throughout the room.
  2. To narrow down your choices when looking at paint chips in the paint store, use clues about the underlying tones of different shades from the full sample strip of coordinating colors. You can tell which direction the family of colors is headed by looking at the darkest shades. (i.e. Does the taupe you’re eyeing move toward blue, or green, or yellow?)
  3. When you’ve selected a handful of paint chips, bring them home to view them in the actual room to see how they look in the room’s light. This will help you narrow down your selection even further.
  4. Purchase paint samples of your finalists and paint a white posterboard with each color. I like to test 3 colors at once to save time. If possible, paint one wall in the room white so your sample doesn’t reflect the existing color and give you an inaccurate presentation of what it’ll look like in the room.
  5. Hold the posterboard next to the trim color.  Make sure to look at your sample colors during different times of the day to see what they will look like in different lights.
  6. Once you’ve selected your final (this term can be used loosely) color, paint the room. Remember to ask for information at the store about stain-killing primers (great it you’re covering a bold color) as well as low-odor and washable paints.
  7. Let the paint dry and put some furniture, flooring and fabrics in the room so you can see how the color harmonizes with your décor. Be sure to give yourself a couple of days to get use to it (kind of like a when you try a new color on your toes).
  8. Paint is the least expensive décor element to change, so if the color you chose is not working…change it.

I hope this helps! We’d love to hear any advice you have with respect to picking wall paint colors!

2 thoughts on “How to Choose the Perfect Paint Color

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  2. The color that you will pick out should complement that entire theme of the room. There are non-toxic, eco-friendly paint products these days, just ask your contractor.
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