How to Pick the Perfect Paint Color

how to pick the perfect paint color, picking paint colors, steps to pick paint colors, home decor, interior design, paint colors, revere pewter, caviar, french lilac

You want to redo a room and you have some ideas of what direction you want to go with it.  You’re excited and you get to the paint section of the store AANNNNNDDDD there are 10,000 shades of every color.  All of a sudden you are beyond overwhelmed and questioning the meaning of life itself.

Stop right there!!  Don’t worry I got ya covered. I’m sharing some steps to make this process easier along with some of my fave colors to use.

I am in the final stages of my office/classroom project (you can read about it here) and this room was the most difficult I have ever dealt with in choosing a paint color.  Why?  Because I did it all a$# backwards.  I designed other main elements first and chose the paint color dead last.  (I HIGHLY recommend NOT doing this, it’s not for the faint of heart.) So this lead me to want to share with you the best ways to get there and save yourself a lot of time and frustration! Follow the steps below for a much easier process of finding the perfect color!

Step #1

The easiest and most efficient way to build a room is by choosing one thing that you love and use that as a starting point to build the rest of the room around.  A rug is a FANTASTIC piece to do this with.  (some other great options are drapes, patterned pillows and bedding)  If you’re inspo piece and the colors you love are on the softer side that could lean more basic in terms of color pallette.

Then you are probably interested in neutrals………

***I LOVE LOVE LOVE Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore for a neutral!!  It’s a beautiful gray that reads slightly brown in darker lighting.

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We actually painted 80% of our house, which you can see here, this color. (as it’s such an open floor plan) I wanted to get away from brown but we had brown ceilings (which there was no way on the face of this planet I was going to attempt to paint) so this gray fit the best of both worlds, it also looks amazing with all wood tones!! (Trim, hardwoods, etc)

If you choose something colorful, select a color that’s easy on the eyes from the inspo piece.  I like to use the non dominant colors out of a pattern to coordinate and provide an accent without being too matchy matchy. (Check out how I ended up using a mint color for the office space here!)

Step #2

Once you have a color direction you need to narrow down light vs dark paint.  So consider how much natural light the room gets?  What kind of vibe are you going for?  Cozy or light and open?

***Dark walls are having a major moment right now and can be phenomenal IF you have lots of windows/natural light in the space and higher ceilings that help to balance it out.  Black (or deep colors) draws the eye up while giving major drama.  But it’s definitely for the bold.  If you use black in a room with only one window, it will feel heavy and cave-ish.  But it all depends on if that is the look you are going for! (I used Caviar in my Mom’s Oasis room here, breaking one of my own rules as it’s a windowless space but it has high ceilings and I used it only on one wall balancing it out with a very pale blush pink and some stellar art work to pop off of it.)

This is Caviar by Sherwin Williams a beautiful true black.

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Caviar by SW

Step #3

Make those decisions **BEFORE going to the paint store! And then you have a pretty good idea of what you are looking for.  Take a snapshot on your phone **in NATURAL light** of your inspo item and take it with you. (or if you haven’t received it yet use the description pic!)  Once you are standing in front of that paint section, bust out the pic and zero in on the section of color and shades you are looking for. Pull as many swatches as you like or think may work.  Using the pic as a visual guide can be VERY helpful!

Cracked Pepper by Behr is a beautiful black that leans graphite gray.

Cracked Pepper by Behr

Step #4

At this point depending on how many trips you want to make to the paint store and how many swatches you have, you can either buy sample cans of your top few picks OR take the swatches home and see how they look in the actual space and light.  **Caution!!! The swatches NEVER look the same outside of the paint store so don’t impulse buy based on a sample you haven’t seen in your own space.  It never ends well, trust me.

A beautiful lavender gray color is French Lilac by Behr, this is actually our bedroom color and it’s so soothing without being “purple”.  It has enough gray in it that it’s pretty versatile.

French Lilac by Behr

Step #5

Once you buy your samples (usually $2-$4 depending on the brand and store) paint at least a 1’x1′ square of each.  Live with them for a couple of days so you can see the different lighting and how the paint color reads in each.  (night vs day and artificial light vs natural)  Chances are pretty darned good one will stand out to you and you have a winner!

***If your favorite color is a more expensive paint (farrow and ball, benjamin moore, sherwin williams, etc) you can take the swatch to HD or Lowes and have it color matched to a cheaper paint line. (I like HD for this, they get it right every time) It saves big $$$, especially when you are doing a large room!!

These steps may seem like a little extra work, but it makes the process so much simpler and more manageable.  And you hopefully won’t have to repaint any time soon since you already went through the steps of picking the best color for the space and your style.  No more “oops, that looks way different” and “what was I thinking” moments!

Happy painting!!  And I always love to hear from ya so feel free to shoot me a comment or message!

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