How to Find The Best Paint Color

Choosing paint colors can feel overwhelming, especially if you’ve ever painted a wall only to realize it’s not quite right. But don’t worry, it’s just paint, and it can be changed. However, I understand the frustration of wasting time and money on the wrong color.

So, how can you choose the perfect paint color like a pro? Let’s start by addressing a common mistake many people make, and then I’ll share some designer tips to help you pick the right colors for your home.

Over the past decade, I’ve been decorating my own home and gaining valuable experience. I’ve also invested 270 hours in interior design classes to complement my practical knowledge.

Through this journey, I’ve learned how to avoid paint color pitfalls, and I’m excited to share my top tips with you today so you can confidently choose paint colors for your home.

In this guide, I’ll cover everything you need to know about selecting paint colors for your home interior.

Tips to Choose Best Paint Colors

1. Start with Decor, Not Paint

Instead of picking your paint color first, focus on your existing decor. It’s much easier to find a paint color that complements your decor than the other way around.

2. Find Inspiration

Look for an inspiration piece to guide your color choices. This could be anything from a colorful sofa to a piece of art or fabric that you love. Pulling colors from these items ensures a cohesive look.

3. Stick with Neutrals for Walls

While bold wall colors can be appealing, it’s often more practical to opt for neutral shades and reserve vibrant hues for accents and accessories. Here’s why neutrals are a smart choice:

  • Neutrals draw attention to your furniture and accent pieces, creating a balanced look.
  • They provide flexibility; you can easily change accent pieces without worrying about clashing with your wall color.
  • Neutral walls serve as a versatile backdrop, allowing you to effortlessly switch up your decor for different seasons or holidays.
  • Medium-toned neutrals are particularly forgiving, hiding scuffs and dirt, making them ideal for busy family spaces.

4. Know about Undertones

When you paint your walls, they might not turn out exactly as you imagined. That’s because paint colors aren’t just one color; they have underlying tones that can be warm or cool.

– Warm colors have undertones of colors like yellow or red.

– Cool colors have undertones of colors like blue, green, or grey.

5. Test Your Paint Colors at Home in Good Light

Once you’ve picked out some paint colors you like, grab the biggest paint swatches you can find from the store and take them home. Or, get sample-sized testers and paint them on sturdy boards.

Look at these big samples in different lighting conditions and at different times of the day all around the room. See how they look next to your furniture, rugs, and artwork.

Lighting can change how paint colors appear in your home. The larger the swatch, the easier it is to see which color works best in your space.

Rooms facing south get warm sunlight all day, making the light more yellowish. This might make colors look a bit washed out. Most colors can still work, but cooler tones might balance the yellow light better.

Rooms facing north get cooler, bluish light. Using warm colors can counterbalance this chilly light.

East- and west-facing rooms have changing light throughout the day, so you can use either warm or cool colors.

6. Pick the Right Paint Finish

The finish of your paint affects how it looks and how easy it is to clean. Here’s a breakdown:

– Gloss: Super easy to clean but very shiny. Use it for trim, baseboards, and cabinets.

– Semi-gloss: Almost as easy to clean with less shine. Great for trim, cabinets, and bathrooms.

– Satin: Good for walls in busy areas like hallways and kids’ rooms. It’s also wipeable, making it suitable for bathrooms.

– Eggshell: A bit more durable than flat paint, ideal for spaces with moderate traffic like living rooms or dining rooms.

– Flat or matte: Best for rooms where walls won’t get touched much, such as master bedrooms.

7. Plan Your Home’s Color Scheme

Instead of randomly picking colors for each room, create a cohesive color palette for your whole home. This helps maintain a sense of flow throughout your space while allowing for creativity.

For example, in our house, we use shades of white, greige, and black. But we vary the proportions and placement of these colors in different rooms.

In the kitchen, we have Eider White on the walls, Pure White on the trim and range hood, and black on the island.

In the living room, we have Eider White walls, a white shiplapped fireplace mantel, and a black accent wall. Same colors, different placement, and proportions, creating a cohesive look throughout the house.

Understanding Paint Swatches

Those long paint swatches you pick up at the hardware store are great tools for choosing paint colors, but only if you know how to interpret them.

Choosing Coordinating Colors

Each paint swatch typically displays several shades of a single color, grouped by temperature—either warm or cool. You won’t find both warm and cool colors on the same swatch.

The more muted a color appears on the swatch, the more grey has been added. Stick with the same saturation level and color temperature to easily coordinate colors in your space.

For example, you could select a couple of colors from one swatch for a calming, monochromatic look. Or choose the same saturation level from different swatches for a coordinated color scheme.

Choosing Whites

When picking white paints, stick to the same color temperature zone—either warm or cool.

A white near cool colors on a swatch complements other cool colors, while a white near warm colors complements warm colors.

Stick with cool tones for a monochromatic or analogous color scheme, or mix warm and cool for a complementary scheme.

Here’s how to make the best choice:

– Bring paint swatches home and tape them to the wall.

– Purchase sample pots and try different shades on the wall.

– Place accents like furniture, pillows, or flooring in the room.

– Assess the paint colors in various lighting conditions throughout the day.

– With your whole home color scheme in mind, select the paint color that looks best with your accents and lighting.

How to Find The Best Paint Color

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