How to Pick the Perfect Paint Color


After painting every room in two houses (trim, windows and doors included), I’ve amassed a bunch of tips and tricks for achieving the perfect paint job. This week will be devoted exclusively to painting your home. Five Days with five different lessons to help you perfect your painting skills. Ready to jump into this (into the lesson, not the paint, that is.)

Paint Week - 5 Lessons to Perfect Your Painting Skills

If you missed any of paint week, here’s the recap:


Grab your white pants and painter’s caps and join me today to learn how to pick the perfect paint color!

Choosing paint colors can be a daunting task. Looking at small paint chips at your local paint store can be a bit overwhelming. Especially because there are so many colors to choose from! (That can be a good thing too, in my opinion.) I can’t tell you how many times I picked up a few paint swatches of what I considered to be the perfect color, only to get home and wonder, “Who the heck picked out these ugly colors?” That’s because a color will look different in your home compared to that evenly lit display at the store.

You may think that the difference happens based on what light bulbs you use. That is one factor, but there are other factors at play. Do you have windows in your room? What direction do they face? Do you have a lot of trees outside? What season is it? Believe it or not, the light that is being reflected from outside your window will change the color on your walls. If you have a lot of leafy green trees, this will cast a green hue on your walls. Or if you live ocean side with a beautiful view of the water (you lucky duck) this can change your wall colors too. For the same reason, if you are picking a color in the winter and it’s stark white outside, know that when the trees fill out your color will look very different. This is why I rarely choose a paint color in the winter. 3/4 of the year we have lots of foliage on our trees.

With all these factors at play, it may seem impossible to choose a color. Rest assured, I have a sure fire way to choose a paint color you will love!

1. Pick Colors that are Less Bold

Almost every time I pick a color that I think looks amazing in person, when it’s enlarged to cover an entire wall, it ends up being too bold. For that reason, I know to chose paint swatches that are more muted. They may look dull on the chip, but in mass it will look more pleasing to the eye.

Seaside Theme Bathroom Refresh #LowesCreator | Pretty Handy Girl

2. Create Larger Paint Chips. Looking at tiny paint chips won’t help you conceptualize that color over the entire wall. Making large paint swatches using foam board and sample paints is easy and can save you time when choosing the ideal paint color. I put together this short video to show you how I helped the school librarian select a paint color for the school library.

I knew if I could create big paint chips and let her live with the large chips for a few days, she’d be better prepared to make a final decision. As you saw, she was much more comfortable choosing this way.

3. Live with the Large Chips for a Week or Two. After you’ve painted on the larger poster board, see how they look in the morning light, afternoon and with ambient lighting in the evenings. Move the large chips around throughout the day and see if you still like the colors on all four walls of the room. Hopefully after a week, you’ll have a sunny and a cloudy day so you can experience that swatch in different weather situations.

4. If You Still Goof, Ask for Help. You’ve done all of the above and purchased an expensive gallon of paint. But, after putting up the first coat (and letting it dry) you know you hate it. All is not lost. Take the paint back and talk to the paint person. Explain to them what you don’t like about the color. A talented paint person can usually tint the paint to help you get a color you love.

Tomorrow, we’ll cover what type of paint to buy!

In the meantime, you might like these two posts:


25 Dreamy Blue Paint Colors You’re Sure to Love!



10 Beautiful Gray, Grey and Greige Colors

Happy Painting!



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8 replies
  1. Patricia Jiménez
    Patricia Jiménez says:

    Pudiera aconsejarme de qué color puedo pintar mi casa por fuera? necesito un color que atraiga el calor para que en tiempos de frío no se sienta tan fría por dentro. Muchas gracias!

  2. Rita
    Rita says:

    I am so glad I happened upon your blog/website. I love it!! Maybe you can help me. We just purchase a home. My kitchen (which we understand from the previous owner) was renovated in 2000. It has oak cabinets, oak floor, white-tiled backsplash, green faux-marble Formica countertops and white walls. We are not in a position to gut the kitchen at this point. Can you recommend a color for the walls so that the oak doesn’t take over the whole kitchen? Thank you so much!!

  3. Sandy
    Sandy says:

    All the walls were white when I moved in. I chose my wall colors from a piece of fabric—which had bold, colorful, vibrant flowers. I painted each room a different color. I love my colorful house and I’m so happy I didn’t default to beige or gray!


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Monday: How to Pick Your Paint Color […]

  2. […] Paint colors are challenging. They can change color depending on the time of day and the season. If you live somewhere that has deciduous trees, I urge you to never pick a paint color in the winter. The green outside your window the other three seasons of the year can change the look of your paint color. Need some tips on picking the perfect paint color? Read this post. […]

  3. […] Monday: How to Pick Your Paint Color […]

  4. […] Monday: How to Pick Your Paint Color […]

  5. […] Welcome to Paint Week everyone! This week we’ll be giving you the best tips and tricks for painting your home and beyond. Yesterday we learned How to Pick the Perfect Paint Color! […]

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