How I pick paint colors and why you should never get paint color matched

pick the perfect color

Will you pick paint colors for me? It’s the most common question I get from friends and family. I honestly love picking out paint colors but I’ve come to realize that many people are paralyzed by fear of picking the wrong color. There is no fool proof way of picking the perfect color. Even I’ve been known to be a shade off a time or two (I’m looking at you laundry room), but for the most part I love the very first color I pick.

So I’m going to let you in on my process for picking the perfect color: Pinterest!

I know it’s not exactly a secret, but I’m going to walk you through how you can use Pinterest to narrow down the perfect wall color for you room.

Pick a color:

If you haven’t zeroed in on exact color yet, then spend a little time using Pinterest’s search function to help you out here. Below is a screen shot of what I got when I searched “best paint colors”:

how to pick a paint color

Research your color:

You wouldn’t buy a new car without doing a little research first would you? Same goes with paint colors. After all painting your walls is a huge commitment. Maybe not monetarily, but time wise and aesthetically it is going to make a huge impact. Do yourself a favor and don’t skip this step. After playing around on Pinterest for a while I knew I wanted a really natural griege for the family room, so I inserted that into the search function:

picking greige paint

As you can see I found literally thousands of pictures of rooms painted in a griege color including many links to blogger’s and designer’s favorite griege colors.  This is where you let other people’s experience work for you. Look over the pictures, see how the colors actually look in the rooms, and narrow it down to your favorite colors.  The color that I found myself pinning over and over again was Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter, so that is where I started.

Pick out paint chips:

Hopefully by now you have a least one inspiration color to start with. Now go to that paint retailer and find the right paint chip. After you have found your inspiration color, grab a couple more that are in the same shade range (think above, below, left, and right of your inspiration). Since my inspiration was Benjamin Moore, I also headed over to Lowe’s and picked up some Valspar and Olympic paint chips that were in the same range. It’s better at this point to have too many choices than not enough.

Just a sample of the chips we picked up for our foyer makeover:

how to pick a paint color

 

Hold up paint chips in the room:

Just because a color looked great online doesn’t actually mean it will work in your room. Now is the time to put your room to the test. Hold up the chips in the room you wish to paint. I like to hold it up against the trim color to get an idea of how it will all look together. Also consider holding them up against anything else permanent such as the flooring or brick. I like to start with my inspiration color and work out from there.  Also consider all the different lighting in the room. Try looking at the sample with lights on and off, in natural light and in the darkest area of the room.

Revere Pewter actually made it to our short list, but in the end we decided on Olympic’s Grey Ghost. I couldn’t exactly pin point why we choose this color. This is where you just go with your gut.

family room makeover

Choose lighter and muddier:

You’ll probably be able to narrow down you color choices pretty quickly, but what do you do when you find yourself stuck between two or three choices? My recommendation is go for the lighter choice because the color will always look more saturated once it’s on the wall. Also go for the one with more brown, grey, or beige in it. These tones tend to be softer on the eyes and more flattering over all. If you’re still stuck, ask for a second opinion. I will sometimes agonize over a color choice for days and when I finally ask my husband he picks one in 2 seconds.

tv console makeover

Confidently buy your paint:

Go yon, ye paint color expert and buy your paint confidently knowing that it’s going to look great in your room.

Wait! Can I save money by getting an expensive brand color matched?

Yes, but don’t do it. Having a paint color mixed is an exact science. The paint chip tells the paint mixer exactly how much of each pigment to put in for each type of paint. When you have a color paint matched the computer is just making a best guess, and I promise you won’t be happy with the result. Besides, after going through all the trouble of picking the perfect color, why tempt fate with a knock off. I always buy the same brand of paint that the paint chip goes with. Sometimes I win and pick a cheaper paint and sometimes I have to chalk up the extra money for premium paint. Also, down the road if you need more paint mixed there is a greater likelihood of the colors not matching if you had it color matched the first time.

whole house paint pallet

 

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