How To Choose The Right Paint Color

Color is my expertise. I know, I know, that sounds so self centered and stuck up. But it’s true. I think it’s because i’m a painter. I’m constantly studying the color of things. I have really trained my mind to know how to make certain colors, and how those certain color will impact the viewer.

I asked my readers to take a quick survey yesterday regarding the content of my blog. You can still take the survey, and it will still be extremely valuable and helpful to me. But, one person (who I have no idea who, because it’s an anonymous survey), said they would like to see more posts regarding paint colors and room colors. And I was like, “wait, yeah, why have I not done this yet?” So I am doing it now, and in the future will make more posts about color choices.

Actually, my sister and I have a game we always play. It’s so stupid now that I am writing it, but basically it goes like this.

First, we point to an item. For example, maybe the item is a purple pillow. Like this one below.

Then, we list food items and measurements that you would put into a blender to make the color of the item we chose. So, for the example of the purple pillow, I would mix in a blender the following foods to make the color of that purple pillow. I would maybe mix 25 blueberries, 1 strawberry, 1 pomegranate squeezed, and a half cup of cream cheese, and 4 spoons of honey for extra shine. It’s so stupid I don’t even know why I am writing this. But it’s what we do.

We also have other stupid games called tickle the chin, and push off couch. But anyway,


First of all, there is no wrong paint color. There are wrong color combinations, and wrong paint applications, but a wrong color? no such thing. So, choosing the paint color for YOUR house, is going to be up to you. Which is the hardest part of choosing a paint color. I bet when you chose a paint color, you get opinions, and wait and think and think some more, and then get more opinions. There really is no need for the hesitation.

This is how I choose a paint color.

Step 1: First, I have an emotion or feeling about a space. I may want it to be relaxing, bright, daring, southern, full of energy, or whatever. Then, a color is immediately tied to that emotion. You will experience this too. Except, you may immediately experience hesitation afterwards, and then convince yourself that you never experienced a first color reaction to the mood you wanted to convey in a room. Ignore that. For the example I am using, my emotion is calm romance, and immediately I think of a muted purple. You may or may not have that same color tied to that emotion. You may chose red, or any other color. But the thing is, it’s your space, not mine. So it is very important that you choose the first color that comes to mind. And by the way, I totally am not saying that your going to think of the EXACT color, with brand, and product number and paint name. I am just saying that a general sense of color.

Step 2: With my color in mind, I go to the website of the paint brand I plan on buying from. They will have a screen that allows you to click and zoom in to color choices. Typically called the “color gallery” or something similar. I recommend this, over going to the actual store. Not only because it is way more convenient, but because the screen is much smaller than the actual color gallery in the store, your mind is able to think quicker, without being distracted.

paint color

This is where you need to think quick. quick. quick. quick. Do not hesitate. Just click on the color, that you had originally thought of. Mine was muted purple. So I click there. I don’t sit around and think maybe I should chose something else. I just click there. See below.

paint color2

Then the page should enlarge your specific range of colors

paint color3

Step 3: Look at the paint color row that is dead center. Go with your instinct again. What are you drawn to, what do you love most? Move your mouse to that color. The first image below is the row you should be looking at. The second image is the color I chose, that I was most drawn to. That doesn’t mean I am committed to that specific color, I am just making mental note to which one I am most drawn to. It is in step four that we will begin narrowing down a more thoughtful process. Don’t analyze this step, just chose one of the colors within that row.

paint color4

paint color5

Step 4: Now, in this step, is when you no longer are quick, but you need to become very thoughtful.

It is within this step, that you need to consider the following options. Base your answers on your current chosen color.

Do you want your color lighter or darker than what you chose? If lighter, choose the color above, if darker, chose the color below. Or, even a few colors above, and a few colors below. Do you want it saturated, or muted? If you want it saturated, either keep your chosen color, or chose a color to the right. More neutral? Chose a color to the left of your chosen color.

How do you know if your paint color should be light or dark? Saturated or muted? The answer is to consider items in the room. Each room needs to have contrast (because contrast is visually interesting). So, if you love color, but already have a ton of colorful bright things in the room, then you need to chose a neutral version of a color for the walls (like gray-ish purple, or white with a hint of yellow). Or just a plain neutral (gray, white, brown). If it’s the reverse, then maybe you will want to make the walls a bright, saturated color.

As far as lightness and darkness goes, you should ignore the size of the room (like you may have been told), and again, go with what items are currently in the space. As well as what kind of mood you want to convey. In my opinion, it is untrue to say that dark colors make a room look smaller, and colors with more white make a room look bigger. And even if that is true, why would it be a negative thing? Just ignore it. Darker colors create a moody space, a cozy (not small) space. Light colors give a space a fresh look, open feel, and cleanliness. If you chose a dark color, your items need to be metallic, light, and airy. This is so that light can bounce off of these items. If you chose a lighter color, it is okay to have heavier items in the space (like a dark couch, or dark wood). It really is a personal preference.

(yes, I am so sorry it’s so wordy). But at this point, you have chosen a color (either the color you originally were drawn to, OR, a color near by that is either lighter, darker, less, or more saturated). So, for my example purposes, I am going to “keep” my original color. “Yukon Sky” by Benjamin Moore.


Step 5: Commit to that color. Don’t be fearful. After all, the color you ended up at was the color you had originally envisioned, and you will be disappointed if you doubt yourself and chose another color, such as tan.

Step 6: Google Image the name of the paint color. It is here that you will be able to see how others have used this paint color in their space. Great inspiration, and great reality of the color.

paint color 7

Step 7: Now you can go to the store and buy the paint. Don’t change your mind, don’t get scared, just go ask for the paint and buy it.

And, if you still really don’t trust yourself to pick out a paint color, then you can always hire someone. Like me. Or someone else. Just make sure that whatever you do, you end up with a color you love.


* Note that you will receive a random email at first from some random thing. Ignore that. I will then enter your email and subscribe you to my blog. Don’t ignore this email. A verification email will be sent to you from my blog. You will need to verify your subscription.


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