This segues nicely into Tip #5. Collect paint strips and swatches. Then when you’ve narrowed down your options, buy some sample cans and try them on your walls.
Paint strips and swatches are free, and even at $3 to $8 a pop, sample cans are cheaper than buying a gallon of the wrong color. And you can always use those samples for other craft and DIY projects around the house, as long as you topcoat the paint.
For my office, I broke out the sample cans I had from the powder room makeover and also added a few more before finally deciding on a color.
Make sure you paint large swatches — mine here might actually be a little too small. And in large rooms, you may want to test out your samples on several walls to account for differences in lighting.
And lighting is important. For tip #6, I recommend viewing your samples at different times of the day, in different lighting.
Wait a few days; live with the color to see if you really like it and can live with it longterm.
The two rooms below are painted Shagreen, another Sherwin-Williams color, which we used on an accent wall in the living room of our last home.
You can see subtle differences in how the color reads, based on lighting and furnishings in these rooms. In our old house, the color read much darker, which I loved.
Tip #7: In addition to lighting, be mindful of the undertones and temperature of other painted and large surfaces in a room. Like trim and flooring and countertops. If you stick to the same color family — cools with cools and warms with warms — and the same undertones — you should do just fine choosing a paint color that complements rather than competes with the other surfaces in your room.
If you don’t know what I mean when I say undertones, grab a bunch of tan or gray or even white paint swatches and look at them side-by-side in natural light. You’ll see that some grays are more brown and others are blue and others are purple. It’s amazing how different gray can look. There are a lot more than the 64 colors you find in a Crayola box!
We just moved into a new home and every room was painted a horrible color so I’m desperate to change them right away!!
Very interesting article. We’re in the middle of a remodel and can’t agree on colors. My wife won’t let me bring in a professional to help us and declares we can do it even though she can’t decide what she wants… Grrr, I didn’t sign up for this, pick a color and paint it… 🙂
Atta Girl Amy
Sorry I missed your comment in the post holiday busyness. I hope you and your wife were able to decide on a color. And I’ve totally called in a professional in the past when I was having trouble making a decision about a paint color. Sometimes it helps to get a second opinion or to have someone help you narrow down all the choices. You can still use sample pots, to make sure you love the color, but you won’t have to buy so many of them. (Those little samples can be expensive.) Good luck with your remodel. They’re always stressful.
What color is the aqua in your laundry room? And what color is your trim and wainscoting?
Atta Girl Amy
The laundry room is Watery by Sherwin Williams. I’m pretty sure the trim and the wainscotting is an old MAB color called Lyric White. I think Sherwin Williams bought MAB. They should have MAB’s old color formulas and can match this color.
What is the blue on bath walls in tip #8? Thx
Atta Girl Amy
I’m not sure of that particular paint color, as it’s from a bathroom reno I found on Houzz. However, I find that designers over there are pretty good about responding to questions, so you may be able to get an answer there. Here’s the link: http://www.houzz.com/photos/1344121/Classic-Style-Condo-traditional-bathroom-minneapolis. Good luck.
Actually, I just clicked over to Houzz and the designer says the color is similar to Benjamin Moore colors: AF-545 Solitude
Could you tell me the color of the gray by the desk window? With the closet in the background.
What’s the color of the gray bathroom–it’s wonderful and it’s just what I’ve been looking for!
Atta Girl Amy
Sorry for my delayed response. The color in the small powder room is Intellectual Gray form Sherwin Williams.
Yvonne @ StoneGable
Amy, great tips. I find choosing a paint color to be very very difficult! You tips will certainly help! xo
I love the “Chip It” software but I love doing it the old fashioned way by picking 3 colors that coordinate with the fabric, painting those samples on the wall and then live with it for a week…Great tips Amy!…have fun painting!!
Brilliant post, my friend. Seriously, your writing shines through! As far s the topic, I’m sure my painter hubby would agree for all his customers, but apparently his wife lives life a bit more dangerously. Or maybe I unconsciously do these things and don’t know it. My inspiration usually starts with something from a yard sale and goes from there. Ummm, pick fabric first? hahahahahha
Thanks for the shoutout by the way!
Living on the edge,
I am using 2 paintings to pull colors from, but then I ALWAYS have to throw in lime green. What is it with me and lime green?? Was I a kiwi in a former life? And I LOVE Marty’s gray!!