Choosing Wall Colors Without Tears

Dresser photo is mine - all others courtesy of Pinterest

Dresser photo is mine - all others courtesy of Pinterest

I am always telling people not to be afraid of paint. I mean it. It’s paint - not a nose job! You can paint over paint if you hate it. Of all the things you can do to update your home, paint is the most affordable and doable thing out there. Yet, I see people in the paint department (I spend a bit of time there) agonizing over colors or giving up and saying they’ll stick with the same builder’s beige they already have on their walls. STOP!!!! You can do this. It’s not painful - it can even be kind of fun. Here are the five steps I take when choosing wall colors:

  1. Eliminate what you dislike. It doesn’t matter if it’s trendy or Joanna Gaines loves it. If you dislike something - cross it off the list. For me - I can right away get rid of pinks, most greens and a lot of yellows. I don’t hate these colors but, I don’t really want them as a major part of my house. For most of us, this step eliminates a huge number of choices thus, making the process easier.

  2. Figure out why you like what you like. If you don’t know, try this exercise. Go on Pinterest. Create a board called “Living Room” (or whatever it is you’re painting.) Then, put that same room in the search bar. Don’t overthink this! Pin pictures that capture your attention. Don’t worry about why it captured your attention or if the picture has anything in common with your own home, just pin it and keep going. Try to spend a couple of minutes over a couple of days doing this. When you have 50+ pins, look at your board. You should see some patterns emerging.

    1. Are the colors you are drawn to neutral, cool or warm?

    2. Are the colors bold or muted?

    3. Is there texture or pattern on the walls?

  3. Get some samples. If you do the Pinterest exercise above, click through on some of your favorites and read the original article. Many times people share their brand and paint colors. Take note. Otherwise, bring your phone and check out paint chips that resemble your pinned rooms. Have your local store mix up 5-6 samples. (Home Depot and Lowe’s are cost effective places and they can mix any color of any brand whether they carry it or not. We’re only worried about color here.)

  4. Paint. Paint a piece of cardstock with two coats of each sample and hang them in your room. Chance are you’ll be able to eliminate 1-2 right away. Study how each sample looks at different times of day. Remove losers as you find them.

  5. And more paint. If you get it narrowed down, you’re ready to paint! Choose a sheen that works for you. The glossier the sheen, the easier to clean. If your samples didn’t work figure out what was wrong - too much yellow? too much blue? too stark? Go back and get 2-3 more samples and try again.

Good luck! Please ask if you have questions. Please share if you have a favorite wall color!