Here you will learn easy steps on how to pick paint colors for your interior and exterior home improvement projects. I will walk you through simple steps that will help you find that perfect paint color for any interior room, trim, ceiling, exterior wall, front door, and more.
HOW TO PICK PAINT COLORS
Most people get overwhelmed by the hundreds of colors to choose from. So start with some inspiration. Look around your room. Is there furniture, a rug, or a major art piece for you to pull out the main colors that jump out at you.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you make a purchase using the links below. All opinions are all my own.
DECIDE ON MAIN TWO COLORS
So what two colors can you pull from your area rug, piece of art, or whatever seems to take up the most space in the room?
This piece of art over the buffet was our inspiration for our dining room. We decided on a neutral color, so we narrowed down to grey and tan.
ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS
Now it is time to ask yourself some important questions about these two colors. First, I want you to ask yourself if you like these colors? Can you imagine them on your walls in the room you are working on?
If you answer no to this question then you will need to do one of two things. You will need to go back to the inspiration piece and see if there are any other colors you can choose that you do like, purchase a new inspiration piece that has colors you love, or last see if there is a neutral color in the piece that you can live with.
This brings me to your next questions. Can you live with that color? If you love the color black but you don't think you can live with black on all your walls, then put that color in the no pile.
Here are a few other tips:
- The easiest colors to pick for walls are neutral colors.
- Neutral colors are the most sold colors in paint stores
- Light colors can make a room feel more open and brighter
- A great place to start when picking colors is looking at the popular colors
Popular Paint Colors
The next step is going to these popular colors and see if any of them work with your inspiration piece or two colors you have narrowed down to.
You can ask the paint store employees what the popular colors are in the brand you are considering or you can start with any of my Popular Sherwin Williams paint color post.
Now match up your colors with any of the colors in these posts. If you were looking for a light grey tone then look at the light grey colors in the popular Sherwin Williams paint color post.
Here is an example. For our dining room, we matched accessible beige and mindful grey with the piece of the art. So now we have two colors to work with.
Now it is time to go to the store and pick up some paint samples. I want to recommend you go to Sherwin Williams to pick up the samples. You do not have to buy your paint from there but since we have Sherwin Williams colors selected from the popular list let's start with their colors.
Tape the Paint Colors to the Wall
Start by placing your paint chips on the wall, rug or whatever you have as your inspiration piece. Stand back and see if any do not work with the focal piece of the room.
In our situation we felt like the grey worked much better with the art piece than the beige did plus the grey would flow better in our whole home design, but we wanted to make sure this is our color.
To make sure it is your color tape the paint swatch or swatches on the wall in different areas of the room and live with them for a day. Watch how the color changes throughout the day. Make sure you like what it is doing in your space. Now you probably have your color.
If you still have doubts get a sample size of the paint and paint it on the wall if you are for sure going to paint the room. If you don't want to do anything permanent then you can order larger samples that are peel and stick from Samplize.
Trust me it is worth a few colors to order a larger Samplize sample to stick on your wall to make sure this is the right color.
Now you have your wall color for your room. Next, you need to determine your trim color if you plan to paint your trim. If your trim is already painted a neutral color like white, which is the most common color, I would stick with white and apply a fresh coat.
Grab some white colors when you are the paint store so you can match up the white or if you know you want white and you don't want to spend a lot of time on this asked the paint store people for a recommendation.
My go to color for trim in our home is Extra White by Sherwin Williams. If I am painting a room white, then I paint the trim the same color white as the walls.
Once you are home, find a spot where you have plenty of natural light and place those white paint samples on your trim or baseboard. You will see real soon which one is the perfect white.
If your trim paint is old it may have discolored over time. Feel free to go lighter on your white if you want it to be brighter.
If you want a color for your trim, then start thinking about those inspiration colors. Some great accent trim colors are blacks, greys and off whites.
Sometimes we need to pick a paint color for a ceiling. Most ceiling paint color is called ceiling white. But if you want a color here are a few things to consider.
- The color you put on the ceiling will look darker than the sample so make sure to hold the sample up above your head when selecting
- Go one or two shades darker than your trim color if you have crown molding. This is a designer trick to make your crown molding pop
- If you want a bright, open and airy space go with the traditional ceiling white paint color
Now that you have your wall, trim and ceiling paint color, if you needed all three, it is time to start painting. It just happens that I can help with some painting tips and tools that will help save you some time.
My paint like a pro post will not only show you technique, but I have a video on YouTube demonstrating how it is done.
And when you make your trip to the paint store you will need some tools. So, I am giving you a peek into what is in my paint crate.
Through trial and error, I have found these tools like Wooster paintbrushes, paint tray, paint rollers and more to be the ones that have saved me time and money in the long run.
Last, I mentioned that you don't have to buy your paint from Sherwin Williams, but honestly their paint is great. Their knowledge is most helpful when it comes time to buy the paint.
Ask them questions. Like, what paint do you recommend where I will only have to paint one coat? You will thank me for that tip. LOL! Using one coat of paint will save you so much time.
Okay, so now you have your paint colors selected. If you need to go to another paint store simply take your paint swatches and give them to the person who will mix your paint. They have a way of matching the color.
I wanted to try the Magnolia Home Paint by Joanna Gaines, so I matched up the color myself.
I hope you have enjoyed this post and find it most helpful. Share your paint color selections below. I would love to see what is inspiring you.
- Inspiration Piece (rug, art, bedding, etc.)
- Paint Swatches
- Sample Size Paint or Samplize
- Paint Brush
- Begin by determining the focal piece of the room. The piece with the most color like a rug, art, bedding, etc.
- Next, determine two colors that stand out from a distance. Keep the colors simple like grey and beige or blue and white. What two colors does this piece read the most?
- After you have two general colors selected go to this Popular Sherwin Williams paint colors post and match up to these colors.
- Go to the paint store and pick up those colors in paint swatches or if you have a color that is not on the popular list ask someone at the store for popular suggestions in that color and bring home the paint samples.
- Tape the samples to the inspiration piece or lay it on the inspiration piece. Make sure the samples are not sided by side because they will affect each others color. Set them apart and stand back and see which ones match the best. Remove any samples that do not match.
- Tape the samples that match the best to the wall next to your trim and look at it over a 24 hours time period to see if you like it.
- Next, test this color by purchasing a sample size from the paint store and painting it on the wall or purchase a peel and stick sample from Samplize to attach to the wall. It is important to see how the color looks on a larger area to finalize your selection.
- Once you have a color take it to the paint store to have it mixed.