Picking the Perfect Color

Picking the Perfect Color


A silly Lab puppy looking like he just got caught getting into paint cans and making a colorful mess.Painting a room can be one of the most drastic and least expensive makeovers you can do. Whether it’s a slight change or drastic, the color of your walls sets the mood and acts as your canvas for favorite pieces of art, antiques you want to highlight, or your favorite seasonal décor. We know choosing that perfect shade can get stressful, and since nothing should rob you of the joy of a makeover, here is a quick guide to choosing the perfect color for any room in your house.

You probably already know the basics. Dark colors tend to make small spaces feel smaller; light colors brighten up a space but show blemishes easier. Neutrals are always a safe bet. They are easy to coordinate and accent with smaller pieces that may have more color. But even when looking at neutrals, you still have tons of choices. So here are some other general designer “rules” to keep in mind:

Living Area: Keep this area as warm and friendly as possible. Typically, your “warm” colors are in the browns and yellows, but these can also bleed into grays. Remember, within one color scheme, there are still neutrals and very light colors, so don’t get carried away and paint your living room the color of milk chocolate! (We really like this combination of navy and yellow accent pieces: Color Story: Navy + Yellow

Dining Room: Since there are lots of dining room styles, your color choice will most likely help identify how formal your style is, as will your furniture. Dining room pieces are typically some of the most valuable pieces, since they are often antiques or family heirlooms. Let the furniture, style and accessories (a.k.a. artwork) help determine the color scheme. Just make sure to veer away from really bright colors. We’ve actually heard that red and oranges can mess with the digestive system! (We can’t skip this section without pointing you to some helpful tips on picking the perfect table and chairs for your dining room…no matter the size)

Kitchen: Your kitchen should be a place that is both inviting and invigorating…you don’t want to fall asleep and burn your potatoes! The good news is, cabinets usually provide an additional pallet. If you want to keep your walls neutral, you can make a statement with your cabinet color. Or, if you have lots of cabinets, leave them neutral and paint the walls a brighter color since there’s less wall space. If you’d rather just a small pop, consider painting the back wall of your cabinets a bright color. That small color will come through on glass door or open cabinets, giving just a hint of your wild side. Here are some of these ideas and more: 12 Great paint Colors for a Kitchen.

victorian style bedroom

Bedroom(s): Just keep this room peaceful. Let the color scheme set a restful and relaxing mood, no matter what color wheel you choose. You spend almost a third of your life asleep, so make sure the setting is one that encourages tranquility. Here is a list of we like: 12 Paint Color Ideas for Bedrooms.

We think all these tips are good, but the most important rule to follow: pick the colors that fit YOU! This is your home, so you want walls that you can wear well…not a school uniform you’re forced to wear.  Be happy in your home and choose what’s best for you.

Once you’ve zoned in (roughly) on your ideal color, go to the store and grab lots of color cards. You’re your color zone and get at least three colors beyond your original color. Then bring them home! You want to see these colors in the light  of the room you’re painting, not the industrial fluorescent lights of the store. Once you’ve decided on your possible colors, here are some tips to choosing the absolute best color:

Young beauty woman dreaming about yellow bedroom

  1. Narrow it down to 10 or less shades of grey (or whatever color you desire) using paint chips from local hardware stores of color decks. 
  2. Buy small samples of each of these colors to paint on the walls in your space. Paint a large enough sample so you can really tell what the color looks like.
  3. Observe these samples at ALL different times of the day just to make sure you LOVE the look with sun, without sun, in the dark… you get the point.
  4. Paint the samples next to other key design components of the room. (ie. next to countertops, next to the trim, next to a couch, near the rug, etc.) This will help you not only love the paint color but also love how the paint color works together with the other key elements of the room. If the old color is still distracting, tape some white pieces of paper around the sample to block the old color. Out of sight, out of mind!
  5. Don’t rush it. Look at the colors, sleep on it, look at them again. Often a favorite will stick out. If you don’t love it, don’t paint it! While we love country music, you should be with the one you love (not love the one you’re with!).

Once you’ve found your color, paint like there’s no tomorrow! Enjoy the new color and be proud of that “new paint” smell. If you hit a roadblock, check out Pinterest for ideas, or here’s a site that has great suggestions for every room of the house: How to Choose the Perfect Paint Color for Every Room in Your House

Happy painting!