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6 TIPS TO THE CHOOSING THE PERFECT PAINT COLOR(+ PAINT CHEAT SHEET FREEBIE)



Hey guys! I hear from a lot of my clients that they don't know where to start with their homes because they are SO overwhelmed....and I totally get it. It can be daunting to wonder how to tackle an entire room.

So, just for you guys at the bottom of the post not only am I sharing a Free Guide but also my FAVORITE (and free source) to grab samples. So for today...how about starting now with just the first step? Paint is the EASIEST way to update a space. But...how do you find the perfect color? Hang with me and I'll walk you through it. Paint is inexpensive and chalk it up as an "easy win" as getting started!


1. Start with your Mission

Before you even start, think of the big picture in mind. What do you want your paint color to do? Blend into the background? Make a statement? Pull together the other colors of the room? For an example, I want to paint my room something that is light and airy, and will blend with the open spaces around it that I can see from my room.


2. Start with a Set of Colors You like

Okay, I know this sounds obvious! But if you are constantly getting sucked into what the latest Pinterest color trend is, you will eventually be unhappy with your paint color (or be repainting every season!). Most people have a handful of colors they are drawn to. If you’re not sure….look around your home, do you see pops of blue everywhere? Or did you notice that everything has a warm undertone? That gives you a place to start. Side Note: However, just because you like a color doesn’t mean it is the perfect wall paint color! I am drawn to the color turquoise like a bee to honey. But you’re not going to notice any turquoise walls in my home. Instead, narrow it down to a few color FAMILIES you like. For me, it would be blues, greens, and grays. Keep reading and you’ll learn how to choose the right tone of your favorite color. So in this case, I narrowed down the family color to "Grays" P.S. Not even sure what colors you like? Hop on my PINTEREST boards and see what rooms speak to you, and note the wall color.



3. Are you cool or are you warm?

You can find the perfect color from almost any color family (See Step #2), but how to you choose the right shade of your fav color? Let’s stick to our "gray" example. In every color family you are going to see "warm" and "cool" colors. If looking through all of the paint samples is making your eyes buggy, hold them up to a piece of white paper. If you see yellow or brown undertones, it is a "warm" color. If the colors veer towards grays, blues, you have a "cool" color.



For the color "Gray", I’m a fan of the warmer tones as a "cool gray" tends to go very industrial. Same with white tones…a "cool white" tends to have an icy, even blue undertone to it, so I generally stick with those warmer, softer tones!






4. Choose Your Perfect Shade

Once you have your color family (gray in our example) and your tone (I like warm gray tones), then you need to find the right shade of your color. By now you should have a handful of paint colors that are in the right family, but how do you choose the right shade? If you have a color you are drawn to, look at the other colors on the paint strip. Unless you are going for bold walls, I usually suggest going lighter over darker. Look at the next two lightest colors…how do those look? An entire room is always going to be more bold than a tiny paint strip, so keep that in mind!

5. Field Trip Time!

Then it’s time to go on a field trip. Bring the actual paint samples into the room you are painting. Hold them up to your sofa or existing furniture. Be sure to hold up the samples next to your existing trim as well. Any clashes? Take them out.

But here is the MOST IMPORTANT PART:

You gotta look at your paint colors at least two times during the day. The first is to see your colors in the daylight (hold them up close to a window or door). The sunlight will bring out different colors you didn’t see under the store’s fluorescent lights. But just as important, look at your paint colors at night, when you only have your room’s artificial lights on. Some colors can change DRASTICALLY!

In my very first home as a newlywed I found a "beautiful" bright yellow paint for my new bathroom. I loved it, and immediately painted my bathroom, staying up until midnight to finish. The next morning I about lost my eyesight when my new yellow walls SCREAMED at me in the morning sun. Uh oh. I haven’t broken Tip #5 ever since!

Whites can go peachy-peach or tans can get a funky green undertone in different lights. So do your homework and check it out at different times of day.



How to Get the Best Paint Chips (Because all paint chips aren’t created the same.)

Some paint stores do it better than others, but I would be hard pressed to find the perfect color based on a 2x2 square! If you are a perfectionist you can buy the sample can of paint and try it out on your walls. Some people literally need to do that. Me, I probably wouldn’t take the time. If you are in a local paint store, ask if they can order oversized paint cards for you.


Or, you can do my trick. For my clients I always include large paint cards in their designs.

I order my extra large Benjamin Moore paint samples HERE


It is a totally free service, you can order as many Benjamin Moore colors as you want, and they are shipped directly to your house. I usually order the 8x10 size so I can get a good look at the color. And did I mention it is FREE!? Plus, if you have another brand of paint you are going to use, most paint stores can color match for you.



Or...you can skip all of that and just check out my Brand New FREEBIE Guide that I created just for you guys!


Here are my Top 8 Favorite Paint Colors-you can find at least four of these in current design projects, including in my own home!


If you think your next project could benefit from a color consultation, let's get in touch!

Warmly,




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carriage house studio

612.619.5560

twin cities

©2019 by kelly hayes erickson

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