5 Tips For Choosing Paint Colors
Updated: Apr 13, 2018
1. Simplify Your Color Palette
Select one neutral paint color for all of the common areas of your home (entry, living, family, kitchen and hallways). Remember that your main wall color shouldn’t be the star attraction. Don’t be afraid to use this same neutral color in other rooms of the house. You do not need a different paint color in every room! Then – to bring in color – use bolder accent walls, art, pillows, furniture, and decor items.
My go-to gray neutrals are:
In this 2nd floor entry and hallway, I used Misty SW 6232. The yellow art poster and emerald performance velvet bench cushion provide pops of color.
2. Match The Ceiling & Trim
In 99.9% of my projects I use the same color for the ceiling, window casings, trim and interior doors, but in different finishes. A Flat finish should always be used on the ceiling – including kitchens and bathrooms! And a satin or semi-gloss should be used for all other baseboards, crown molding, casing, trim and doors. Make sure you choose a white that isn’t super bright or too yellow. And don’t worry about matching the white exactly to existing white cabinetry or window frames.
My go to color for ceiling, baseboards, crown molding, casing, trim and door color is:
In this guest bedroom, I used Snowbound SW 7004 on the ceiling, crown and baseboard.
3. Use Flat Paint For Almost Everything
The only two paint finishes you need to care about are flat and satin (some brands only offer semi-gloss as opposed to satin). Flat paint should be used on all of your walls and ceilings – even in the kitchen and bathrooms. Color looks so much nicer in a flat finish and it’s easy to clean and touch up.
Satin or semi-gloss finishes should only be used for baseboards, crown molding, casing, trim, interior doors, and any other trim you have in the room – such as mantels and built-ins.
4. Add Accent Walls in These 4 Places
a. The wall behind your headboard.
In this master bedroom I used Secure Blue Sw 6508 on the accent wall behind the headboard.
b. Inside a tray ceiling.
If you have a tray ceiling, carry your accent color into the tray for added drama. For this master bedroom tray ceiling and accent wall, I used Granite Peak SW 6250.
c. The wall behind your TV.
A darker color will help your TV blend in more and also optimize TV viewing. In this living room, I used Dignity Blue SW 6804 behind the TV.
d. Above your fireplace.
A pop of color gives some added interest to the space, especially if you happen to mount your TV above the fireplace. With this fireplace accent, I used Labradorite SW 7619.
5. Keep Your Palette Fresh
Once you have a neutral color throughout your home, you can add 1-2 subtle colors in a few spare bedrooms, office or bathroom to keep your palette fresh.
Tidewater SW 6477 is used in this powder room.
Languid Blue SW 6226 is used in this home office.
Now you’re ready to select paint colors!
Pro Tip: Place all of your chosen paint chips together and take a picture to see how they all look in one frame. There shouldn’t be a color that stands out and doesn’t match the others. Each color should complement the palette. And lastly, look at paint samples on your wall throughout the day, as colors appear differently at different times of the day.