How to Pick the Perfect Paint Color, the First Time

Are you a rockstar at choosing a paint color for a room? Can you tell by picking up a paint chip that it will be perfect? That it won’t be too bright or dark or the wrong shade?

I can’t.

I’m getting better though.

After my struggle with the paint color I chose for our office on a whim (it’s so bright) that I’m not crazy about, I decided to put more thought into these decisions. I chose a handful of paint chips and tacked them on the wall, checking them in various light and comparing them.

Then, my favorite bloggers, Young House Love, posted about how to pick the right paint color. They suggest more muddy colors than saturated because they tend to be a little overwhelming when applied to large walls in a room. Read about their post here. It’s fabulous.

Fortunately I read that post before I picked a color. I had a few paint chips up on the wall of the guest room for about a week. What made me happy is that I didn’t change the paint color from what I had originally liked after reading YHL’s post. I must be getting better at this.

Since I have painted the guest room and love the color, I am confident in sharing how I chose it.

pick paint color

  • Look at a lot of paint chips
  • Look at the darkest color on the chip- it will tell you the true hues of the color and how saturated it is
  • Hang the paint chips on the wall and look at them in the light that will be in the room
  • Compare paint chips. That helps you to see true hues and how bright/saturated/muddy colors are
  • Give it time- don’t decide in the store. Take the chips home and investigate.

So here are the paint colors I was considering for our front living room and guest room:

IMG_9875Did you think, “they all look the same?”

I was only considering the lightest of each chip, so let’s look closer…IMG_9882On the left, “Pirate Coast” is too blue. The middle, “Luna,” has more minty green and grey, making it “muddier” and so not as in-your-face. On the right, “Delicate Pearl,” which was too green and too minty.

Still feeling lost? Well, the key is to look at the darkest on the chips…

IMG_9888The back two, too green and too saturated. On top, more grey, less saturated, and thus, more muddy. This tips me off that the lighter color would have the same qualities.

What did I choose? In case you couldn’t tell from the writing on the chip….

IMG_9887Luna by Valspar! After much deliberation for over a week, I was confident in my choice.

I chose Luna because as YHL puts it, it’s muddier. It has more grey/sage tones instead of blues. Since it’s less saturated than the others, I hoped it wouldn’t feel as overwhelming on the walls.

Want to see a peak of the color on the walls? We are almost done with the room and will share a full reveal soon!

photoWhat do you think? I think my new techniques worked! Halleluiah!

I used these same techniques for choosing a paint color for the front living room and it got painted a few weeks ago. Y’all. I am in LOVE. I want to repaint the whole house. Seriously.

We’re not gonna get that crazy and re-paint…. yet. But if you are wondering how to chose a paint color for a room in your home, try this out!

Have you ever had problems choosing a paint color? Are you great at it? I would love to hear your stories or tips!


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