How to Choose Paint Colors: 7 Tops Tips & Ideas

At Home With Dia
by At Home With Dia

I’ll help you unlock the potential of paint to transform your spaces by teaching you how to choose paint colors for your home. The right paint helps you to transform your living space into a masterpiece without breaking the bank.

Let’s learn tips, tricks, and ideas for choosing paint colors to brighten up your space or make a big statement in any room.

Blue color paint palette

1. Consider color palettes

Picking paint color may seem like a small decision but it’s one of the most critical choices in decorating. The right color can transform the look and vibe of a space.

When it comes to considering color palettes, what appeals to you most? It helps to understand the basics.

Cool blues in a bedroom
Living room with cool-toned paint colors
Calming bedroom
Cool colors like blues, greens, and purples, or colors with these undertones, create a refreshing and calming ambiance.

Vibrant and cozy warm colors
Yellow and red rooms for a vibrant warm cozy feeling
Warm colors like yellow, red, and orange add vibrancy and coziness.

Neutral black and white
Neutral colors 1
Neutral colors 2
Neutral colors like black, white, gray, taupe, cream, and tan are versatile options that work with cool and warm colors.

Cool tone accent wall complements the neutral colors for serene feeling

Pro-Tip 1 All warm or all cool

When selecting paint colors, particularly for accent walls, it’s often a good idea to have all cool or all warm colors. For example, if you want to paint an accent wall but are unsure about what complements your non-neutral colored walls.

Warm-colored accent wall combined with warm colors on walls
Consider choosing either all cool or all warm colors for a cohesive look. An example would be choosing a terra-cotta accent wall with pale yellow or warm beige walls.

Dark blue in a dining room
Neutral bedroom
If your walls are already in a neutral color, you have the flexibility to opt for either cool or warm tones for accent walls.

Warm tones
Cool tones

Pro-Tip 2 Fixed elements matter

Consider the color of the foundational and fixed elements of the room such as countertops, wall tiles, or floors that can’t be easily changed. Work with them, not against them, for a harmonious look.

Matching undertones in countertop and walls
For example, for cool gray countertops, use cooler tones for your walls.

Using wooden and natural accessories to add warmth
If you want to avoid making a room feel too cold, incorporate a few wooden pieces and accessories in subdued warm colors for a well-rounded look.

Narrow down your paint color selection

2. Narrow down your paint color selections

Narrow down your paint options to only three or four colors. To choose the perfect colors, know your objective–to add a pop of color or an overall appealing shade that works throughout your home.

Here are the seven steps to choosing the right color:

Accent wall in bedroom
Overall paint color in a bedroom
1 Define your paint goal–a bold accent wall or an overall look?

Paint chips
2 Gather paint chips you are drawn to.

Looking at samples in artificial and natural light
3 Look at chips in artificial and natural light.

Comparing paint colors side by side
4 Compare paint chips side-by-side, and eliminate those that don’t match your desired cool or warm color palette goal.

Placing paint samples on white paper first
5 Place your paint chips on a white piece of paper with a 1 to 2-inch spacing around each color for accurate color assessments.

Narrowing down paint colors
6 Eliminate colors that don’t resonate with you so you can get to three or four colors.

Comparing paint colors
7 Compare the ones you have narrowed down to make the best choice.

Testing paint colors

3. Test your paint colors

Don’t trust the color of the paint chips. Test the paint color before you make a final decision. Get a large white poster board, and paint 8-inch x 8-inch color swatches on the board keeping them apart for clarity. Bigger samples are better.

Peel-and-stick paint samples
repainted peel-and-stick sample
Prepainted peel-and-stick samples

You can also order prepainted peel-and-stick samples from the paint company’s website or other sites that offer these samples, such as Attach those to your poster board if you don’t want to paint.

4. Spend time with your color options

Consider painting multiple poster boards or multiple samples. This is helpful when picking similar shades, such as various tones of off-white or gray.

This technique helps you avoid the influence of neighboring wall colors. Don’t paint the wall color samples directly on the existing wall color.

Shift the boards to different walls so you can see how the colors interact with changing light conditions, such as in…

Morning natural light
morning natural light…

Mid-day natural light
mid-day natural light…

Evening light
and evening light.

North-facing room
North-facing rooms tend to cast a cooler bluish hue in the space.

South-facing room
South-facing rooms have a warmer yellowish tone.

Sun’s reflection on a wall

The sun’s reflection from nearby elements such as buildings or landscapes can impact the room’s color perception.

White wall with a pink tint from brick

For instance, a white wall may take on a pinkish tint during the day if your room faces a red brick house.

Bold accent wall in a bedroom
Accent wall example
Gray and white decor
Dark gray accent wall
Navy blue accent wall

5. Accent walls are a great way to try out a color

If there’s a bold color that you love, why not do an accent wall? Typically, the best choice for an accent wall is the one you see when you walk into the room.

Painted door and trim
Painted trim and doors
Painted doors and walls

6. Use paint to enhance your home's features

Consider painting your doors, baseboards, and trim in a contrasting color to your walls rather than just white and cream. Use a bold color while keeping your walls light.

Painted built-in storage

Make built-ins stand out by painting them in contrasting colors to draw attention to them.

Bookcase back with a contrasting color

Paint the backs of bookcases a contrasting color to make a statement.

Vertical stripes painted on a wall

7. Give dimension to your flat walls

Paint the walls with a light muted color for a serene ambiance. Then add two light tones of the same color in wide vertical stripes on a single wall giving the illusion of a taller ceiling.

Diagonal stripes on a wall
Vertical stripes in a kids' room

Use stripes to be adventurous in a children’s room.

Horizontal stripes in a guest room
Horizontal stripe of green
Horizontal stripe of pink

Go vertically or horizontally with stripes.

Space stencils and decals in a kids' room
Tropical theme plant decals on pink accent wall
Stencils and decals

Also, experiment with stencils and decals in kid’s rooms and laundry rooms.

How to choose paint colors

Knowing how to choose paint colors for your home is truly a game-changer when it comes to decorating. I hope these designer tips help you understand the process of choosing paint colors. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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