5 Tips to Choose the Right Paint Color Every Time

Posted: November, 20, 2023 | Categories: Buyer Resources | By Melanie Fonville

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Choosing the right paint color can often feel like an impossible task, but with these five tips, we can help you make your Pinterest board a reality. 


Identify existing colors.

Take a look at the items you already have. Is there a decor item that you love that may clash with your new vision? Are there a few colors that you are already gravitating towards in your furniture? This is especially important for wood tones as they come with their own undertones & complexities that you should consider. Quick Trick: It can be hard to correctly discern color on camera. When selecting paint at the hardware store, go first to the area where they keep wood flooring samples. Grab the one that looks closest to your floors or wood furniture and take it with you to the paint section.


Focus on the home as a whole. 

While it may be more affordable, especially if you’re painting based on a builder’s allowance, your entire home does not need to be one color. While a home painted entirely in Sherwin-Williams Agreeable Gray can be a beautiful clean slate from which to add your personal touches, if you’re a more colorful person there’s no need to be afraid! Choosing one color palette of three to five colors that you use throughout your house will create cohesion while keeping your personality front and center. When painting one room at a time, build on step one, by considering the color palette you’ve already created, intentional or otherwise.  

Choosing a Color Palette 

While this may seem like a stressful step in which you hold the fate of your entire home in the balance, here are a couple of tips:  

  • Undertone: It is important to know that all colors, even grays, have warm or cool undertones! Knowing the undertones of the new paint color you add to your home can be the difference between a clashing or inviting vibe.    
  • 60-30-10 Rule: This rule has a variety of different applications but can help you add color while maintaining a balance. You use a primary color 60% of the time; a secondary color 30% of the time; and an accent color 10% of the time. 
  • Terminology: While you may not need to know every one of these and what they mean, it may be helpful, especially when working with a professional, to understand the difference between hue, tone, shade, tint, and saturation.


Consider how the room relates to other spaces in your home.

If the room is a main living area, like your living room, dining room, or kitchen, is it open-concept? A good rule of thumb is any room you can see from the room you’re painting should be painted the same color. This makes the overall space feel bigger and enhances the openness. Conversely, if you want a room to stand out, like a grand entryway, you can paint it a contrasting color to really set the tone.  


Look to the function of the room for inspiration.

1 in 3 Americans are not getting enough sleep, according to the National Institutes of Health, and many experts say that crafting a bedroom that is conducive to a good night’s sleep is a great first step. Try serene colors and experiment with moodier, darker tones than you might use in the rest of the house. 

Color Meanings

For this step, familiarize yourself with color meanings, though different tones, as well as your own personal opinions, may color (no pun intended!) your judgment of these meanings.  

  • Red: power & passion
  • Orange: joy & creativity
  • Yellow: happiness & energy
  • Green: growth & freshness
  • Blue: tranquility & intelligence
  • Purple: luxury & creativity
  • Black: power & elegance
  • White: cleanliness & peacefulness  


Consider the room’s light.

Both natural and artificial light can have an impact on how colors look in your space and what effect they will achieve. A lighter color in a darker room and a darker color in a lighter room may end up producing the same results. If you have a room that struggles to get afternoon sun, painting it a light, warm color will help enhance the sun’s effects. Can’t decide between a few very similar colors? Paint patches on your walls to see how they change throughout the day to help you select the right one.  


Painting your whole house or even just a room can seem daunting, but with these five tips, you can become an expert in color and take your home to the next level. 


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