4 Tips to Choose the Best Paint for Interior Walls

Do you feel like you struggle to pick out a paint color when you go to decorate a room? I’ve got four questions you need to ask yourself before you go to the paint store. 

These tips will help you pick a color that gives you the look you want. If you read to the end, you will learn the one thing that I always do before I paint a room. I’ll also share my favorite neutrals, why I like to use a neutral color palette, and the first thing that you’re going to want to consider.

4 Questions to Ask Before You Buy Paint

1. Is there Natural Light in your Room?

The lighting in your room is crucial. If your room has windows that face south, it tends to get a lot more warm light.

warm light from south windows

If your room has windows that face north, it tends to get a lot of cooler light. The same color can look completely different depending on the windows. 

cool light from north facing windows

This is where you can use different tints and shades of color to achieve the look that you want, even if you have north windows or south windows. I did a previous post where I talked about tints and shades and what that means with color theory.

2. What is the Mood?

The second thing to ask yourself is, “What mood do I want to have in this room?” If you want the room to feel warm and cozy, you will want to stick to warmer colors with a warmer undertone. 

warm undertone paint

Whereas, if you want the room to feel relaxing and calm, you’ll want to gravitate toward colors with a cooler undertone.

cool calm  bedroom

3. What are the Fixed Elements?

The third thing to consider is the fixed elements in the room that you can’t change. In many cases, that’s the floor. It can also be things like the countertops or cabinetry. 

If the floor is a cool gray, you’re going to want to factor that into your color scheme. Do you want to use a cool color paint? Do you like the way that looks, or do you want to have a high contrast paint?

low contrast

If you have warm wood floors, do you want to use a warm paint so that you have a room without a lot of contrast. Or, do you want to contrast the floor with a cooler paint?

4. High Contrast or Low Contrast?

The fourth question you’re going to want to ask yourself is, “When I’m looking at inspiration photos, what’s the look I like?”

Do I like rooms that have a lot of contrast? 

high contrast room

Or, do I like rooms that don’t have a lot of contrast? This is how your fixed elements can help you set that look in your own room.

low contrast

How to Test Paint Samples

The thing you always want to do before you paint is go to the paint store and get some sample sized cans. Or, what I like to do is order Samplize. I order a bunch of different colors. I put them up on my wall and I leave them for a couple of days so that I can see the paint color at all different times of day with different lighting. This is something that would have saved me from many failed paint jobs. It’s inexpensive and you don’t have to damage the walls to do it.

Neutral Paint Color Tips

Let’s talk about neutrals and why I love to use neutrals for my paint. Depending on how long you’re going to stay in your home or your apartment, when you move out you’re going to have to paint it back to neutral. It doesn’t matter if you own or are renting. Either your realtor tells you to use a neutral color or your landlord tells you to do it. 

I like to work with neutral colors because you can achieve any color scheme without the walls. I can make my room blue, I can make my room pink through all the other elements in the room. I don’t have to paint the walls.

Now, let me share my favorite neutrals. First, let’s look at Benjamin Moore white colors. I like Simply White, Chantilly Lace, and White Down. You can see there are different levels of warmth even in a white color. 

For neutral grays, I like Metropolitan Gray, Gray Owl, and Classic Gray. When it comes to a more of a greige color, which is a combination of gray and beige, I love Balboa Mist, Edgecomb Gray, and Revere Pewter.

I tend to shop at Sherwin-Williams because that is the paint store closest to me. If you’re looking at paint there, they have a set of warm neutral paints and cool neutral paints. Let me give you an example. I painted my whole house in one shade of Sherwood-Williams gray. 

Now that you know the four things that you need to consider before you go paint shopping, it should make it easier for you to figure out your paint color. Ask yourself, “Do I want a paint that has a cool undertone or do I want a paint that has a warm undertone?” Remember to try out the paints before you paint your whole house or paint your whole room in one color. This can save you a lot of time and money. Be sure to try out samples.

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