Tips For Choosing Interior Paint Colors

Do you want to paint your house, but you aren’t sure what color to choose? The number of paint colors on the market can make picking “the right” color so overwhelming. There are too many choices which can leave you paralyzed with indecision.

Before you go down that rabbit hole, think about your paint color as a backdrop only. Paint color doesn’t have to be the star of the show. This post is not for the people looking to make a statement with the wall color they choose. It’s for people who want to focus more on what’s in the room, not the color of the walls. That’s not to say that there is anything wrong with choosing a beautiful statement color for a room, but you can have a beautiful room without that.

Case in point, have you looked at many of Emily Henderson’s rooms? Many of them are painted white.

Unless you are looking to make a bold statement with paint, the wall color is not going to be the main thing that people notice. Think of wall paint like you would a good bra. It’s just the foundation, but people what MOST people really notice is your outfit.

The Argument for choosing paint last

Paint color is the backdrop for a room most of the time and that’s why you should choose it last. There are only a few sofas, rugs and drapes that you like enough to buy. Paint color is easier to change than furniture, and cheaper. Your paint color won’t make or break your room’s decor.

Choose the foundational pieces of your room before even look at paint. Buy your sofa, chairs, rugs and curtains and get them set up in the room. If you can wait, choose your art before choosing paint. Now you have a real idea of what color will complement the things in your room the best.

When I moved into my house I covered the green and purple walls with one neutral color (this is not what I said to do, but I knew purple and green had to go). I also knew that as I got settled and chose rugs and curtains then I could choose the paint more wisely.

Process for Choosing Paint color

Now that you have your main room elements, you can start looking at paint colors. Choose a few swatches that you like and bring them home and put then in your room. Before you actually paint, get a small 8oz sample of the paint and try it on your wall for at least a few days so you can see the paint in different lights.

If you have no idea which paint swatches you like here are a few tips:

  • Start with neutral tones like whites, creams, greys and greige. These colors can go with just about any style or decor. If you choose one of these they can stand the test of time.
  • Hold swatches up to your furnishings, drapes and art and see what tones you like. Start by holding up neutral cream/beige swatches to see if you like warmer tones. Next hold up grey tones to see if you like prefer cooler tones. Last hold up some greige tones (these are paints that are in between beige and grey).
  • See what room colors you gravitate to on Pinterest. Are you pinning rooms with white walls, creamy walls or greige walls.
  • If nothing stands out to you, ask friends and family to weigh in. If they are anything like mine, they won’t hold back telling you what they think.
  • Still not sure? Take four photos and email them in the comments to this post.
  • Look in your closet. You might be wondering why this would help. It won’t if you only wear black, but the chances are that when you look in your closet you will see one color that dominates. This is a color you are drawn to. This can be a good clue for the tint of your paint. When I look in my closet, it’s 60% blue. I chose a paint that coordinates nicely with blues because that’s the color I find myself liking for accessories.

If you are stuck, start with these four paint colors which can go with just about any decor.

BONUS TIP – Did you know you can get all of these paint colors at Home Depot? You don’t have to buy a $45-$60 gallon of paint at Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore. Home Depot has the color formulas for these paints and their paints are far less expensive.

Choosing a whole house paint color scheme

Your home can look more designed and pulled together if you have a color scheme that runs throughout the space. That doesn’t mean one color only, but colors that go together. This is especially true if you have an open floor plan because there are so many connected rooms. You really want the space to feel cohesive.

One easy way to accomplish this cohesive look is to choose paint colors from the same color chip. Here’s an example from Sherwin Williams using Agreeable Grey. You could use Anew Grey, which is one color darker or lighter in an adjacent room.

Agreeable Grey Paint Family

The Sherwin Williams web site has great information about what color trim looks good with each of their paints.

If you think this sounds too boring don’t despair. Even if you have an open concept, it probably doesn’t extend to bedrooms and bathrooms. These can be great places to try out some more bold choices for color on the walls like blue or dusty pink.

What Now?

If you are trying to choose a paint color and you’re struggling work on the rest of the room first. This will make it easier for you to try out paint swatches and really see what works with your things. Still stuck choosing a color, try one of the tips or reach out to me in the comments with photos.

If you feel overwhelmed by the number of paint choices you are not alone.  Read these helpful tips to help you narrow your choices.

If you enjoyed this post, you might want to read how to warm up a grey room and how to choose the perfect color palette for any room.

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One Comment

  1. Thanks for explaining that choosing a color scheme for the entire house can help the space look stylish and more put-together. I want to get my single-family home painted soon because it would help give me the inspiration to choose new furniture for the space. Keeping these tips about color in mind should help me end up with a finished product that looks great!

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