How to Pick the Perfect Paint Color


We've all experienced painting paralysis before. You’re re-doing a room and you know that a new coat of paint will make all the difference. You pick a color out, paint a small piece of wall, but hate it. And then you pick another, and it’s still not quite right. I’ve been there more times than I’d like to admit. :) But I'm a true believer that a fresh coat of paint can completely transform a space, and I know how much of a pain it can be to get it right—so, after much practice of painting and re-painting, I’m sharing these tips to help you figure out How to Pick Out the Perfect Paint Color:

Paint color -Sadie Road

1.     Find your inspiration. Pinterest is KEY. Friends, if you’re not on Pinterest, you must join immediately. Make a board for the room you’re painting and pin rooms that mimic the feel you’re going for. You can often find the name of the color from the link as a starting point. Jot down a few names of general shades you like. Another option is to use your existing décor as inspiration—use a rug or throw pillows with colors you can draw from!

2.     Pick up paint swatches. Head to the store with the names and pictures to find swatches. Look at the undertones and see if they line up with the inspiration you’re using. The best way to help narrow down the options is to look at the darkest color on the swatch, and/or hold the color up next to a true, bright white. Pick out several swatches to bring home.

Tip: I like to keep paint neutral and use other accessories to bring in pops of color. Lighter walls bring a clean, crisp and serene feeling to a space. So, my biggest piece of advice to keep in mind: Unless you know you're going for a bold statement, go for a light neutral color.

3.     Tape the swatches to your wall. The goal is to narrow it down to 3 swatches or less. Here are a few steps:

  • Set the lighting in your room so it resembles how your room looks during most of the day.
  • Tape the swatches to your wall so you can step back and have a good look.
  • Eliminate those swatches you know you won't use.
  • Once you have only three swatches, go for the color at the top of each swatch.

Tip: Paint will always appear darker when it dries, and going with the lightest color in that palette will have the undertones you like while creating a bright, crisp color. I never recommend the colors in the middle of the swatch--go with the top and if it’s too light, try the second from the top.

4.     Buy pint samples and test your top 3. So you have your three swatches and going to get samples of the lightest shade of each. Here are a couple tips to consider when painting the samples.

  • We know it will appear darker when it’s dry so give it some time and check back.
  • Look at the sample during different times of the day as the lighting will also change the appearance of the color.
  • Give it some time—let the samples sit on the wall for a few days and then make your decision. 

5.     Match it up: You have your color picked out, so the hard part is done! But don’t throw your swatch away just yet. Use the swatch of the color you picked out as a guide for other colors in the room. Maybe you can find curtains or pillows that tie together with the walls. If doing more than one room, lay the color swatches next to one another to ensure you have a cohesive look. They don’t have to be in the exact same color family, but they should match.

If you have no idea where to start and want to save some time browsing through Pinterest for your inspiration, here are a few of my favorites to get you started:

White is the new grey. I never thought I’d say that because I LOVE grey (still do, and always will) but when it comes to walls, the right shade of white is the perfect backdrop for a room. Here’s proof:

A gorgeous entryway with white on white on white from  Studio McGee . 

A gorgeous entryway with white on white on white from Studio McGee

Especially in bedrooms and bathrooms, I go for a light, serene color:  

The most calming, all white bedroom by  Jillian Harris . 

The most calming, all white bedroom by Jillian Harris

Really, really light blues and greens always grab my eye as well.  The entire new collection for Quiet Comfort by HGTV HOMETM by Sherwin-Williams is AMAZING! Here's one of the colors:

The new Quiet Comfort Collection from  HGTV HOME TM  by Sherwin-Williams  as shown on  Jillian Harris ' blog.

The new Quiet Comfort Collection from HGTV HOMETM by Sherwin-Williams as shown on Jillian Harris' blog.

Well that's it for today, friends. Happy Friday, and Happy Painting!