7 Tips for Picking the Perfect Paint Color

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Picking a paint color is something that a lot of people dread.  Those that I have talked to that really hate it always tell me some of the reasons they hate picking paint colors are because “it’s just so overwhelming” and “there are too many colors to choose from” or “what if I get it wrong?”  If you’re one of those people the first thing I am going to tell you is, trust yourself!  You know what you like, start there.  Don’t worry so much about getting it wrong, the worst that can happen is that maybe you have to paint over it.  Try following these 7 Tips for picking the perfect paint color and you’ll be on the road to becoming a paint color expert!

7 Tips for picking the perfect paint color – Tip 1:  Always go a shade lighter than you think!

Once you actually get the color into your room it will look more saturated than it does on the paint swatch card and you don’t want to overwhelm your space.  You will definitely be able to achieve the exact look you are going for by choosing one color above the color you think you want on the swatch card.

7 Tips for picking the perfect paint color – Tip 2:  Don’t worry too much about your paint color EXACTLY matching your décor!

You want your space to have life and movement and the best way to achieve that is to layer in different shades of color.  If you’re afraid of your paint not matching you can always throw in some accessories in that color at the end to tie everything together.  The best color palettes always have dimension.  So again, don’t worry!

7 Tips for picking the perfect paint color – Tip 3:  Try not to take your paint colors TOO literal. 

You know you love purple and definitely want to incorporate it into your space; don’t make a beeline to your typical purple.  Try something different.  Perhaps instead of a regular purple try an eggplant shade or maybe even a lilac or lavender instead.  This will make your color palette a bit more sophisticated.  If you really want that royal purple you can always bring it in with your accessories.  Or maybe try buying just a quart of that royal purple and using it at the back of your bookcases or maybe on that ugly end table that needs a face-lift.

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7 Tips for picking the perfect paint color – Tip 4: If you want to go BOLD! I suggest going bold in an accent wall.

Bold colors are great!  But they can get overwhelming pretty quickly.  So if you’re nervous or unsure just paint one accent wall in your room that bold color.  Paint the remaining walls a neutral tone.  I suggest a shade of gray.  Gray is really “in” right now and in my opinion, gray is timeless.  There are many shades of gray (at least 50, haha) and it is a very versatile color.  There are warm shades and cool shades, dark shades and light shades, so give it try!

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7 Tips for picking the perfect paint color – Tip 5:  Try a test swatch on your wall.

Paint a test swatch on the wall in the room where you intend to use the color. Be sure to paint it large enough and on multiple walls to get an accurate view of how the color will look in different lighting and under shadows, etc. This is a very important step to get a true sense of the color, as the colors on the paint chip cards or fan decks may not truly show you how the color looks when it stands on its own.  Use this as a way to compare paint colors and get a gauge for how the color will look in different lighting.  Check the swatches in the daytime and in the evening.  Remember the color will vary a bit depending on the lighting.

Bonus Tip: This is an important one! Make sure that you are putting at least two coats of paint on the wall, especially if you are going over a very light color or very dark color.  Those colors will shine through your paint and in the end you won’t get a good sense of the actual color.

7 Tips for picking the perfect paint color – Tip 6:  Don’t panic! It will dry darker.

So, you have selected your paint color and you’re super excited, so excited that you want to get it on your wall right away, but then your heart sinks because, why?  “OMG! It’s too light, I hate it!”  Please don’t panic! IT WILL DRY DARKER, repeat after me… “It will dry darker”.  I promise.  Once you’ve finished painting grab your paint tools, turn the lights off, leave the room and don’t go back in for at least 15-30 minutes.  I know it might seem like a long time, but if you’re the anxious type, you need to! It’ll save you some anxiety and this is the perfect time to clean-up after yourself and wash your paint tools.  When you go back in 15-30mins later, you’ll feel much more confident in your paint color selection abilities! Trust me!

7 Tips for picking the perfect paint color – Tip 7:  If you’re still nervous about it…

Schedule a 2 hour Paint Color Consultation with me and I can help you pick a color palette for your space that you will love and that will reflect your personal style!

Asha Maxey: Interior Designer & Event Stylist. Asha-Maia Design | Interiors + Events - Alexandria, VA, Arlington, VA, Washington, DC and surrounding areas.