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7 Things to Do Before Choosing a Paint Color


Many people who have decided to paint a room in their home have made the mistake of choosing a paint color that they really don’t like once they start painting. Sometimes they may decide to just go with it. Other times, they put the lid back on the paint and start again at square one.

Choosing paint colors is important. After all, you’ll have to live with your choice day-in and day-out until you decide to paint again. Here are seven things to do before making a final choice on a paint color:

  1. Look at Paint Chip Cards

If you’ve ever been somewhere where the paint is sold, you’ve likely seen the small cards in what seems like every color imaginable that you can use to select a paint color. Take some time looking at the different color families to see what you like.

Some cards even contain color palettes that are designed to complement each other. So the colors won’t be from the same family, but they look pleasing to the eye when they are close to each other.

  1. Focus on the Colors Present in Your Home

Think about the color elements in your home. For example, if you have a fireplace, what color is the brick, stone or other material? Or, if you have curtains or rugs, what color scheme are they? Unless you’re planning to give your home a makeover, you should try to choose paint colors that will complement the colors already in your home.

  1. Invest in Some Paint Samples

Looking at paint chips to get an idea of what colors you like and what might go with your furnishings is one thing. But to really be able to tell if you will like the color you’ve chosen, you should buy some actual paint samples.

It used to be that the smallest paint sample you could buy was a quart, but now, depending on the manufacturer, you can get much smaller samples in sizes, such as 8 ounces, which just cost a few dollars.

Buying a small sample that just costs a few dollars is much cheaper than buying a gallon of paint and finding out you don’t like the color.

  1. Apply the Paint to a Scrap Piece of Drywall

You can try out the different colors on your actual walls if you want to, but it might not give you the most accurate idea of color unless you paint at least a couple of coats.

The problem with trying out paint on your walls is that if you decide you don’t like the color, then you will have to cover up the two coats of paint in the spot you painted with the color you do decide on. Then, that part of the wall might end up looking different than the rest of the wall.

As an alternative, you can try out the color by painting two coats of each color on a separate piece of scrap drywall, which gives you the advantage of moving the painted drywall around to different areas of your home so that you can see how it looks.

  1. Look at the Paint in All Different Shades of Light

Once you have different pieces of drywall painted, go into the different rooms of your home and look at the paint under both natural light and artificial light to see how it looks. Try this at different times of the day as well.

  1. Pick the Right Sheen

The sheen of the paint you choose is also important. Choices of sheens are flat, eggshell, satin, semigloss and high-gloss. Flat paint has a dull finish. It’s often used on ceilings or in low-traffic areas of the home. Eggshell has a similar finish to flat paint, but it’s more durable. Satin has a very low sheen.

In high-traffic areas or areas with moisture, you’ll likely want to choose a semigloss paint. Semigloss paint offers a beautiful finish that can be cleaned if it becomes greasy or dirty.

  1. Pick a High-Quality Paint

Unless you want to have to repaint sooner rather than later, it’s best if you spring for high-quality paint, which can run around $50 a gallon. Higher-quality paint results in a more even color due to its finer pigments. Plus, it contains a better quality of resins, which improves durability.

Even though you may pay more up front, you’ll actually use less paint per wall than you would if you bought a cheaper grade paint that provides an inferior amount of coverage per coat. For best results, consult with a professional painters who will be able to recommend a high-quality brand of paint that will work for your project.


  1. Mary A Ambrosino says

    Good advice before tackling that paint job.