Designer Paint Tips: Getting Your Paint Colors Right the First Time

So many colors to choose from, so little time! Selecting paint colors for your home or office can be overwhelming. The colors chosen for interior walls, ceilings, and trim have such an impact on the overall feel of a space, so it's understandable to be stressed about getting them right! 


1. Think about the colors you like before attacking the fan deck. Trying to look aimlessly through an entire paint deck is like finding a needle in a haystack. If you're just looking in one section of the deck, it's easier to hone in on the perfect hue. 

2. Remember the color will typically appear darker on the wall than on paper. If in doubt, go a shade lighter. 

3. Order larger samples from the paint manufacturer. Once you've narrowed down the options to three or four, order the largest sample swatches the manufacturer offers. You can usually get an 8.5x11 sheet free of charge. 

4. Tape the large paint samples up in the room and look at them at different times of day to see how the fluctuations in natural light affect the color. 

5. When you feel good about the way the paper samples look in the room, buy a sample pint or two and paint a swatch on the wall. 

6. Once you've got the wall color right, the ceiling color needs to be determined. In my opinion, a white ceiling with anything other than a white wall will stand out and draw attention to the ceiling. My advice is to paint the ceiling the same color as the walls but have the wall color cut by 25% or 50% with white, since it will appear darker on the ceiling. 

7. Last, the trim. If you have stained trim, the color of the stain will be a big factor in selecting the wall color. Often you'll want to select a paint color to balance the impact of stained trim. For example, if your wood trim has a more yellow-orange hue, green and blue tones can balance the trim stain, while yellow and orange tones would amplify it. For painted trim, you can go with a classic white, or match the wall color for a more contemporary look.