12 Tips on Choosing the Right Paint Colors - Life With Lorelai

12 Tips On Choosing The Right Paint Colors

12 Tips on Choosing the Right Paint Colors - Life With Lorelai

12 Tips On Choosing The Right Paint Colors

What should you take into consideration?

You may have read previously that we are turning a room in Luke’s house into a Guest Room / Rory Room. You can read about some of our Bedding Ideas, here. A major part of re-doing any room is painting, but what color do you choose? Choosing the right Paint Colors is always one of the most difficult decisions to make.

Painting a house or just a room is a large investment — in time, hard work, and money. Add to this the absolute plethora of color choices, and a decision is not easy. So, how do you choose just the right paint colors for your wants, wishes, and needs?  Luckily, I have a dozen tips to aid you in making this decision, and lead you to a color that you will love.


Sample Chips, get your Tips here…

  1. What mood do you want to create and inspire?
    Different rooms in your home are used for different types of living. Think about how you live in the room you are planning to paint, and what feeling you want the room to express. Our guest room for example, we want to bright and cheery, yet cozy and relaxing.
  1. Look for color scheme inspiration.
    Find color inspiration from your other home decor, fabrics, magazines, Pinterest Pins, Color Scheme swatches, or Open Houses. The Design Seeds website is an awesome resource for color inspiration.
  1. Gather paint brochures.
    Not only will paint brochures give you ideas for color schemes, but you can see the actual paint colors that are available from the brands of paint you are interested in using.
  1. Consider the furniture style and color.
    Think about your furniture style. If you have shabby chic furniture, you are probably not going to want something ultra modern and cold.


  1. Think about transition and flow.
    This is important. You want your home to feel cohesive and inviting, and not just a bunch of chopped up rooms stuck together. Pay attention to what you see of the room you are painting from the other rooms and hallways on your house, as well as what of the rest of the house you see from the room you are painting.
  1. Choose a basic 5-color palette for the house.
    Color adds warmth, and depth, and provides a pop. It touches the soul and makes you feel. So, in conjunction with the previous item, transition and flow, decide on a color scheme for the entire house. Now, this does not mean precise colors, but rather just a basic scheme. Pick three to five colors — 1. A White; 2. A Neutral; 3. An Accent Color; 4. A Coordinating Color; and 5. Another Coordinating Color.
  1. Get sample paint cards or strips, and place them on the wall you will be painting.
    You are re-paingintg anyway, so go ahead and tape those sample cards right to the wall. Tape from the back so you leave the color fully showing. Leave them up for days, a week, or more.
  1. Make note of lighting (both natural and electric), and understand undertones.
    Light plays on colors in different ways, and differing light can bring out or mute the undertones in the paint colors. What are the undertones in the colors you like versus the colors you are not liking? Yellow, Red, Blue, Green? The easiest way to determine undertone is by holding the paint chip next to a white piece of paper. It is easier to find a color you like once you know what color group you favor.


  1. Narrow your choices to 2 – 5 colors, and buy sample jars of paint.
    You can purchase small sample jars of paint. They are not that expensive, and it is by far the best way to help you truly decide on a color. Sample cans cost a lot less than a gallon or two of the wrong color.
  1. Paint samples onto Poster Board to make large color swatches and hang on the wall.
    This is one of my favorite tips. Hang poster boards on the wall and paint them with your selected paint colors. You have just made a large paint swatch. This gives you a much better idea of what the true paint color is, and how it will look on your wall.
  1. Check paint swatches at varying times of day and lighting.
    Look at your painted swatches at all times of the day and night, and with various lighting, so you know how your color will look under every circumstance.
  1. DO NOT RUSH into a decision.
    This is probably the most important of all the tips. Paint is something you live with day in and day out for years on end. In the long run, waiting a few weeks or a month to choose the right paint colors is really no time at all.


I hope you find these tips helpful in choosing the right paint colors for your project. If you have any other tips or suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

Do you have any painting projects planned?

Where do you like to find your inspiration?






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87 thoughts on “12 Tips On Choosing The Right Paint Colors”

  1. These are all great tips. I always buy samples when I narrow it down to 2-3 colors. I’m repainting my dining room as soon as it warms up a little. It’s been red for years and I want to go in a different direction. I love to paint (except for the trim work).

  2. Tip number 8 is the biggest one for my house. It always looks different in the store than in my lighting. I like the swatches you posted with pictures. That really helped me visualize!

    One more tip I would add, all be it a costly one…..if your stuck between 2 or 3 colors, buy a small can of paint of each and test them in the back of a closet. You can primer over them later.

  3. These are GREAT tips! I love to paint, but I’ve redone our rooms so many times I think the square footage has shrunk from coats of paint. 🙂 I hope they make technology some day that will change the paint color with the push of a button!

  4. Good thoughts on color choices. I especially love the reminder of how lighting can effect how it looks. Something many people don’t think of until too late!

  5. Great tips! I was just at Orchard Supply Hardware (OSH) looking at paint colors. This will help me narrow my choices down when we are ready to purchase.

  6. Thanks for this great information on choosing paint colors. I will definitely be pulling this up next time I need to go to the paint store!

  7. I am lucky right now I dont have to choose paint colors, but your tips for in the future are helpful.
    I always enjoy stopping by, and thanks for sharing on Oh My Heartsie Girl Friday Feature to share!!
    Have a great weekend, Karren

      1. Hi Lorelia, Just wanted to say hi, and to let you know I chose your post for my Feature Friday this week.
        Stop by and add other links.
        Have a great weekend!
        Much love

  8. Really great tips! It’s amazing how lighting affects a color. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  9. What a good post with great tips! One year, I could not decide the color for anything and painting the wall with 26 different strips hoping one color would jump out at me! lol Pinned and shared #ibabloggers

  10. Thanks for sharing this advice on choosing the right paint colors! I think that knowing the mood you want your room to make is a great starting point for choosing a color. A light and airy room usually means that the walls are a lighter color, for example. Using inspiration, however, is a great way to narrow down your color choices since you are looking at photos or images of walls or colors.

  11. These are some really great tips for choosing the right type of paint for my home. I have an idea of how I want my home to be painted, but I’m not sure if the colors I’ve chosen will look good in the rooms that I want to use them for. It seems like I should go with tip #9 and use sample jars of paint to find out which colors look best in the rooms in my house.

  12. My wife has been begging for us to paint the exterior of our house. We aren’t quite sure what color would look good, though. I’m sure my wife will like the idea of looking for the right color scheme, like you pointed out. We’ll be sure to try a few of these tips out to see if they help. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Tip 10 is such a good idea! I’ve heard a lot of tips about taping the swatches you get at the store onto the wall and looking at them throughout the day, but your tip makes so much more sense. Of course it’s better to see the actual paint in action! I think I’ve almost narrowed down my paint colors, but I’ll have to experiment with this before I give the painters the final go ahead.

  14. Lorelai, tip 6 sounds like a neat idea to maybe try out when it comes to painting a home. After seeing several fabric swatch cards like the ones in the article it got us picturing the same colors in our walls. Our plan is to repaint the walls and ceilings of our home since it’s been a long time that we’ve ever did a paint job around the house.

  15. Thanks for the tips. My wife and I have never painted much, but we both know we want to re-paint our living room. I like your idea of painting on a poster board first. How big does the board need to be in order to tell if the color will make the room feel far too dark?

  16. Wow, I love the tip about painting poster boards! I was never brave enough to put multiple paint swatches side by side onto the wall, because I hate the idea of painting over it and having one spot be dark, and one spot be light. You could even paint two or three the same color for an even bigger color swatch. I’ll add that to my painting supplies list!!

  17. Great. Thanks for this useful information. Actually, i was thinking about to paint my home with beautiful colors. These tips are very beneficial for me. From last one week, i am little bit confused over my home painting. But after reading these tips, i feel relaxed.

  18. Lately, I have been feeling like I should have a painter come and paint my house, because I just like the idea of making everything look new again. However, I have no idea what colors I should pick or even how to go about deciding on that. I really want to make sure that I pick out the best 5-color palette. If I were to use a soft gray as a neutral and a navy blue as an accent color, then what coordinating colors should I use?

    1. Hi, Faylinn! My suggestion would be to hit Pinterest. Do a search for color schemes, and tons of palettes will come up–fantastic inspiration. Find a few that strike your fancy, and go from there. 🙂 Have a great day.

      1. Thank you so much for your advice! Pinterest is a great tool, but I haven’t used it in a long time. I am definitely going to look at some color schemes on there though.

  19. According to the Indian Oldest Mythology i.e vastu shastra, One should never choose black color for the bed rooms. And always choose light colors for children bedrooms.
    It will be good if you will opt for vastu shastra for home decor.

  20. I think that you need to sit down and actually take time putting together the different rooms, the colors of the walls, and the furniture colors. That can be really hard to choose from because there are so many great colors to choose from. I also think it all depends on the rooms that you are doing.

  21. I totally agree with your tip to buy a couple sample jars of paint. The last thing you want to do is to paint your whole house, only to realize afterwards that you don’t like the color. Using a little bit of sample paint in the right spaces can help you take into account how the color will look compared to its surroundings and lighting. Thanks for all the tips!

  22. This is some really great advice for anyone looking to paint any part of their home! I’ve been looking to have the exterior of my home painted, so naturally the decision of color has been incredibly hard. I especially liked your point about rushing into the decision; we had an appointment scheduled with the painters but I actually had to reschedule because I still hadn’t settled on a color. Thanks so much for writing!

  23. We rushed into a decision when it came to painting our master bath and bedroom when we were living in our old home. Our bedroom was painted with Florida Mango and our bathroom was some awful turquoise blue-we had the Miami Dolphins colors going on—I hated it!! Saving this for later! #HomeMattersParty

  24. Thank you for all of these tips and tricks. I personally have a hard time picking just ONE color palette I want for my room. I love so many colors that it causes issues! Plus, my moody self makes it hard to be satisfied with one set of colors.

  25. I always end up like a deer in headlights at the paint counter. I love color, but I’m always afraid of choosing the wrong one after a horrible episode we’ve dubbed the “Pepto Bismal pink” bathroom (it’s no longer pink, by the way). Thanks for sharing your terrific tips! #HomeMattersParty

    1. Perhaps the episode would be better dubbed the Pepto Abysmal pink…LOL Yes, choosing a color can be overwhelming, but using these tips really help in making the right paint color choice. 🙂

  26. Ooh, great tips! I am so bad at choosing paint colors for a room. What I think is going to look beautiful ends up being horrible. 🙂 I really want to repaint our dining room/ school room to a lighter color since it is a deep burgundy right now. I feel like we need a more cheery atmosphere, yet still conducive to learning! #HomeMattersParty

  27. Awesome tips! I especially love collecting paint chips. They are the perfect way to maintain a color scheme in mind as well as being able to mix and match to see just how well colors will flow together. Thanks so much for sharing!

  28. Painting can be stressful, especially when you can’t find the right color. I love the tips you have here for solving that problem. I have never tried gathering paint brochures before, but I bet that would help a lot.

  29. Hey Lorelai
    I have been planning to decorate my kids room.I was very confused to chose a color. I kept your tips in mind and narrowed the choice of colors and finally I’ve decided the color.Thank you so much for informative post.

  30. I truly appreciate you talking about the importance of taking into account your furniture’s color and style when choosing a paint color for your home. As far as I know, it is important to make sure you consult with a professional if you are not sure how this process work and how to get it done properly. It makes sense that asking someone you trust can help you avoid spending money on too much paint and make sure the right tools are used for the job.

  31. That makes sense that you can tape cards to the wall. You’re painting it over anyway. Using this tip will let you see how the color looks in the lighting- light affects how we see color.

  32. I appreciate you are post, explain each and everything pretty well 🙂 The door color look amazing , i would love to paint as similar on my kitchen door 🙂 Thanks for sharing !

  33. Choosing the color for painting can be stressful especially when you can’t find the right, I love the tips you have shared here it will helps to get idea to choosing a right paint color. Thanks for sharing!

  34. Thanks for giving us this wonderful ideas. I’m really having a hard time on choosing the right paint combinations.

  35. Hi Lorelai, thank you for these tips, they are all great. What I still have problems with is understanding undertones, which seems to be simple. I may probably be able to finally understand it once I settle down and start experimenting with different projects.

  36. My room is a very strange brown-pink color, so I’ve been wanting to repaint it. It really helped when you mentioned that I should get sample paint cards and place them on the walls I’ll be painting, as it can help me decide if those shades are best for my room. Thank you so much for all the great tips on how to choose the right shade of paint for a room.

  37. Light color choices such as blues, lavenders, pinks and soft yellows are great choices for a romantic feeling of tranquility and restfulness in a room. If you are looking for a calm ambience in your bedroom, choose lighter shades of either cool or warm colors.

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