Tips for Picking Paint Colors

4 Tips for Picking Paint Colors You’ll Love

The number one question I get the most calls and emails about is ”What are your best tips for picking paint colors?” Followed by, “Can you pick paint colors for me?”

tips for picking paint colors

Picking out paint can be a daunting interior design task, but it does not have to be. Follow these 4 easy tips to pick paint colors you’ll love for years to come!

When picking out paint colors, the quality of the paint is imperative. Personally, I am a Sherwin Williams gal for life. The quality of paints and customer service at Sherwin Williams is amazing.  They have a great tool online to help you see what your room would look like. 

Tips for Picking Paint Colors, Tip #1 

Use Muted Color Tones

blue paint

When picking out a paint color, you almost always want to use a muted version of a color from your overall color scheme. These muted colors can be found in the Sherwin Williams color deck under the sections “Fundamentally Neutral” and “Essentials.” Nine times out of ten, I pick colors from one of these color palettes.

You may think you want to pick paint colors such as a bright red or yellow, but in most applications, your overall look will look best paired with a muted color paint. Save the bold colors for pops of color; instead of picking bright paint colors, use those colors in accessories. Understated colors are very versatile and are able to transition to other looks easily when age or fads change.Grab throw pillows and accessories from The Mercantile for an interior design transformation that does not require repainting your walls.  

Tips for Picking Paint Colors, Tip #2 

Go One Shade Darker

From experience, I always like the darker shade of the sample I pick out. As a rule of thumb for picking out paint colors, I go down the color deck, pick my favorite, and then select the very next one below it. Lighting plays a big role for picking paint colors. If you have a room with even one window, your paint will appear lighter. If you are picking paint colors for a basement, closet, attic space or any rooms without a window, you can stick with the color you like--no need to go a shade darker.

Tips for Picking Paint Colors, Tip #3 

Get Paint Samples

tips for picking paint color - roll paint on

Spend the $6 to get paint samples when picking paint colors. Ask your local Sherwin Williams paint expert for a chip brush and use it to paint a 2’x2’ section in the room. Depending on the lighting in your room, you should try your paint samples on several walls.

To accurately pick paint colors, live with your painted paint samples for at least two days. Check out how your picked paint color looks at different times of the day. When picking paint colors, make sure you like the new paint color at night as much as you like it during the day. Picking paint colors is difficult, picking grey paint colors can be the hardest paint to pick. In different light, a grey can look lilac, blue and even green. 

Note- whatever you do, do not use the sample jars as touch up paint down the road. It will not be the same formula as your actual paint and your wall will end up looking like a cheetah.

Tips for Picking Paint Colors, Tip #4 

High Quality Paint Is Your Best Return On Investment

As an experienced interior designer, I always pick a high quality flat or low-luster paint. High quality is important so that you can wipe down your walls as need and touch-up your paint color with ease. Flat paint finishes hide imperfections with ease. Eggshell and semi-gloss finishes are almost impossible to touch-up after initially painting them. 


Now that you’ve read my four tips for picking paint colors, you are well on your way to being a professional color selector. Hire a professional painter for best results, but if you chose to take on the project yourself, paint ceilings first, then walls, and then trim. Congratulations on picking the best paint color for your space!