How to Pick the Perfect Paint Color for Any Space

Take your furniture and light into consideration.

woman choosing paint color
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Choosing the right paint colors for your every room in your home can be an overwhelming task—with so many different swatches and color chips to choose from, how do you go about deciding which paint hues make the most sense for each space? Ultimately, there are three tried-and-true steps to follow as you make your decision.

Figure Out What You Like, Not Just What's Popular

To start, snip shots from magazines and fill a new Pinterest board to the brim. It's important to decide what is that you really like versus what you might be gravitating towards because you're seeing it everywhere. Of course, trends can speak to your personal style and serve as inspiration, you shouldn't feel required to paint a room a color you don't love just because it's "in" right now. Instead, think about the mood you want your space to evoke, the colors you find most appealing, and whether or not your chosen shades speak to your unique personality.

Take Your Furniture and Décor Elements Into Account

If you aren't starting with a blank slate, be sure to take the hard materials that already exist in your living space into account. For most people, this means starting with a sofa, cabinets, and hardwood, tile, or carpet on the flooring, and those pieces likely won't change. In this case, it's key to select hues that work in the context of what's already there.

However, if you're decorating a room from scratch, you have two options: First, you can start with a paint color you love, then select furniture and curtains to match; otherwise, narrow down the decorative elements of your space, then choose a paint color that brings the room together.

woman looking at various paint colors
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Test Your Colors in Your Specific Light

Light and color go hand in hand, so you'll want to actually test your paint color on your walls and assess it throughout the day—do you like how it looks with both your morning and evening light? How does the color look in natural light as opposed to artificial light? It's a good idea to live with the color or colors you're considering for a few day prior to making a final decision, too.

Need a quick cheat-sheet? A northern exposure results in a cooler look, so a warmer paint choice will help balance out the potential lack of light in your space. If your house has a southern exposure, a neutral color will likely work best.

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