Have you ever walked into a paint store, hoping to find the wall color for your home, only to feel totally overwhelmed by all of the options? Well on this episode of Designed to the Nines, I show you just how easy it is to pick the perfect paint color for your walls.

Watch this tutorial:

I am so excited about today’s post, because it is on what just might be my most asked question of all time. What color should I paint my room?  I just got asked this the other day! Honestly, I think people when they ask me this they’re expecting me to just tell them a color and send them on their merry way to the paint store, and they’re done.

But let me tell you. This is very subjective, and there’s a lot more that goes into it than that. There are things that you need to consider. Maybe a purple room is the perfect color for your room. Maybe it’s gray, but with all of this in mind, I have compiled my top five tips to select a paint color that is sure to put a smile on your face every time you enter the room.

Choose an Inspiration Piece

Tip number one is you must have an inspiration piece! Whether it’s a pillow or piece of fabric or a rug, you need a jumping off point for the whole design of the room.  You can’t just go into a paint store and pick a color and expect that it’s going to work for the design that you end up going with. In fact, you’ll find that it will create you more problems. It should be something that has kind of all of the colors that you’re hoping to have in your room, and that is going to be your jumping off point.

While painting a room can be the biggest bang for your buck, it is very time-consuming. So once you have painted a room, you’re not going to want to turn around and do it all over again because you picked the wrong color. So we’re going to try to avoid this pitfall. Choosing an inspiration piece is critical. You must do this before you ever step foot in a paint store. If you don’t do this, you are going to regret it.

Discover What You Really Like

Do your homework. If you haven’t already discovered the magic land of Pinterest, you’re going to want to go there and start pinning a whole bunch of rooms that you like. Pin it without thinking too much. Just go in and organize it how you want, but just pin things that sing to you and speak to you and really make you happy. Then I want you to go back and look through all those rooms and look for a common theme.

Maybe you really love the color turquoise and think you would be really happy if you had an entire room painted in it, but when you go look at the pictures on Pinterest, you don’t see any turquoise walls.

You may discover you really like gray walls, and what you can do is bring in the color turquoise through bold statements. That’s what I’ve done.

I use color strategically, and I do it on accent walls and my window treatments and pillows, and I make the bold statement there. So you’re going to want to do this step before you ever set foot into a paint store. Otherwise, you might end up with turquoise walls that you want to paint down the road.

Research Top Colors

Okay. So now that you have an inspiration fabric, and now that you kind of have an idea of what colors speak to you, and that might kind of influence the way you select an inspiration fabric.

So what you’re going to do from here is to look at that inspiration fabric/rug and ask yourself, “What colors do I have to work with?” See what color possibilities you have based on the color palette and your newly discovered preferences. Then I want you to go back to Pinterest and search out the most popular versions of those colors. When you pull it up, you’ll see a common theme. You can see what they look like in a room, and you can get a feel for how they might look. And what you can do is compile a list of colors.

Go to Store for Samples

This is where we go to the paint store, and we get samples. We don’t buy paint yet. Okay? So we go to the paint store, and we don’t buy paint! Trust me. Don’t do that.

You’re going to want to just get a lot of samples. They’re free. They don’t care. Just take as many as you think you need, and you can also buy the little jars. Just know you are going to need to take at least two trips: one or two times for samples and finally to buy paint.

Do not be intimidated. Just trust your research and gut if you see some new options in the store take those home for consideration as well.

Get the Samples on the Walls

Tip number five is getting the samples on the wall, whether they’re paint chips or hopefully, you’ve got samples of the paint, and you can actually paint it on the wall at this point. I want you to put it on a couple of different walls.

Live with it a day or two, because you’re going to need to see the paint in different light, at different times of the day, because it will change. You’ll find it’s a very big change, and you want to see how it looks in your space.

Usually, more often than not, there’s going to be a very clear winner, and you’re going to be like, “Oh, yep. That’s the one.” And then you’re good. You’re done. Sometimes there’s not a clear winner, and usually, it’s because you’ve selected two very good colors. They’re very similar, and so in that case, I would just poll your family and friends and see what they all think, and then go with the winner. You probably can’t go wrong in this situation.

Some Final Thoughts

A couple of side notes that I wanted to give to you. A couple of color families are notoriously tricky: Blues and Yellows.

With yellow, I typically try to avoid using it at all on a wall, just because it is so hard to select! Now that’s not saying you can’t do it, but I would do a lot of homework, and definitely make sure you get those actual paint samples on the wall if you want to do yellow.

While blue is hard, it’s not as hard as the yellow. The problem with blue is a lot of times it ends up looking a little juvenile, so you want to make sure that you select a blue that is definitely more muted, has some green and grays in it, and that will make it feel a little more sophisticated and little less juvenile.

Another thing to know is I typically use eggshell and satin for the main body of the wall. You will want to use semi-gloss for trim and woodwork, and then flat paint for the ceiling.

Now, a lot of designers would disagree with me, but I prefer a white ceiling. Some designers really like to put a color on the ceiling as well, but I just prefer a white one. So I’m going to push against that trend, and probably get some comments on it, but that’s okay. I like a white ceiling.

My Favorite Colors

After all this, if you are still not sure, here are a few of my favorite tried and true paint colors. Most of them are Restoration Hardware colors. Now they don’t have a huge selection of paint colors, but what they do have work really well, and they’ve obviously done their homework to select really awesome colors that work in a lot of interior spaces.

My first paint color is gray:

Stone Gray by Restoration Hardware:






Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore,






and Repose Gray by Sherwin-Williams.






For greens, I like Svelte Sage by Sherwin-Williams






and Sycamore Green by Restoration Hardware






For the tricky blue, I really like Silver Sage by Restoration Hardware.







I never have gone wrong with that color. It’s one that pulls gray at times, pulls blue at others, and pulls green at other times. So it is a really versatile blue. I have a lot of luck with that.

I don’t really buy Restoration Hardware Paint, I usually go to Home Depot or Lowe’s and buy a less expensive paint and have them color match the color.

Which brings me to my final tip, which is color matching. If there’s a color in your pillow or your inspiration fabric that you really love and can transport that into the paint store, they can color match it. You can get an exact match of that color as long as there’s enough for them to scan it with. And so that is a tip you definitely want to take.

Again, don’t buy it on your first trip. Make sure you get it on your wall. See how it looks on a bigger scale.

I hope you learned something that was useful to you in this post.

I’ve gotten some really fun stuff coming. You’re definitely going to want to watch for those posts.










  1. Pingback: Designed To The Nines | How to Paint Perfect Stripes on a Wall: What the Pros Aren't Telling You

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *