Secret Tips from the Pros on How to Choose the Perfect Paint Color
How to choose the perfect paint color is no easy feat. If you’re not a paint color expert then the process of choosing paint colors can be overwhelming. You may have stumbled upon this article because you’re currently up to your elbows in paint swatches or you may not even know where to begin. With so many beautiful colors to choose from it’s easy to find yourself in over your head, but we’re here to help! It’s very common for people to lack confidence when it comes to choosing paint colors. That’s only because you may not be using the right tools to help you with your color journey. So, we asked our resident color enthusiast, Lexi, to spill the tea on her favorite top-secret color tips.
Start Here for Paint Color Inspiration
One of the most common frustrations clients face is not even knowing where to begin with colors. If that’s you, then this hack is a must-try! Rather than heading to the paint store or even starting to think about what you like or don’t like we recommend you browse a little. One of our favorite paint brands, Sherwin Williams, has a very cool tool that allows you to browse HOA colors. This is incredibly helpful even if you’re not part of an HOA because it’s going to show you color schemes that are already paired for you. That means you get a body, trim, and accent color all wrapped up in a nice little bow.
To use the tool click the link here and then enter your state, city (or wherever you like!), and then pick an HOA. Again, you do not have to be part of an HOA community to benefit from this tool. Click through the different scheme tabs to view all of the different pairings. Once you find one you like, you can even download it or screenshot to save it. Take all of the guesswork out of it and stop worrying about whether colors go together with this awesome color hack. Of course, we always recommend picking up some samples once you have a scheme or two that you like. Also, be sure to verify your color choices by testing your colors! For all of our tips on how to best test out your colors, check out our blog, How to Properly Test Paint Colors.
Steal Someone’s Paint Colors
While we’re at it, we’ve got another awesome online tool for you! It’s the Sherwin Williams Color Snap tool. So, how do you use this? The applications are endless but we’re going to share two of our favorite ways to utilize this tool.
- This is an old standby, but if you’re having trouble picking colors it’s great to take a drive around your neighborhood, or a neighborhood you love, and see what catches your eye. If you find a house that has colors you love you can always knock on the door and ask the homeowner if they know what colors were used. If that scares the heck out of you though, simply snap a picture of the house. Make sure you get the truest color you can in your photo. You can then plug it right into the color snap tool.
- If you’d rather browse colors from the comfort of your home, hop on over to a site like HGTV or Pinterest and find a photo that inspires you. You can then plug that photo right into the color snap tool and it will give you the most comparable paint color matches. How cool is that?
To actually use the color snap tool you can go online and upload your favorite photo or download the app to access it on your phone. If you’d like a video tutorial on how to use the different features of the Color Snap Visualizer let us know in a comment over on our youtube channel, we post frequently!
Skip the Color Wall
This color hack might shock you, but Lexi swears by it! To avoid color selection overload and ensure you’re picking appropriate colors she says to avoid the color wall at your local paint store. Lexi’s talking about the big wall of swatches that nearly every paint store has. These walls are designed to give your brain a little boost of dopamine when you enter the store. However, they’re really not the best for choosing appropriate colors for your home, especially for exteriors. This is because these color walls are typically organized by color rather than color family. That just means you’re seeing interior and exterior colors mixed in together. This can lead you to pick colors that are much brighter than would generally be recommended.
For elegant, timeless colors you want something that’s muted or lacks saturation. When you have all of the colors mixed in together on a wall, it’s really easy to end up pulling colors that are punchy or overly saturated. To avoid this pitfall, Lexi recommends asking for a color deck to browse through instead. Most paint stores should be able to provide you with one. If you happen to be working with a color specialist, you can ask them as well. Search the deck and look for sections like Neutrals, Historic, or Classic collections. Stay away from sections like Colors or Brights as these will typically be too pigmented to be used on homes.
How to Narrow Down Your Paint Colors
This was one of our favorite paint color tricks so we saved it for last. If you’re already deep into your color selection and you’re trying to decide between color samples that are all seemingly the same you’ve got to give this tip a try. Essentially, rather than comparing all of the swatches at once, you’ll treat it a little bit like a March Madness bracket. Lexi helped us understand, “This is actually a tip I stole from my optometrist when I was picking out new glasses to help narrow things down”. Here’s how you do it:
- Pick any two of the paint colors you’re trying to decide between. It doesn’t matter which ones you start with.
- Look at ONLY those two colors and choose the one you feel like you prefer. This isn’t about choosing which one you absolutely love, just which one you feel like you prefer at that moment. It’s best to go with your gut and answer instinctively to avoid overthinking.
- Once you have your winner, set the losing paint color aside in a discard pile. Pick up one of the other paint swatches and compare it with the winner of the last round. Choose which one you prefer.
- Complete these steps until you have one final champion. This is your ultimate “winner”! It’s as simple as that.
- If you do run into a pair that you can’t decide between just set that one aside and come back to it at the end.
We hope you loved these tips and tricks! Did Lexi have any hacks you hadn’t heard of? Which one was your favorite? And if you’d like even more paint color tips be sure to follow us on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Youtube where Lexi posts weekly!