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Choosing the Right Paint Color for Your Home

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Choosing the right paint color for your home can be downright intimidating. No one wants to put the time and energy into painting a room only to realize the paint color they chose is completely wrong. That can be truly devastating! Not only is it a huge waste of money and time, but it also leaves you feeling defeated.

So now you ask yourself,

How do I choose paint colors for my house? I need some paint color advice.

Honestly, I believe most people make choosing a paint color much harder than it should be. Picking paint colors should be fun and not at all stressful.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in particular popular paint colors we see on Pinterest or in the homes of our favorite influencers. I hate to say it, but that paint color may look gorgeous in the influencer’s home but not in yours.

Let’s stop feeling overwhelmed with the paint color choice and let’s get excited about it.

Luckily, I have five essential tips and tricks you can use to find the absolute perfect paint color for your home.


I wholeheartedly believe that if you take the time to use these tips, you will choose the perfect paint color for your home. These are the five things I go by when helping clients choose paint colors. They work; trust this process!

  1. Tones and Finishes in your home. Both fixed elements and decor pieces.
  2. Natural lighting. How the sun looks in different exposures.
  3. Artificial lighting. How are light bulbs a factor?
  4. Paint Finishes. What they are and how they differ.
  5. Sampling paint colors. How to exactly do it and why it is a crucial step of the process.

Read along to learn how these five tips on picking a paint color will help you avoid wasting money and time.

Don’t forget to pick up these amazing painting tools! They will only make your life easier!

1. KNOW THE Tones and Finishes in your home. Both fixed elements and decor pieces.

When choosing a paint color, know the tone.

Let’s start with a little understanding of what paint color tones are.

Paint colors, often created by using two or more colors, have a mass tone and an undertone. The mass tone is the color you see first, such as blue or red. The undertone may not be instantly obvious. This is largely apparent with neutral and white paint colors.

All colors have two tones: cool and warm.

Warm colors typically have tones of orange, yellow, or red, and they promote a cozy, welcoming space. Conversely, cool colors have tones of green, blue, or purple, and they tend to make your space feel crisp and fresh.

Knowing a paint color tone can help you tremendously when deciding on a paint color. It helps you narrow down the list of paint colors that will work in the space you are painting. 

Don’t start painting until you have the right tools!



Before choosing a paint color, consider the fixtures, cabinetry, floors, and trim in the home. These items have different tones.

If you want to emphasize a cool tone, for example, a brushed nickel faucet pairs well with a cool-toned gray paint color such as Sherwin Williams Passive. Conversely, a warm red brick fireplace is complemented beautifully by a warm-toned paint color, such as Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter.

If you are looking to balance warmth or coolness, go with the opposite tone from your fixtures or cabinetry. For example, you could choose a cooler paint color to balance out warm wood trim. 

A good rule of thumb is to choose the tone of your paint color by the mood you are trying to achieve. Either match interior elements to the tone of the paint color or choose the opposite to achieve a sense of balance.

Knowing the tones of the elements in your home will help you choose the right paint color.

Shop This Cool Toned Bedroom

warm toned bedroom

Shop This Warm Toned Bedroom

2. Natural lighting. How Does the sun look in different exposures?

Always be familiar with natural lighting before choosing a paint color. 

Light plays an important role in the way a paint color looks. It can change the appearance of virtually any color.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to become familiar with the lighting situation of the room you are choosing the paint color for.

In terms of natural sunlight, as the day progresses, the lighting intensity changes, creating changes in the appearance of colors. This is very important to remember when you are deciding on a paint color.

At sunrise, the sunlight is warmer because it’s lower near the horizon. As a result, the sun gives off a warm yellowish cast.

As the day proceeds to midday, the sun rises, producing more of a bluish, cooler cast.

At midday, in direct sunlight, colors will appear to be a bit washed out.

Finally, as the day concludes into the evening, the warmth is back, but now rooms have more of a reddish cast.

lighting direction chart

North-facing rooms – Light in north-facing rooms comes off cooler and somewhat bluish. Lighter colors appear more muted, while bolder colors will show up, or appear better.

South-facing rooms– In South-facing rooms, there tends to be a consistently bright light throughout the day. Warm and cool tones work with south-facing light. This light can also intensify colors.

East-facing rooms– East-facing rooms have the brightest light in the mornings, with a yellow-orange tone.  If an east-facing room will be used mostly in the evenings, going with a warm palette will help balance the lack of natural light. 

West-facing rooms- Early evening is when West-facing rooms have the best light. Warmer tones might seem overwhelming because of the red-orange the light gives off. However, if the main use for the room is in the mornings, the colors won’t appear as intense.

3. Artificial lighting. How are light bulbs a factor?

Like sunlight, artificial lighting largely affects the appearance of a paint color you choose. Depending on the type of light bulb you choose, the color of your paint will look different.

Some of the different types of light bulbs are:

  • Light-emitting diodes (LEDs): LED bulbs can be either cool or warm. They are flexible and work well with any color.
  • Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs): CFLs come in a variety of colors. They can off either a warm white, neutral or bluish-white light.
  • Halogens: Halogens produce a white light very comparable to natural sunlight. 
  • Fluorescents: Fluorescents bulbs are used mainly with cool tones. The cool light enhances blue and green colors.
  • Incandescents: Incandescent bulbs give off a warm yellow light. They will enhance warm tones like reds, yellows, and oranges while muting colors such as blues and greens. 

Being familiar with the type of light bulb is one thing. However, you also need to focus (mainly) on the light temperature of the bulb. This is important in regards to how it will make a paint color look.

To sum it up, light bulbs are measured by the Kelvin Temperature scale. The range is 1000k to 7000K. 1000K is the warmest yellow light, and 7000K is the coolest blue light.

A light bulb with a temperature of 2500K will cast a very warm yellowish glow. This will 100% affect how your paint color looks. This is why it’s important to know about your light bulbs!

Light fixtures

To piggyback off light bulbs, the light fixture itself also plays a part in how a paint color will look.

Lampshade—A lampshade affects the strength of the light bulb it holds. Since most lampshades are solid, the amount of light produced is diminished a bit.

White, off-white, and ivory shades give off the brightest light. While darker shades give off less light and mute the appearance of surrounding colors.

If you have a lampshade in a warmer color, the light will come off in a warmer hue, creating warmth to everything else in the room, including the paint color.

Pendants /Down Pointed Lights– Down-pointed lighting is directed down and illuminates floors. Pendants direct light down making them ideal for workspaces, such as kitchen islands.  As a result, the down-pointing light can usually make ceilings feel darker or unlit. 


Sconces / Up Pointed LightsSconces and lights pointing upward, direct light towards the ceiling, which in turn illuminates the ceiling and upper portion of your walls. 

While light fixtures are somewhat of a factor, your main priority is choosing the best light bulb to complement your paint color.

LRV  – Light Reflectance Value

While on the topic of light, I want to quickly mention LRV and why it can be helpful in terms of choosing a paint color.

The LRV ( light reflectance value), is the amount of light a paint color either absorbs or reflects. LRVs range from 0-100, with 100 being pure white and 0 being absolute black.  So the higher on the LRV scale, the more light-reflective the paint color will be. 

LRV is an important factor to consider when choosing a paint color for your home because it tells you how much light the paint color will absorb or reflect.

Benjamin Moore Paint Deck Index (1)

For example, let’s take Repose Gray by Sherwin Williams. The LRV is 58, which is almost smack in the middle of the scale. So you can expect this paint color to reflect more light than a color with an LRV of 39 like Dorian Gray by Sherwin Williams.

A mistake that is made with choosing paint colors and LRV is that people tend to think the higher the LRV the brighter the paint color will look in a room. This is not the case. If a room is lacking natural and or artificial light, that paint color with the LRV of 79 might look drab and dull.

Why? Because the paint color doesn’t have any light to reflect. Keep this in mind when you are deciding on a paint color

4. Paint Finishes. What they are and how they differ

Why do paint sheens matter when picking a paint color?

Paint sheen plays a role in the way a color looks as well. This is one aspect that is way too often overlooked. 

Typically, there are five different paint finishes. Some brands offer different variations of the sheens, but there are five main finishes.

  • FLAT
paint sheen guide

The higher the gloss level of a paint color, the more light it will reflect and the brighter the color will appear. A paint color with less of a sheen, such as a matte finish, will not be reflective, giving the paint color a truer appearance.  

5. Sampling paint colors: How to do it exactly and why it is a crucial step of the process

This tip is more of a non-negotiable than a tip. You must sample the paint color in your home. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. I will say this until I’m blue in the face. You will never know what the best paint color for your home is unless you test that paint color in your home.

I’m not being dramatic, but this is a crucial part of the process.

It’s one thing to get your samples, but the crucial step is to use them correctly.

The lighting in a room will change throughout the day. Remember that lighting is a big factor in how a paint color looks. So once your paint swatch is up on the wall, you should monitor it throughout the day to see how the paint color looks in different lighting.

samplize paint samples on kitchen cabinets

You also want to move the paint swatch around the room (this is why I love Samplize). You have to move it to see how the paint color will look in the dark corner or next to your flooring. Again, you have to monitor it throughout the day to see how the light changes it.

I know this sounds exhausting and over the top. But I promise you it is key to choosing the right paint color.

I like to use Sampilize Peel and Stick Paint samples, and here’s why.

Quickly, let’s talk about testing paint colors.

Instead of physically going to your nearest paint store to grab your samples, you need to try  Samplize Peel & Stick paint samples.

Why should you try Samplize?

  • Super affordable
  • Mess-free
  • Non-damaging
  • Made with real manufacturer paint
  • Displays color just like a wall
  • Environmental friendly
  • Reusable
Samplize Swatch

These peel & stick paint samples are super affordable and allow you to test a paint color in all different areas of a room without the mess of a traditional paint sample! 

 You know how I feel about testing paint colors, it’s a must! 

Don’t create more work for yourself. Order Samplize now and have them shipped directly to you.  No-fuss, no mess! Check them out for yourself, you won’t be disappointed.

If you decide to make your own swatches, I recommend using this foam board and getting yourself a bunch of swatch brushes to keep on hand.


Before I wrap up, I think the best paint color advice I can give you is to don’t get overwhelmed, Picking a paint color is a process, don’t rush it.

Definitely do not get wrapped up in what undertones a paint color has. You may question yourself after reading about the gray paint color you like having a purple undertone. Although you aren’t seeing the purple undertone after sampling it. Don’t back away from the color you like because of what you read. If you, with your own eyes, like how it looks in your home, then that’s the right paint color for you.

The paint color needs to be visually appealing in your home because, ultimately, you will be living with it.

If you follow the tips, sample the paint color and trust your eye, then you won’t question how to choose paint colors for your home interior.

If you appreciate any help or advice I provide, you can support me by buying me coffee and sharing my website with others to help spread the word.


The 5 Key elements you should keep in mind when choosing a paint color for your interior are:

  1. Tones and Finishes in your home. Both fixed elements and decor pieces.
  2. Natural lighting. How the sun looks in different exposures.
  3. Artificial lighting. How light bulbs are a factor?
  4. Paint Finishes. What they are and how they differ.
  5. Sampling paint colors. How to exactly do it and why it is a crucial step of the process.


These tips will help you choose a paint color for:

  • bedrooms
  • bathrooms
  • kitchens
  • living rooms
  • basically, everywhere

My paint color advice? Focus on the five essential tips. Don’t get so wrapped up in everything you read about paint colors. Yes, it is definitely helpful, but you need to see color for yourself.

You want to make sure you are covering all bases before choosing the right paint color for your home.

Do you still need a little more guidance finding a paint color?


Tips & Tricks to choose paint colors

You Might Also Be Interested in:


Friday 11th of December 2020

I have two west facing bedrooms and looking for paint colors, mostly neutral or gray/beige wall paint colors. One of them I have selected Balboa Mist, looking for the second bedroom with two windows and bedroom is about 12x14, white/off-white furniture. Any Benjamin Moore color suggestions? thanks!


Saturday 26th of September 2020

We are in the midst of choosing paint colors for our home. I love the bedroom blue gray by Sherwin Williams on your blue gray page. Would you please tell me the name of the Sherwin Williams paint ?

What blue would you recommend to complement agreeable gray for a split wall with agreeable gray on top? Thinking I might go with a darker gray on top to make the white woodwork pop in our basement? Thinking of going with a blue gray on the bottom. What would you recommend?


Sunday 16th of August 2020

I would like to paint my house a lighter grey( but not silver) with dark grey trim. I have navy shutters. I was thinking of using Sherwin Williams Aviatrax as the base and Carbonized as the trim and garage doors. I want something that will not be too light and fade in a few years. I was going to use Alabaster White as trim around the windows. I have a large house with stone and stucco ( that is now tan). I cannot make a mistake. What do you think?

Jean K Collett

Wednesday 22nd of July 2020

Very helpful information. We are painting the outside of our Colonial with a southern exposure and red brick on part of the lower level. I tried a sample of Thunder, AF-685 and it looks nice but I am seeing more some purple in the sunlight. The new roof is Weathered Wood, a soft mix of browns and gray and I thought a house color that is more of a greige would work. Can you recommend some colors?


Tuesday 21st of July 2020

What is functional gray do for a wall I am trying to get a dark wall and I used requisite gray for light wall but I think my functional could had been a little darker help please only two windows in this master bedroom did my bathroom with theses colors they did awesome but I had to kilZ the wall in my master bed rn my requisite gray look like a brown undertone Help please

Cate Griffing

Tuesday 11th of August 2020

Hi Jackie, Are you saying Functional Gray isn't dark enough and Requisite Gray looks too brown?

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