It's a Colorful Life- How to Choose YOUR Perfect Paint Color

Wednesday, July 29th, 2020 by Carly Weickgenannt

Paint can completely change the dynamic of a space. It is imperative that you genuinely enjoy the color on your walls because they will be greeting you every day. Choosing the perfect paint colors for your home can seem like a daunting and overwhelming task- We are here to help!


First step: determine your style. Do you like for your walls to make a statement or quietly compliment your room? A quick 10 question quiz from Sherwin Williams is a fantastic first stop in deciding what direction to go in. The quiz asks various lifestyle and interior decorating questions. Based on your answers, you are assigned a Color ID profile that suggests color palettes to consider. Take the quiz here!

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Another tool to take advantage of is Sherwin William’s Color Snap Visualizer- You can use one of their images or you can upload your own to experiment with wall and trim colors.


Do you want your space to be energizing or relaxing? Playful or peaceful? Dramatic or inspiring? Typically, blue, green, grey, white and beige are excellent colors to invoke a calming atmosphere. Red, violet, yellow and orange are stimulating colors. See how the same bedroom in red and blue comes across so differently? 

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Lighting greatly affects the appearance of colors. Natural daylight shows the truest form of color. Fluorescent lighting casts a blue tone whereas incandescent lighting brings out the warmer tones. A paint color that may look distinctly grey in daylight can easily look blue when there are fluorescent lights shining down. Additionally, a strong color does much better as an accent wall when it is in indirect lighting. The same exact paint color in both natural and artificial light:

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Existing Obstacles

Fixed elements such as flooring, cabinets, molding, paneling and fireplaces are crucial to consider when choosing a paint color. Unless you are planning on replacing these elements, they will influence the overall look of the space. The undertones in the paint need to work together harmoniously- not compete with one another. Two similar colors, which looks better with the fixed elements?

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Paint finish or sheen refers to the amount of light that reflects from its surface.

There are four main types of finish for your paint selection.

  • Flat: a non-reflective finish that makes walls look smooth and cleans easily. Perfect for a living room, adult bedroom, dining room and the ceiling.
  • Satin: slight-gloss that offers the benefits of a richer look. Perfect for hallways, children’s bedrooms and family rooms.
  • Semi-Gloss: a lustrous, durable finish that holds up well in rooms that are cleaned frequently. Perfect for bathrooms, kitchens, utility rooms and trim.
  • Gloss: the best finish for areas that you would like to highlight with glistening shine. Perfect for cabinets, doors, furniture and wood trim.

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Generally speaking, darker colors make a room feel smaller and more cozy. Lighter colors will make a room feel brighter and more spacious. Painting the ceiling white or the same color as the walls will also alter the visual effect of the room.

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Image by Velvet Karatzas


Perhaps the most important criteria of all, do you love it? Whether you’ve chosen a color that is classic or trendy- it will be up on your walls for you to see every day. It is much more time consuming to re-paint a room every year than it is to introduce a color with décor. If you are not quite sure about committing, consider using pillows or a rug to test a color out. 

Swatches on the wall are a great way to try out multiple colors without painting the entire room. The best way to feel confident in your decision is to paint a test area in a 2 sq. ft. patch. You should paint a test patch next to the window, across from a window, and next to a passageway into another room. Observe the samples during the day, at night and with artificial light. You will know which color is for you after living with it self-assured for a couple days. 

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Failing to acknowledge these criteria could lead to a disappointing paint job.

Color is the first thing that is noticed in a home. Make sure your home’s first impression is a good one! 


All photos sourced from Sherwin Williams unless otherwise noted.

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