SO. Paint is one of the EASIEST and most dramatic changes you can make to a space – I think we all know that. If you don’t…just trust me. The thing is, it’s easy for DIYers like myself to be all, “It’s just paint.” I know many of you worry about picking out paint colors and I get it. Painting is not usually a quick job and depending on the size of the room can definitely be an investment.

And there’s nothing worse than finally getting up the courage to take on a paint project and then hating it when it’s all done. Been there.

I’ve teamed up with Sherwin-Williams to share tips on picking out paint colors – this comes at a perfect time for me because as the family room reno finished up I had to make decisions on the new wall and ceiling colors. The walls have been painted the same color in there for ten years – I painted them the day we closed on the house!

I have a few tips when it comes to picking out paint colors – they’ve worked pretty well for me over the years and I hope they will prevent any of you from wasting time and money.

First up, start with inspiration. It’s SO hard to decorate a room when you pick out the paint color first. Unless it’s a neutral that goes with anything – it’s always best to start with something you love that will be in the room. It can be artwork, a rug, pillows…whatever.

I’ve gone with more neutral tones in our family room over the years so I know I want something that will work with the pillows and rug, but not match it perfectly:

neutral sofa

Also, our current color matches the sectional exactly (we didn’t have it back then) – so it’s just too much tan for me. Make sure to think about the larger pieces like rugs and furniture when considering a new color.

Next up…and this is earth-shattering here folks. Go to the paint store.

First of all, because it’s fun. :) Make sure you have some time too:

how to pick out paint colors

To some that is an overwhelming sight. To me, it’s glorious. I visited my local Sherwin-Williams store to walk you around.

The paint chips pictured above will give you varying shades of a similar tone – but they are not the same color lightened or darkened so keep that in mind. They are just in the same family, from light to dark. Usually I’ll fall in love with a darker tone on the chip and realize it’s too dramatic for what I need and will move up to a lighter tone.

They also have single color chips as well:

tips for picking out paint colors

I prefer these for some reason – the chips are huge, love that. This the section is where I found my beloved Peppercorn for the master bedroom wall (sometimes that dark color can be an accent!):

sherwin williams grays

I’m looking into a gray for the family room, but I want it to be a warm gray, not cold. That’s where it gets harder. I have to pull the colors out and compare them to each other. That’s when you see the true undertones:

sherwin williams grays

You have to be careful with grays in particular. Some go pinkish. Some purple. See the one on top? It looks like it has that purple undertone for sure. That may be what you want, but just keep it in mind. I find it’s easier to see all those tones when the chips are laid out next to each other.

So you may have found THE perfect color online, maybe on a blog? ;) But so many things affect how the color will look in your own home. Remember first and foremost that the color you see on the computer will look different in your own home. Screen colors differ and the light will be different in your home as well.

Sherwin-Williams has a handy dandy light box that shows you how different your colors will look in different artificial lights. Look at the difference between the two!:

 picking the right paint colorpicking out paint colors

I really wish I had known this when I painted our laundry room a brilliant, bright yellow years ago. ;) The fluorescent lights we have in there made the walls positively glow.

Finally, take your colors home! The light box is wonderful, but you need to see that paint chip up on your wall. Even better – get a sample pot and try it out before you buy. When I was in the decorating biz we would strongly encourage clients to get a couple poster boards, paint them, then hang them on the walls and live with them for a few days in the different lights. It definitely helps and will go a long way to preventing wasted time and money.

I’m a self-professed Sherwin-Williams nut so it’s the only place I buy my paint now. I love the paint and their service. And if you sign up with their Paint Perks program (say that three times fast), you’ll save every day on paints, stains and supplies and get notices for all their sales and promotions:

paint perks sherwin williams

I stock up for future projects whenever they have a 40 percent off sale – you won’t want to miss one! This program also creates a log of all of your paint colors for up to ten years – and if you don’t have a blog to document every paint color you definitely need that. :) You can go here to sign up (it’s free!) and get a $10 off coupon.

Next week I’ll share more about the paint colors I’ve picked out for our NEW family room! I’m so very excited!

For now, Sherwin-Williams is offering one of you $200 in credit to their store – SO much paint goodness! (This giveaway is now closed.) 

Have you ever had a paint color go wrong? My biggie was my office years back…I was going for a brick red and it was full out orange. Awful.

I partnered with Sherwin-Williams for this project but all thoughts are my own.