How to Choose the Right Paint Color

Committing to the right shade is a challenge. Use these tips for picking the perfect palette.

1. Look for inspiration. Page through your favorite decor magazines and catalogs, tear out the pages you like, and bring them to be color matched at your local paint store.

2. Examine your wardrobe. Take a good, hard look in your closet. Is there a common color theme? If you’re seeing lots of blues, you’re most likely drawn to cooler shades (and you might not even realize it!).

3. Play matchmaker. It’s important that your paint works with the other elements of your space. Give your paint specialist a frame of reference. Bring along fabric swatches, rug swatches, and tile samples.

4. Go online! Lots of paint sites have cool, interactive tools that let you play with different color combos quickly and easily. It’s like risk-free redecorating!

Decor Q&A: Picking Out Paint?


How should I pick the paint combo for my walls?


We love browsing paint websites like behr.com and benjaminmoore.com to see what jumps out. Other areas of inspiration: your closets. Look at the clothes you love versus the ones that get passed over. Then start flipping through catalogs (even the ones you normally toss) and tear out pages with colors you love. Take (or wear) these pieces of inspiration to a paint retailer; have them match the color or find color combos that coordinate.

Before you buy samples, keep in mind the lighting and size of your room (a chocolate wall in a darkly lit living room might be more moody than trendy); the feel of the room (do you want lively or relaxing?); the surrounding rooms (will this paint coordinate with the adjacent spaces?); and your furniture (how will it work with the red couch?).

For cool color combination ideas, view our decor database.

[Nestpert] Nate Berkus, author of Home Rules, host of The Nate Berkus Show on the Oprah & Friends channel on XM Satellite Radio, and designer of a home decor line sold exclusively at Linens 'n Things

-- The Nest Editors

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