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9 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Wall Paint Color

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Having trouble with choosing the best paint color for your room? These 9 tips for choosing the perfect wall paint color may just be the solution!


Do you ever have issues with choosing the perfect wall paint color for a bathroom, bedroom… heck, any room in your home?

9 tips for choosing the perfect wall paint color

It took me quite some time to figure out what color to paint my living room, but not nearly as much time to choose the paint color for my bathroom walls.

9 tips for painting the perfect wall paint color living room with decor and furniture

You know why it was so much easier to choose the bathroom color? (Okay, other than that I wanted almost the exact same color that was in there to begin with…)

Well, I’m going to share with you today the 9 tips and tricks I figured out from the paint project in my living room (which also got me second place in the HomeRight “Refresh Your Walls Today” blogger challenge! Just sayin’.)

And just a side note… Painting is one of the easiest ways to update an apartment, rental home, or a home you own! We used these tips on my daughter’s rental kitchen and bedroom, too!

kitchen cabinets and counter against neutral walls

Let’s dig in!

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Pick Your Chips

Paint chips, that is…

9 tips for choosing the perfect wall paint color

Head on over to your local paint store and select several (10 or 15) paint chips that you LOVE and think will look GREAT in your room!

  • Choose paint chips that have warm undertones (yellow/beige) and cool undertones (blue/pink-ish). You never know what’s going to work!
  • Think about shades… I.e., if you are going with a gray, get chips that are very light, medium, and dark shades of grays.
  • Every once in a while, stand back from the paint chip display and blink a few times… ‘reset’ your eyes. Then take a fresh look at the colors.
  • Now take your paint chips home for the next ‘tip’.

“Chip” Your Furniture

At home, take your paint swatches and set them next to the main piece of furniture or textile in your room. You know, whatever has the main color in the room, like your sofa, drapes, or a media console.

paint boards sitting on a sofa
Pretty big paint chips, right?! Hehe… learn what these are below.

Hold onto the chips that look great with the furniture piece or textile, and set the others aside.

“Chip” Your Floor

Now, those paint chips that are still in your hand? Take those and lay them on the flooring in the room.  This could be your carpet, a large area rug, hardwoods, vinyl… you get the picture.

The paint chips that compliment your flooring AND your furniture will most likely look great on your walls!

Perfect Wall Paint Color Tips -Samples Are Simple

Did you know that you can buy small paint samples mixed in your favorite colors? You can even buy peel-and-stick samples for even less!

One of the best money-saving tricks you can use to choose the perfect wall paint color is to purchase samples of the paint chips you chose.

9 tips for choosing the perfect wall paint color swatch with paint jar

Take your top 3-4 favorite paint chips and go back to your local paint or hardware store and buy samples of those! It will cost about $6-16 total (depending on what type of sample you buy), but this will eliminate the mistake of buying a gallon of paint that doesn’t work in your room!

And afterwards, you can make chalk paint from the samples (I always get my samples in matte) and use them on other projects! Win-win!

Sample the Paints At Home

So, now let’s take those samples home and paint large portions of the color on each wall of your room (make sure the color is close to the baseboard/ floor, too).

bedroom with painted swatches on walls
Be sure to paint larger sections than this. Our decision would have been easier with larger sections.

If you don’t want to swatch your walls, you can paint foam boards and lean them up against your walls. This is my preferred method because you can move the colors around the room.

boards lined up on sofa

And don’t forget to mark your paint names on the foam boards or next to the colors on your wall!

Why would you want to move the paint swatches around???

There Is a Difference!

Now you want to check to see what the colors look like on the walls at different times of the day. Remember, my living area looked yellow during the day and blush at night! Having the samples painted on foam board makes it easy to move to different walls at different times of the day!

9 tips for choosing the perfect wall paint color candlesticks on table with painted boards
This is the same day as the picture with the sofa… different time of day, opposite side of the room.

And check out this secret tip (which is no longer a secret now…)

Many times what is outside a window, reflects color inside a room. Trees outside your window may reflect a green onto your wall(s) inside, turning a true gray into a sage! This is a HUGE reason to purchase a sample before committing to a gallon of paint! Adjust your paint choice for situations like this.

And, if you are thinking about using a beige and gray color mix, take a look at what exactly is greige color?

Don’t Forget the Furniture!

Remember the first thing we placed the paint chips on?

Yep… be sure to place your furniture or textile next to the paint swatches on the walls, as well. You want a ‘true’ peek into the future of what a fully painted room will look like!

The Perfect Paint Sheen

Just a couple tips on sheens:

  1. Flat – this finish has no shine/sheen at all (non-reflective). Great for hiding imperfections on walls.
  2. Matte – My favorite sheen that is low-reflective, easy to clean, and easy to touch up (also hides imperfections).
  3. Eggshell – Soft and ‘velvety’, but still not extreme in reflection. Good choice for kids rooms, hallways, and I would consider it for bathrooms, too.
  4. Satin Enamel – Pearly finish that is easy to clean.  Good choice for kids rooms, hallways, bathrooms, trim, etc.
  5. Semi-gloss – This definitely starts showing a gloss and is ‘radiant’. Very easy to clean and is often a great choice for bathrooms and cabinets as it mildew and moisture resistant.
  6. Hi-gloss – Brilliant, shiny appearance and super easy to clean.  Often used in bathrooms and on cabinets, though I personally would only use it on trim.

Final Step for Choosing the Perfect Wall Paint Color

Now, choose your fave swatch, decide on a sheen, and go buy your paint!

Just FYI, my go-to paint is Behr. And, if I want the best and easiest coverage, I use their Marque line.

Here are a few photos of the paint projects from My Wee Abode and my daughter’s home, too!

how to paint walls fast and easy before photo of living room with sofa media console window bench and decor

One thing we learned with my daughter’s walls, that started out periwinkle… if you have followed the tips in this post, don’t worry while you are painting, especially against a vastly different color (like a purple or pink).

kitchen cabinets and counter against neutral walls
These walls started out periwinkle! Yes… periwinkle with brick red cabinets and ivory counters.

It may look like the wrong color while you are painting, but when you finish the job, you’ll be delighted!

These tips for choosing the perfect paint color were even used for the shower tile surround in the current bathroom makeover project!

bathroom tile shower surround painted white

FREE Checklist – 9 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Wall Paint Color

Want a printable checklist with the nine tips for choosing the perfect wall paint color? Well, here you go!

9 tips for choosing the perfect wall paint color printable checklist on white surface with paint swatches

To get instant access to your Perfect Paint Color Checklist printable, simply click on the button below and fill out the form.  You will immediately receive an email containing the password to download your checklist to keep by your side during your paint choosing process, along with ALL the MWA printables!  You’ll also receive new post notifications, newsletters, and tips and tricks for living small sent right to your inbox! 

all the freebies!


Get instant access to the My Wee Abode FREE Printables Library!

(If you are already a subscriber to My Wee Abode, your password is at the bottom of each and every newsletter… just click on the “Free Printables” tab on the menu, and you will be redirected.)

Have you used any of these perfect wall color paint tips in your home painting projects? What special tips do you have that you can share with us! Be sure to leave them in the comments!

signature updated 2022

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  1. Hi Julie – First of all so excited to be subscribed to your blog … and on the mastermind journey with you. Choosing paint is so hard and my least favorite part of decorating our home. You are so right about moving the large swatches around the room and at different times of day. It’s amazing how a paint color change change. Love all your tips … I’ll be filing them away for the next time I need to paint (hopefully not soon!!!). xo

    1. Thanks for subscribing, Juliet! Hope you enjoy the blog… be sure to come by and link-up at Tuesday Turn About tomorrow and each week! Happy to be in the MM with you, as well! Hugs and hearts!

  2. One thought that I would add is to look at the paint chips in strong daylight and under the kind of light at night in the room. Our flourescent fixtures REALLY changled the paint colors; I’m sure the store manager thought we were crazy taking paint chips out into the sunshine. afer looking at them under his flourescents! In the early 80’s, I had a color we called (pale) “burnt orange sherbet” in my kitchen that glowed gold at night and was just so warm! It was an odd color for a ktchen back then but I loved it!

    1. That is very true! You could even do that once you got the paint chips home! Thanks for the additional idea, Kathy!

    1. Too funny you still have the boards. I used thin boards with the last project… next time I’ll get regular foam board that are about 1″ thick. 😉

  3. These are great tips, Julie!! I’ve found the biggest problem is when you put the “chip” color against what is already there. Our last house had salmon color walls that threw me off for days. This house had grayish-lavender walls that made my paint look green. Horrible! Pinned and pinned!

    1. Yes, Debra… that is so difficult to really see true color against another wall… that’s why painting a big foam board can help. Not guaranteed, but it does help a lot! 😉 Thanks for pinning!

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