5 Tips For Picking Out The Perfect Paint Color

After buying our home, we wanted to paint the walls and ceilings prior to moving in. Before even looking at paint chips, I knew I wanted white walls everywhere. I know, I know, white is boring…I just think it gives me freedom to change up my decor any time I want 😃. My pinterest boards were filled with white washed rooms that I adored, so obviously my heart and my head were on the same page (and thankfully Ben was too!).
Ben and I went on a Home Depot date one Saturday and picked out a few white paint colors (we are super exciting!).  We came back to the house and painted 3 swatches on each wall with the 3 different whites.  I also painted 3 large poster boards with each color so that I could move them about our home in different light. As soon as I saw the paint go up, I knew which color I wanted to choose.
That weekend we went back to Home Depot and bought a 5 gallon tub of THEE color and got busy painting.  As it went up, I kept thinking to myself, “does this look purple? No way…it’s white! It can’t be purple…It’s not purple.” After painting 3 walls, I discovered my instincts were correct. It started holding a purpley-pink undertone (one of my least favorite color combos).  I mentioned it to Ben and he rolled his eyes. So we stopped painting and slept on it to see if it showed differently in the daytime.
It DID, but it still had a purplish hue to it and I was not going to be happy with that color all over every wall.  But we still had close to 5 gallons of this paint left, so instead we thought it would be a good idea to use it as our primer (spoiler-that was a bad idea too).
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SO….we went back to Home Depot after “priming” our walls because I knew what color I ACTUALLY wanted to use; the brightest white possible that wouldn’t show any color. AKA the white that you don’t need to add color to because it’s the starter white (Behr Ultra Pure White). We purchased 3 gallons of Ultra Pure White-because we weren’t going to buy another 5 gallon bucket again (sorry Ben 😔 ), and got painting. I LOVED the color. It was so white and bright and beautiful, but it wasn’t covering over our “primer”…WHAT?! Yes you read that right. We painted our whole house thinking it only needed one more coat of this new white…and we were wrong.  It didn’t cover because the white we started with was slightly darker, and we were being cheap and did not buy the highest quality paint.
So there we were, me looking at Ben with puppy dog eyes hoping he wouldn’t hate me for wanting needing to buy more paint. After some coercing, we were headed back to our second home, Home Depot, to buy MORE PAINT….3 more gallons to be exact.  So. Much. Paint. We finished with the second coat and all the edging and it looked amazing. It was worth the trial and error and I am happy I didn’t settle on the wrong white paint, but PLEASE learn from my painting mistake and follow my tips to help you pick the right paint the first time around.
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Tip #1: Paint Everywhere
DO paint swatches on your wall. Paint large grandiose swatches near the ceiling, the baseboards, in low light and in high light areas.  DO NOT decide right away. For some paint colors it may be easy, but for others…give it time to sink in. If you see the swatch you painted is picking up different colors in the paint, it will definitely pick up those colors when it is painted over everything. Paint poster boards to use as a big paint swatch and move them around the house.
Tip #2: Talk it out
Ask a trusted friend their opinion.  If you like their home design style, they make generally good choices when it comes to their home decor, or they are brutally honest with you, invite them over for coffee and pick their brain on your paint swatches.
Tip #3: Research and Refunds
If it is not the right paint color, don’t use it. See if you can return it, but most likely you won’t be able to. Many hardware stores are not willing to give you a refund or your money back for the unused paint. This is why it is so important to take my first tip.
Tip #4: Splurge. You Won’t Regret It
Splurge on high-quality paint. You may think you are saving yourself money by buying the cheaper paint, but more than likely you will have to paint 2 coats and buy twice as much as you would of the high quality paint.  Do your research, price compare 2 gallons of the cheap paint to 1 gallon of the expensive paint and pick the cheapest of the 2.
Tip #5: Show Grace
Be gracious to yourself or your spouse if it still isn’t the right color.  Sometimes you can prepare all you want but it still ends up being the wrong color.  Smile, hug them, and go buy more paint because you love them. (Ben is the best at this!)
I hope these 5 steps have helped you prepare for your next painting project.  If you know any tricks or tips for choosing the best paint color for your space, share in the comments below.
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