The Do’s and Don’ts of Choosing Paint Colors

Couple select paint color and look matching samples at household

Most of us have been here before, standing in front of a wall of thousands of colors trying to select just a few for your painting project. Once you do narrow it down to a couple of options, the same selection process takes place in your home. This can be an overwhelming experience, eventually your eyes become tired and the colors all begin to look the same. To help you prevent this, we made a list of tried and true tricks to make your next color selection process a breeze.

Don’t: Rush

Don’t wait until your painter is knocking on your door to decide on a paint color. This is a way that will almost certainly have you choosing a color you are not completely satisfied with. Plan your project in advance and give yourself plenty of time to browse the paint store and bring colors into your home before committing to gallons and your painter’s time.


Do: Buy Samples

For a small investment of $8.00, you can pick up a pint of any Benjamin Moore color. Rather than taping the small color chip you picked up at the store to your wall, paint several large swatches on different walls to achieve a full understanding of how the color will look in the room. When you order a gallon of paint, it is custom mixed for your order and is non-returnable. At close to $50.00/gallon, buying a few samples could save you from making a costly mistake.


Don’t: Forget About Lighting

Test. Observe. Repeat. Once you paint your samples on the wall, leave them there for a few days to give yourself the opportunity to view the color throughout the day and see how it changes in different lighting.  The stunning gray you applied in the morning may start look blue once the sun goes down and you are relying on artificial light.


Do: Use a Primer

Yes, almost every paint available says it is a paint & primer in one. While this may be the case if you are touching up with the same color already on your walls, a primer will give you the blank slate you need to achieve a color switch. This is especially true for dark, rich colors like red, blue, and purple which require a lot of added colorant to create the color. Also, if you have been testing samples on your wall, a primer will provide a consistent base for your top coat and prevent flashing (differences in paint sheen that is caused by painting over an uneven surface).

Benjamin Moore Caliente AF-290, 2018 Color of the Year

Don’t: Be Afraid of Color

Use colors that you enjoy rather than settling for something safe. If you love a deep eggplant shade, find a way to incorporate it into your space even if it just used as an accent wall. It is easy to fall into a habit of painting every room a neutral like gray or beige. Focusing on colors that you enjoy lays the foundation to create a room that you are completely satisfied with.

Benjamin Moore Shadow 2117-30, 2017 Color of the Year

Do: Work with a Color Consultant

Working with a color consultant is beneficial whether you are painting one room or an entire home. The color that you choose for the wall will interact with the other colors in the room like flooring, cabinetry, furniture, and accessories. Consulting with a trained eye for color will help you understand the undertones of different colors and guide you in selecting that perfect shade for your project. Read more about the benefits of working with a color consultant here. 

The National Lumber Family of Companies is dedicated to making sure your project is done right the first time. Visit any of the 12 Benjamin Moore showrooms across New England to discuss your project with the Benjamin Moore Paint Experts and color consultants on staff.


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