How to Choose the Right Paint Color for Your Home

A fresh coat of paint is a great way to change up the look of your home, but the staggering number of paint colors you can choose from can be overwhelming. Here’s True Homes’ guide to choosing a paint color that you’ll love.

Get Inspired

While you may be tempted to start picking your paint color by hitting the store to check out their swatch cards, the dizzying array of available colors is more likely to leave you feeling lost rather than inspired. Get inspired first by looking at interior design magazines, paint company sites, Instagram, and Pinterest to see how other people are using color in their space. Pinterest is an especially great resource because it also allows you to create mood boards to organize all your favorite ideas.

Color Scheme Shortcuts

While it’s fun getting inspired looking at other people’s paint choices, you can also find inspiration closer to home. Look around your home and pick out your favorite pieces of artwork, printed fabrics, rugs, home décor, or family heirlooms. These pieces are sure to have solid color schemes that you can borrow from. Don’t forget to also take a look at permanent aspects of your home, like a brick fireplace, exposed beams, or wood floors, and factor those into your color-picking plans.

Get Technical with Color Terms

Once you’re armed with inspiration, it’s time to brush up on your color terms. Having a shared color vocabulary will make it much easier when you talk to the person mixing your paint. Hue is what we mostly talk about when referring to different colors, like red, yellow, or blue. Saturation is how vibrant a color is—think of a drab sage as opposed to a bright emerald green. Value is how light or dark a color is, like a deep navy compared to a light baby blue.

Think About the Purpose and Overall Mood of the Space

Take some time to think about how you’re going to use the space you’re painting, because color is a powerful tool when it comes to setting a mood. If you’re painting a home office, pick a stimulating warm color or an energizing bright color. If you’re painting a bedroom, consider choosing a calming cool color or a darker color to create a cozy feeling.


Lighting plays a huge role in how a color looks—some colors can even look completely different depending on the light source! Natural daylight is the most neutral type of light, so paint colors will look true to their swatch card in a room with windows that let in ample daylight. Fluorescent lights tend to make colors look bluer, while incandescent lights give colors a warm yellow tint. Be sure to look at the colors you’re considering in your home at different times of day under different lighting conditions to get the complete picture about the paint.

Samples, samples, samples

No matter how fantastic a color looks on a swatch card, you won’t truly know if it will work for your space until you get a sample and test it out at home. It’s important to always sample the paint colors you’re seriously considering so you don’t waste gallons of paint and hours of painting on something that ultimately doesn’t work. Once you have your samples, test them out near the different light sources in your room to be sure they work under all the lighting conditions in your home.

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