How Do You Choose a Paint Color?

For the first ten years of my adult life I lived in drab, colorless apartments. Think white walls and beige carpeting. I had a habit of moving at the end of every lease so I never took the time to paint any of the apartments. And then that all changed and a world of colorful possibilities was opened up to me…

When my husband and I bought our condo a few years ago, it was the first time either of us had the chance to paint our home. The condo was a new gut rehab and the developer had slapped a little white primer on all the walls so we not only wanted to paint, we had to.

A friend of ours handed us her old color chip book and we thought that would make color selection much easier. With the book we’d be able to stand in the rooms and flip through page after page of choices. It turns out there were a few too many choices, actually. All those options made selecting a color overwhelming.

Of course, there are limitless ways to approach choosing new colors for your home. If you already have furniture or carpet, you may choose a color that will coordinate well. If you’re starting over completely, you’ll have a lot more flexibility. (Too much?) You may choose a favorite color or one which conveys the emotion appropriate to the room.

In the end we chose colors based on a number of factors. For example, in the living room, which has a lot of windows that look out over the treetops, we chose a blue that would be like bringing the sky inside. For the dining room we initially chose a salmon color that, once on the wall, looked hot pink so we ended up painting over that with a color similar to orange sherbet. (Yes, food was the inspiration in the that room.)

Now that we've been in the condo for three years, we're starting to think about repainting. We've been kicking around a few ideas but nothing has stuck yet. And so I turn to you, dear readers. How do you select paint colors?

To see the colors we chose for our first paint job, check out our House Tour from last year.

Image: Jason Loper