Perfect Paint Color Dos & Don’ts

Learn the best practices of painting your home.

Green Paint

Do: Go au natural.
Your son says he wants his room painted his favorite color: green. Tell that to the paint store assistant and he’ll give you a few shades to choose from—or rather, a few hundred. When in doubt, opt for colors that Mother Nature created. Natural colors call less attention to themselves and generally better compliment other elements of the décor — furnishings, artwork, etc.—than manufactured colors.

Don’t: Be afraid to go bold.
Choosing a natural color doesn’t have to mean choosing one that’s subdued. Rich, saturated colors can transform a room and create a dramatic backdrop for your décor. A room that gets ample sunlight and is decorated with light colored items won’t feel overly dark with bold paint.

Do: Pick your furnishings before your paint.
Choose a paint color that compliments your furniture, not the reverse. Is there a recurring color in your décor that the walls could compliment? Is there a hue in the fabric of your new chair that you’d like to bring out? Consider what’s going to be in the room before choosing what’s on the walls.

Don’t: Paint a room before furnishing it.
You can have paint mixed to match your new chair, but it’s much harder to have your chair upholstered to match your walls.

Do: Take advantage of the samples.
Start with the strips of color — bring home several, and tape them to the walls in various areas of the room and at times of day when the light changes and the colors may appear slightly different. When you’ve settled on a few options, ask for the sample size jars of paint that can be applied to the wall. Follow the same steps and consider them for a couple of days before deciding on your favorites.

Don’t: Assume that a color that looks great on someone else’s walls will work on yours.
Your friend’s bedroom may be the perfect shade of gray — for her house. But as much as you love how it looks on her walls, it may not look the same on yours. Some rooms receive more light than others, or are narrower or have higher ceilings. All of these factors and more can affect the way a single color of paint looks on different walls. Sample that divine gray before you find yourself living in a room that feels like an office cubicle.


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Originally Published in Reader's Digest