Interior Design Tips and Tricks

How to Pick Paint Colors for Your Home: 3 Simple Tips to Follow

June 1, 2020

Overwhelmed by the zillions of paint color choices out there? Believe it or not, you can learn how to pick paint colors for your home using some very simple tips and tricks. You do not need any interior design skills or education to master this failproof system!

Without a doubt, one of the most common questions I get from readers is, “How do I pick paint colors for my home? I am so overwhelmed. I don't even know where to start!” If that's how you feel, let me assure you that you aren't alone. I have been there myself! 

In our first house, I randomly picked out a red paint color for our kitchen. I didn’t test colors on the wall next to our cabinets. I didn’t even take paint swatches home to look at them before deciding. I just went to the paint store, picked a red color and went home and painted. And it was a disaster. I hated it. So I went back to the store and chose a different red and painted it again. Did I test the new color? NOPE. I figured the second one had to be better. I still hated it.

FINALLY, I took the time to bring some paint swatches home and hold them up next to our cabinets and chose a red that worked with the wood tones of our cabinets. I purchased paint for the third time and painted the kitchen AGAIN (this time by myself because I was too embarrassed to ask my husband to help me paint it AGAIN) and finally loved it.

Do you know how many hours and dollars I wasted by painting my kitchen without really understanding how to pick paint colors? A LOT. Sigh…

Well, the good news is that you don't have to waste your own time and money. Below are my 3 simple tips for how to pick paint colors for your home. And if you want a printable version of these tips plus other design guides and more FOR FREE, just click the image below to subscribe.

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3 Simple Tips to Pick Paint Colors For Your Home

Tip 1

Take a look at what colors you like wearing. Most people buy clothes in colors they like to wear, and you should paint your rooms in colors that you love, too! If you are obsessed with navy blue (like me), chances are you will love a home painted in hues of blue. My home is filled with blues that I love.

Tip 2

Choose a color scheme from the largest pattern that you will be using in the room. If you've got patterned upholstery, a colorful rug or large piece of artwork, pick colors you like from the pattern. For a neutral wall paint color, look to the pattern's whites and beiges. If you don't have any pieces to go into the room yet, go to the fabric store! 

Learn how to pick paint colors

Tip 3 

Aim for about 5 paints colors in your home. They should consist of the following:

1) A white (and/or navy…if you are daring like me, lol!). This white will be the color of your trim, ceilings, etc. I have white ceilings and trim, and we have used the same white ceiling paint throughout our house. I recently finished painting all of our interior doors navy. (We had painted them black, which you can read about by clicking here, but I realized I preferred them to be navy, so I have switched them all again!). You can see our white trim and ceiling and one of our navy doors here in our kitchen.

kitchen with blue door

2) A neutral. This can be tan, grey or even a blue (yes, blue can be neutral–jeans go with everything, don't they?!). This color will bring everything together in your home and is the perfect color to use when you aren't sure what else to use. For example, your neutral is a great color to use in spaces that connect other rooms, like hallways. The color Falling Snow is the neutral white we use throughout our home. You can see it here in our family room. We love it as a neutral backdrop for lots of pops of color in decor and artwork!

colorful family room with white walls

3) Three additional colors:

  • Color of your choice #1
  • Color of your choice #2
  • Color of your choice #3

That means you really only have 3 hard choices to make, and you can use the fabric you fell in love with to help guide these choices. We chose three hues of blue for our additional colors (I told you I love blue!). We use the navy Midnight in the Tropics for the doors throughout our home (see the kitchen picture above and the photo of our upstairs hallway below) and in the dining room.

navy blue dining room with Article dining table and chairs

colorful hallway gallery wall

In the foyer we use a beautiful light blue, Babbling Brook. That is our second “additional color.” 

staircase with colorful art

Our third color is Morning Fog in the master bedroom. (You can also see one of my navy doors! See how well the colors all work together?) 

colorful master bedroom

The most important thing to remember is that you should choose colors you love. Don't overthink it. All of the colors you see in my home are colors I truly love. Just follow these simple tips and you will be on your way to having a color palette in your home that you love!

Find a piece of fabric with several colors THAT YOU LOVE. Since those colors work well together on fabric, they should work well together as paint colors! Buy a yard or so of the fabric so you can have it with you as you choose paint colors. The bonus is that you can use the fabric to make something later (it can be something simple like a pillow cover). That's it. I told you it was simple! 

Choosing the perfect paint color is just one small part of a cohesive and beautiful room design. There's so much more that matters, like choosing items that are the correct scale, space planning, mixing patterns, choosing colors and more! I give easy-to-understand guidance on all of this in Designer in a Binder®! And the brand new 3rd edition starts shipping soon. You can order your binder now. We have over 4,600 happy customers so far! Click here to learn more.
Designer in a Binder interior decorating book and system
Designer in a Binder interior decorating book and system
Designer in a Binder interior decorating book and system

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  1. Yolanda says:

    Hi Tasha,
    I have all of your products including the t-shirt. My ? is how did you get the swatches looking in such an organized manner. The swatches that I see like in H.D. or Lowes are only a swatch of a single color, not a row like you have it on your website?

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