Picking paint for any room can be daunting. There you are, standing in front of hundreds of swatches under the brightest of light, trying to pick things out on a whim. If you’re patient and a good planner, you’ll get a bunch of samples to test in your home. I’m the opposite so I usually end up grabbing a color and rolling with it, fingers crossed.
It’s so easy to “commit” to a paint color, get it home and on the walls, and then realize you hate it. Too intense, too bright, too dark – but the thought of re-buying and re-painting is enough to just give in and live with it. Been there.
Here’s what I’ve learned. When it comes to neutral paint, my #1 tip for choosing something pleasing is to first identify the grays in any offering of paint swatches, then choose your color. It sounds weird, but trust me. Go for the grays, and among them, look for the color.
Sometimes the grays are identified in their own section, and sometimes they are dispersed and appear as the blandest option when you’re looking among one color (i.e. the blandest blue).
I hate using the word bland, but usually, it only looks that way because it’s placed right next to so many more saturated or intense colors. In this case, it looks boring. Don’t be fooled, though! If you’re going for a neutral with subtle color, this is the best tip to follow. Once you get it on the walls of an entire room, the color undertone of the gray will be easy to read.
Here’s what you do:
1. Gravitate toward the group of grays (if there isn’t a section of grays or neutrals, pull the swatches that look the most gray among a certain color you’re going for. I.e. go to the group of blue, and pull the swatches that look the most gray.)
2. While focusing on the grays only, find the color undertone that you’re going for. You should be able to pull a bunch of swatches and tell if there is a blue, green, purple, or red undertone, for the most part.
3. If you’re truly looking for something subtle, go with the color that is 1 shade lighter than the initial color you’re drawn to.
Are you starting to see the grays, and then the undertones? I hope this helps a bit! At the very least, it will prevent you from a terrifying lime green room that you thought, at the time, was mint.
Have a great weekend. We’re headed to Long Beach Island for the week – it’s the second time my butt will be on the beach all summer!