When Should I Pick My Paint Color?

Help! I’ve heard that I should choose my paint color before I start on my room, but I’ve also heard that it should be the last thing you pick. What’s the right time to pick my paint color?

Both. Wait, hang on! Don’t throw up your hands in despair just yet! Let me tell you why.

Suppose you’ve been dreaming of a bedroom with beautiful dark blue walls. You’ve got a Pinterest board full of inspiration rooms you love and you’re ready to get started redesigning your room. That right there? That’s choosing a color before you start and it’s a good thing. Your wall color is going to play a huge role in the overall look of your room. (Read more about inspiration pics and paint colors here.)

Keep in mind, though, that this is not the time to pick the exact paint color! You’ve still got bedding, furniture, window treatments, lighting, artwork, and a rug to coordinate—locking yourself into a very specific blue paint complicates all of that.

Plus, the blue you pick now may not look the same once everything else is in the room. Slightly different undertones really do make a difference.

Once you’re ready, get the largest paint chips you can of several different shades of your ideal color. Now, take them home, and make sure you look at everything (samples or the real thing—NOT pictures!) together in your room. Remember, the paint doesn’t have to absolutely match the other colors you’re bringing in. In fact, having everything the exact same color gets boring, fast!

After you find a shade you like, it’s a good idea to go to the paint store and get a sample-size of the paint. (Like these little cuties from Benjamin Moore.)

Helpful hint: Instead of painting test swatches on your wall, get a piece of foam core from the craft store and paint on that. That way, you can move your sample around the room to see how the color looks in different areas and with different lighting. (If the color you picked doesn’t quite look right, it’s okay—just try again with another shade.)

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