5 Tricks for Choosing the Perfect Paint Color

To finish out our series of tips for choosing and testing paint colors, we have Cyndy to share all her expertise and real-life tips and tricks for choosing the perfect paint color for your home. Don’t forget to look at all of Cyndy’s paint palettes here (plus more over on her site!) and if you missed our other painting tips, you can check them out here:

20 Awesome Painting Tips and Tricks

How to Test a Paint Color Before You Buy It

Free Apps to Try Out Paint Colors

Finding a Paint Color from a Photo

5 tricks for choosing the perfect paint color. Real-life tips for finding a paint color to work for you!

Hi Remodelaholics, it’s Cyndy from The Creativity Exchange, back with my monthly paint color post.

Last month, I did something a little different and shared a “Color Spotlight”, where I dedicated a whole post to highlighting the color Benjamin Moore Beach Glass.  If you missed that post, you can find it here.

5 Tricks for Choosing the Perfect Paint Color. Remodelaholic
via: Sherwin Williams

Sherwin Williams Naval

This month, I wanted to share a few of my favorite tricks for choosing just the right perfect paint color for a space.  Choosing colors can be challenging but with these tricks, you can eliminate the frustration and instantly pinpoint your ideal color and also eliminate and spot any hues or undertones that you don’t want to see.

**All images in today’s post have the paint color name and brand directly below each image


Benjamin Moore Silver Satin | Tricks for Choosing the Perfect Paint Color

Benjamin Moore Silver Satin


How to Choose the Perfect Paint Color

1) Choose paint colors in your home and not at the store

The most important thing in choosing color is to look at color paint cards in the space that you want to paint in your home, versus at the paint store.  The reason for this is that stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s and Sherwin Williams, all have industrial bright florescent type lighting, which can greatly alter the appearance of a color.

5 tricks for choosing the perfect paint color.

If you lay out your paint cards in the space you want to paint, with the lighting in the space, you will be able to better spot colors that will or won’t work in your space. Certain types of lighting can drastically change the appearance of a color.  For instance, spaces with a lot natural light, can make the truest gray color look blue.  Spaces with artificial light can make colors like a light warm gray color look peach or pink.  If you look at those colors in your space, you can better assess and see how the color may change in your lighting.


2) Choose colors with gray undertones to neutralize

Benjamin Moore Ashland Slate | Tricks for Choosing the Perfect Paint Color

Benjamin Moore Ashland Slate


If you’re looking for the safest colors possible, look for colors that have a slight gray undertone. Gray undertones neutralize and balance color because it diffuses pigmentation, giving a more muted color. If you’re looking for a lighter blue color, a color like Benjamin Moore Gray Wisp has a gray undertone mixed with the blue.


Benjamin Moore Gray Wisp  | Tricks for Choosing the Perfect Paint Color

Benjamin Moore Gray Wisp

You don’t need a lot of gray in the undertone to get a more muted/safer color.  Because gray helps to neutralize undertones, it’s also a trick I use to ensure that all of the colors I choose throughout my home will work together and transitional room to room.


Benjamin Moore Mount Saint Anne | Tricks for Choosing the Perfect Paint Color

Benjamin Moore Mount Saint Anne


When you look at colors at the paint store, it’s real easy to spot the colors that have a gray undertone because they are the colors that border the true grays.  In other words, look where the true gray begins to transition into the blues, greens, etc.. If you look at the areas where the color transition begins right after the gray, these are the colors with a gray undertone.  If you want a strong gray undertone, choose the first color as the transition begins.  If you want just a slight hint, choose the color 2-3 into the color.


3) See the Color in Action

Behr Perfect Taupe | Tricks for Choosing the Perfect Paint Color

Behr Perfect Taupe


Once you have narrowed down your color choices, it helps so much to see the color in action.  You can do this by searching the paint color name and brand on Pinterest in the search box.

As you can see in the below screen shot, I typed in “Accessible Beige” into the Pinterest search box and several spaces popped up with rooms painted in this color:

5 tricks for choosing the perfect paint color


Almost every paint color can be found by searching on Pinterest and as you look below, you’ll see I was able to see a great example of Accessible Beige painted on a wall:

Sherwin-Williams Accessible Gray | Tricks for Choosing the Perfect Paint Color

Sherwin Williams Accessible Gray


Of course, it’s important to remember that paint colors will not look the same in every home but it does help to give a better overall feel for the color. The great thing is that there are so many different examples of each paint color on Pinterest that you can see your possible color in different lighting situations just by searching the color. Again, it is just a way to see the color in action and to help you determine how the color looks painted in a space.

Pura Paints Sing Time | Tricks for Choosing the Perfect Paint Color

Para Paints Sing Time

If you’re not sure of what color you’re interested, you can look through my “Pick a Paint Color” board on Pinterest here for tons of spaces painted in various colors.  I always add the name and brand of the paint color to each pin so everyone can see the color in action.


4) Paint a Sample Board

Sherwin-Williams Dovetail | Tricks for Choosing the Perfect Paint Color

Sherwin Williams Dovetail

When you have narrowed down your color to one or two possible choices, it’s important to paint a sample of the color on a large poster board and tape it to the wall.  A large poster board gives you a better visual of how the color will look and it also helps to take a look at night with lights turned on to see if you will also like the color at night.

If you have a couple choices and are having a hard time narrowing it down further, painting several poster boards is the best way to better determine which color is your ideal color.


5) Tweak your Color

Sherwin-Williams North Star | Tricks for Choosing the Perfect Paint Color

Sherwin Williams North Star


Don’t be afraid to customize or tweak a color.  If you have done all of the above and wish that a particular color was just a little lighter, darker or a very slight change in color, tell the guys at the paint store what the color lacks or needs and they will help you assess how to tweak the color.  I have found that most of the time, the color I want is usually between two shades on the paint card.  I have the guys at the paint store combine the two colors and give me a sample and paint another poster board.  Every time I have done this, the color is always exactly what I’m looking for.  If it’s still not right, the guys at the paint store can suggest tweaks.


Benjamin Moore Thunder | Tricks for Choosing the Perfect Paint Color

Benjamin Moore Thunder


Those are my 5 favorite tips for choosing paint colors.  If you’re looking for my more in depth post on how tips for easily arrowing down your choices and how to instantly spot undertones, I shared all of my tips and tricks here on my blog.

For more paint tips and color palettes, you can find me over on my blog The Creativity Exchange.

Thanks for stopping by!



How to try a paint color before you buy it Best Painting Tips, Tricks, and Techniques - I wish I had known all of these before my last painting project
How to create a paint color palette from a photo. 6 free apps that make it easy. Great for decorating a cohesive room and home! @Remodelaholic 7 Free Mobile Apps to Test Paint Color BEFORE You Buy


Website | + posts

Cyndy is a color expert who has transitioned from the fashion world to the design world by helping others choose just the right paint colors for their homes. Cyndy takes the guesswork out of choosing paint colors and has been sharing her tips and paint color palettes with her readers for more than four years on her blog The Creativity Exchange.

Cyndy lives in East Texas and is an artist working with designers to create commissioned paintings that enhance the color and design of a space.

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  1. Hi! I am a clutter bug, but trying to reform and not collect so much stuff! Problem is, my very new husband of only 5 months is a minimalist sort of. He thinks I’m a very good decorator, just thinks I’m a hoarder. I’m not, it’s just that I deal with clinical depression from the result of a failed past marriage and afterwards a verbally abisive and controlling ex boyfriend. I have extreme low self esteem, slightly overweight and I gained during my courtship with my now husband Charlie! I went from a 3500 sq ft hone previous marriage and got all the stuff from after divorce and then my Mother went into assisted living and my siblings and I took turns with taking home her things, which were my Dads also, who passed away years before. So I’m a very sentimental woman! I love and adore my Momma, but also love and adore and respect my sweet adorable and beautiful husband! I prefer yard sales, good will, thrift shops and antique shops for my decor, verses brand new, except for towels, sheets and bedding. I’m into old world, French country and some traditional styles with a transitional edge. I do not care for modern or contemporary at all and I do not believe my hubby does either. He lives antiques too! We both love Maple wood and oak, not into the dark woods of mahogany, walnut or cherry much. I’m kind of an eclectic collector. Used to collect music boxes, Amber glass, nautical, lighthouses, bird decor, Angels, etc… Now I’m in the process of downsizing everything, not into collecting a lot of one thing so much anymore. I’m more into finding special ornate frames for our romantic pictures, wedding photos and family pix together and displaying the all over our house. I have had yard sales, so,d things on Craigslist, gave away stuff to friends and family members and even gave away things to good will, but I still have so much stuff I do not want, but would like to sell because we really need the money, to pay off wedding, go on trips and general bills. How can I sell stuff in bulk quickly and when I’m done how do I finish decorating my kind if small home with what’s left, but still have my taste, his likes and not look bare or minimalist. I love photo gallery walls. I love paint colors, not neutrals so much, but we are thinking of putting our house on the market in 3 to 5 years, after we finish painting inside and outside and redo most of the flooring, hardwoods need refinishing, vinyl needs to go in guest bath fir ceramic tile and we want to rip up all the carpet, but not sure what to put down, hardwoods or ceramic tile in family room with a stone fireplace and 3 bedrooms and staircase with bonus room, replace a sink and faucet and countertops in the kitchen, add cabinets and countertop to laundry room, add a few ceiling fans and some lighting, a little landscaping, then we are ready for the real estate market. I need help! I’m very overwhelmed and tired and sad. Thanks!

  2. HI Cindy, What color trim would you use with BM Silver Satin? Thank you in advance for your reply.