5 Tips for Picking the Perfect Paint Color

5 Tips for Picking the Perfect Paint Color



I have wanted to write an updated post about the paint colors from the house for the longest time.


And I have been remiss.

So in a vain attempt to make up for the complete and utter lack of paint color discussion…..I thought I would provide completely unsolicited advice on the ins and outs of choosing a paint color.  You know I couldn’t just write a post about paint colors…..I have to offer up a big opinion.  However…..I preface any and all big opinions offered here with the disclaimer that……I am not an expert.

I don’t work for a paint company.

I have not gone to paint color school.

What I am…..though…..is so much better.  I am the person who has painted and repainted and repainted rooms because I couldn’t figure out the answer to this simple question,  “Why did the paint color in the store not look like the paint color on my wall?”

If you are a paint color expert….this post is not for you.  

If you have ever stood in front of a paint chip display and closed your eyes and pointed….please read the following:

5 Hints for Choosing A Paint Color


Butlers Pantry Mindful Gray

Butler’s Pantry:  SW Mindful Gray


(1)  The darkest color on the paint strip is your best friend

When you are looking at colors on two (or three different) strips of paint chips, many times the colors will appear to be the same.  THEY ARE NOT!  Do not be fooled.  Each strip of paint color chips is tinted in a slightly different direction.

For example, a khaki could have a pink base or a blue base.

A gold can have a green base or a brown base.  A red could have an orange base or a pink base.  (I think you get the point).


Kitchen Thistlewood Farm Rice Grain

Kitchen:  SW Rice Grain


To see the true color tint….look at the darkest color on the strip.

This color has the most color saturation and you can see the true base color much more easily.


Family Room Mindful Gray

Family Room:  SW Mindful Gray


(2)  All surfaces are not created equal

Fact #1:  When painting a ceiling any other color than white go at least one shade lighter.

Color on a ceiling appears darker than on the wall.


Dining Room Anonymous

Dining Room:  SW Anonymous

Fact #2:  When choosing a color for the floor…..always go one or two shades lighter.

The color on the floor appears darker than on the wall.


Library Mindful Gray

Library:  SW Mindful Grey

Fact #3:  When looking at a paint chip in the store….hold it next to something white to see the true color.

Holding it next to anything else can throw off the tones in the paint.


Master Bedroom Rice Grain

Master Bedroom:  SW Rice Grain

(3)  Saturation is the Key

If you remember nothing else from this post.

If in two months you say, “thistlewood who?”

Please, please remember this unsolicited advice when you are standing in front of that paint display:

Find the color you want…..and then go one shade darker.


Painted Plywood Subfloor

Painted Plywood Sub-floor:  SW Rice Grain and SW Ramie


I know. 

It’s scary.

It’s only natural……we have a tendency to go lighter with our paint choices.  The only problem is, natural light and “stuff” tend to wash out our first color choice.

Trust me on this one.  You will be much happier with a little more saturation.


  Guest bathroom Gris

Guest Bathroom:  SW Gris 

(4) You Can Never Have Enough Paint

You have seen them in the paint store mixing paint.  They take the tinted base and then add different colors.  Here’s the secret:  no can of paint is exactly the same.

They are close.  Maybe you won’t see a difference.  Maybe you will.

Don’t take the chance.

Buy a five gallon bucket and mix your cans together before you paint.

Learn from a person with a two-tone painted room.


Hallway Ivoire

Hallway:  SW Ivoire

(5)  Sample, sample, sample

They sell $5.95 quart paint samples at Sherwin Williams.

I suggest you do not let $5.95 come between you and the perfect wall color.

A painted swatch on the wall beats a paint chip color hands down every time.



  Gray Hutch Paint colors


So for the person who e-mailed me about the paint color of this hutch, I can’t really help you out.  You see, it’s invented.

It’s a little bit of SW Rice Grain and a little bit of SW Worldly Gray…..and a whole lot of nonsense.

Let’s call it SW:  Anonymous Mindful Rice Grain Worldly Grey….

….and leave it at that. 🙂

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  1. This is such great advice KariAnne! I am someone who has done just about everything you described and found the same truths. I was just helping a friend choose new colors for her kitchen walls and cabinetry and kept telling her to always look at the darkest color to get its true hue and color casting. Thank you for putting this post up with the advice you shared. I think sometimes people may think it is really hard to choose paint color by them selves, but really it’s just a process. It’s also the cheapest way you can get a lot of bang for your buck and if you don’t like it you can just paint again :-). I hope you have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend! 🙂

  2. You have certainly been so “mindful” in your paint color choices…All of your rooms are so beautifully wrapped with such warmth due to these choices…Thanks for presenting these great painting tips. When painting my ceilings, I have the “mixer” mix the ceiling paint a shade 25% lighter than the wall paint…seems to work well….Have a great weekend!!

  3. Thanks for sharing this good advice. The colors in your home are beautiful!

  4. Pamela Christopher :

    Wonderful post! Thankyou

  5. Did you know that Tahra and I know each other from Orlando?
    Andy and I lived there for 3 years doing campus ministry, and our families got to know one another through a homeschool coop. cool, huh?

    She’s wonderful and has the best work ethic!

    I’m so glad she’s a sponsor for you!

  6. I knew we were kindred spirits! A Sherwin Williams lover after my own heart! Great tips, girl.

  7. Maybe you should’ve posted this post BEFORE I picked out my new paint colors! LOL! And I tend to go to the darkest tones on the paint strip. Some day maybe I’ll meet it somewhere in the middle!

    🙂 Linda

  8. Such a great post, KariAnne.
    Thank you. Love all of your colors,

  9. These are some great, great tips! It took me a long time to convince Joel of the ‘let’s go one shade darker’ idea … but it really does make a huge difference!! And the mixing, oh Lordy, the shades we’ve created. lol Love all the color combos in your beautiful home!!

  10. Aingeal Murray :

    Hi, I am fairly new to your site….Love! I know this has nothing to do with paint color but…in your family room there is a I hope you dance wall hanging, can you tell me more about that? Did you purchase it? Make it? I have always told my son that is a song from me to him, any info you could share would be greatly appreciated! 🙂


  11. Great tips! Especially about the darkest color having the truest color saturation. Getting ready to look for grey paints. This will be a good test for seeing purples or blues! Wish me luck!!

  12. Love your color choices. Thank you for sharing. I am planning on doing some painting this spring and may use a couple of your choices. I really like the Mindful Gray and the Rice Grain. I need to go pick up some color chips of these and maybe some sample pots if they have them.

  13. Just made a doc of this to take with me to the store next time I choose paint. I have definitely used the ‘guess your best’ system in the past.

  14. Agreed on the one shade darker theory. I have a too light living room because I didn’t follow that advice. Sigh.

  15. I so love all your color choices and have found that the $4.95 sample can is a really good investment. We stained our new deck last summer and ended up with four sample cans before we stumbled on to the right color. I have a question about your white trim color. I have tried a couple of different whites and still am not happy with the ones I’ve used. I’d like to fine the perfect white and use only that one throughout the whole house. Thanks for your help.

  16. You read my mind, didn’t you?!? I was just at Worthing Court looking at your fabulour house and say to myself I love the color of her kitchen! Since I getting ready to lighten up my house a little, I decided to pop over to ask the color and look at you! You read my mind!! Thanks so much for sharing! I’ll be “borrowing” some ideas!

  17. It’s me again! What finish to you buy? Flat, eggshell, semi-gloss….?

  18. What a great post! Love your home!

  19. I’ve always heard people say, “it’s just paint”. But it is a LOT more. Great advice! I’ll have to make myself a cheat sheet to take to the paint store next time I get ambitious. We are going to try our hand at painting a brick fireplace…any suggestions?? 😉

  20. Thank you so much for the post! I wish I had read this 4 years ago when we built our house. I love all of the colors you selected and now I want to repaint certain rooms. Today. Love, love, love everything you post. You are very inspiring!

  21. I just wish you’d come to my house and paint for me! Every time I see your house I fall in love! It is just beautiful!!

  22. You always have super good tips. Really. Some people post about the most obvious things (although I should say it may not be “most obvious” to all). But I actually learn stuff from you. Yup . . . stuff. Thanks again for an eye opening post. Although I already picked the paint for the living room, so you’re about 5 days too late. 🙂

  23. Great tips! Thanks for sharing. Your colors are gorgeous in your home!

  24. HI! What perfect timing! I was going to SW this week-end for paint for my living room. Got real tired of a ceiling fan with the cord draped halfway across the ceiling, took it down and now I have a big spot on the ceiling!!:( Have a great week-end!

  25. Great advice my very smart friend!

  26. Oh Kari Anne, how did you know I needed this post? We are building a new house, and I need paint colors. I love the rice grain, and I will have the painters paint a square of that so I can see it in our house. I was going to go with Windsor Greige which is what we have at the ranch, but now I am looking around, and seeing these lighter walls. I think this is going to be “the one”!! Thanks!!

  27. Awesome advice! AND you answered a question for me as well–my house is mostly blues and whites and creamy off white! I have been wanting to paint the walls in a soft shade of grey but was worried about the creamy beige tones looking nasty with it. Then I was admiring your rooms and you have combined the shades and they look gorgeous!
    Once again, you save the day!

    Thanks Karianne

  28. The only way I have ever got paint right on the first try is to let someone else pick it out! Worked again for me just last weekend.


  29. Thanks for the great advice!! Paint color is one of my pitfalls. I’m constantly changing my mind and never know what I should do for each room. You rock the socks off me feets!!

  30. I wish I would have know this before we painted the whole house! We bought the wrong color and ended up donating 7 gallons to Salvation Army. Still better than putting in all the work and then deciding we could not live with it! The samples are truly worth it, we did that after the first mistake. I found painting the samples in different rooms like the foyer and hallway along with the great room helped make our decision also, the natural lighting made wild differences in the same color moving from room to room. One other thing I wish I would have considered is that “ceiling white” should not be a buy 1 fits all answer. I wish I would have chosen a white that complemented my color a little more. We have made big strides though, we went from ivory paint color choices for the last 30 years to Lowes Tightrope with white ceilings and baseboards. We really jumped out of our bland comfort zone and I am happy that we did!

  31. Dear lady, PLEASE tell me where you got your library curtains…I have been looking for 3 years for a good brown/white toile!!! Oh, pretty please? Oh, and your house is totes fab!!!

  32. Ps, don’t you like Ben Moore? Tat is all I have used in those last 10 years and I pinky swear by it!

  33. Beautiful paint colors! Interestingly, it seems to me that paint on the ceiling looks lighter than on the wall! Maybe it’s the light in the Pacific Northwest, but in my kitchen, where the walls and ceiling are painted the same color (there’s no crown moulding), the ceiling looks a couple of shades lighter.

  34. Thanks for the tips! I love your paint choices, and I LOVE your ombre-painted shelves! You’re an inspiration.

  35. oh KariAnne this is exactly what I’ve been needing… you see I want to change the color of my kitchen. and yes this is causing much panic and grief in my household. You see my family LOVES the Valspar Tomato walls, me not so much any longer. I mean when I’m in there yes i love it but our kitchen opens up to the dining room which opens up to the living room on one side and the family room on the other other side. You can see the kitchen from ALL 3 areas. During much of the day the room seems so dark due to insufficient natural lighting… one small window. I painted the cabinets white and LOVE them (even if they are dirty right now) but the walls just seem so dark. Cozy is great but I just don’t know. ARGHHHHHH I so wish someone could come in and say oh this is what you should paint your walls… you will absolutely LOVE it! (i know pipe dream…. but a girl can still dream, right?) (oh and white walls really freak my family out… they are guys who like either bold colors or deep moody colors… tomato, graphite, parrot green, brown, etc)

    Thanks for any advice you have offered! (you could take a look at the kitchen and see what you think….) Have a wonderful weekend!!

  36. Your home is beautiful! Thank you for the post! I’m in the same boat as Peggy ^ my living room, kitchen, and breakfast area all open into each other. I am tired of the typical beige color and want something beautiful! Greens and grays inspire me and I think either would be fine with my white cabinets, I’m just scared to commit to something!

  37. I chuckled when I saw you had used Ivoire. You see, my sister recently bought a house and painted the entire interior in Ivoire. I asked her what color she used and she told me, “SW Ivoire” but what i HEARD was “SW Au Revoir”. Now, switch to me at my friendly local SW, insisting that they had a color called Au Revoir and i KNOW you have it because my sister used it. Those poor dear people searched high and low for Au Revoir, but, of course, to no avail. I later texted my sister that our SW didn’t carry the Au Revoir, which is when i found out my mistake. I laughed hysterically for about 15 minutes. My sister failed to see the humor. I haven’t been back to SW 😉

  38. I agree with this with the exception of when I picked a yellow. It has always appeared more saturated than I wanted. Don’t think I’ll paint anything yellow again! Love rice grain. I read your pallet desk post. Doesn’t Pioneer Woman have Marlboro man? You could have pallet man!

  39. Yes! I totally agree with #3, always go darker, otherwise it’s just back the 80’s and a million beige rooms:)


  40. I was just rereading your advice the other night! This is so helpful, Karianne. Thank you so much! I love how you attached the paint colors to the pictures with the little buttons…so charming. Also, may I ask the color you used in your entryway, please?

  41. Thanks so much for the great tips!

  42. Great advice, especially as I have been standing in front of the paint chips in Home Depot daily for the last week trying to decide on a color for my living room. Thanks so much for giving me a direction!

  43. Putting my chips on white paper was the best advice I ever got. And I had completely forgotten it until I read your post. Why can’t a girl remember the important things in life????? Now if good paint just didn’t cost so much. Cause there really is a difference…like cheap shoes don’t cut it, no matter how cute.

    • I can also tell you how NOT to choose your color. In the end it did work out fine…but really…I think God saved the day. Here’s the way it all happened… Take arm cover off sofa before the movers pick it up. Drive to new home in new state. Less than 24 hours before movers arrive…with only 8 hours of light remaining and only one overhead light available…drive again to Lowe’s with friend and husband with a handful for BM sample picked up a few days before that had just passed the test between the wood floor and the sofa fabric. Stand in the parking lot with swatches and fabric and pick one. Arrrgh. Have paint mixed, clean walls sorta, and start painting and get one small great room done just as it’s getting really dark. Feeling so energized, before the last wall is even painted, you ask friend to drive back to Lowe’s 20 min away with the name of a paint color you used 10 years ago that will perfectly go with the sofa in the family room…which you are also going to start painting around 8 PM. Of course…the clerk doesn’t know how to use the computer to pull up the name of their own brand of paint. But…good friends knowing they must come through remembers the color I am after in her mind’s eye and comes back with a fair substitute. And yes…I was in bed (air mattress up on the floor) at midnight and ready when the movers arrived at 7:30 the next morning. I can do all things through God who gives me strength. That is no way to choose colors. Regardless, at a dinner party one guest said…what is your paint color? It’s perfect…my friend can’t find the perfect color and I’d like to tell her the name of this one. I think she’d like it. LOL!

  44. Oh how I love your blog…let me count the ways! This is really good info and I really loved your rice grain color….inspiring.

    One question for you….seems like you prefer SW….is there any reason? I’ve never used SW but would like to try it. I always heard that there are paints that are better than others. Not sure though.

    BTW, I just got my Country Living mag and your beautiful face was all up in that publication! Congrats!!


  45. KA-

    This may have been unsolicited advice – bu t it is TRULY one of the best posts I have ever read.

    Not only is it brilliant and fun but OMG to see all your rooms again like that, makes me SWOON with delight and makes me wanna get out of this bed and run to SW and get to painting my world again.


    Have a truly fabulous weekend.


  46. Fabulous tips KariAnne.
    I remember doing this with my then teen boys when picking colours for their rooms in the new home. They both chose a 2 tone room.. hkaki and chocolate. Easy enough… then I take them to the store to choose the paint. I pulled a few choices to make life easier for me… they both balked at my saturated choices and said the rooms will look like caves. I can remember SW Tumbleweed Tan won for the lighter shade in both rooms… I now cannot think of the ‘chocolate’ accent wall choices.. But They chose under duress. After the rooms were painted…. they were both amazed at how ‘bright’ the caves were.. Hahahahaaa.. Glad they listened to Mom. ‘ After all’, one said to the other.. ‘she does paint you know ( canvasses) So I guess she does know something about colour and hues.’ Sigh… kids!!!
    Hugs, Gee

  47. Great post! I totally agree….buy samples to get the exact color then buy a 5 gal bucket! This has saved me time and time again. 🙂

  48. I love the idea of a paint called “Anonymous”. I am personally not capable of doing anything in a nondescript manner. I wonder if that’s the draw for me.

  49. Thanks! Maybe next time I will go a shade darker than Navajo White. =)

  50. Thank you for
    the lesson!

    There is nothing
    like painter’s remorse,
    is there?

    Happy Weekend!

    xo Suzanne

  51. Great advice, Kari! Aren’t those samples the bomb-diggety??
    Enjoy your weekend!
    xo Heidi

  52. Another paint tip I got from a friend is to have them mix the color you love at a lower percentage. I’m gonna try that one the next time I paint my living room. It takes the undertones down.
    Love the necklace!

  53. Courtney Taylor :

    I have been waiting for this post all of my Thistlewood Farm-lovin life!!

  54. Great advice Karianne..I hope I won’t need to use it soon…By the time I need it, I’ll forget where to find it..I hope, I hope…

  55. Excellent! Thank you for doing this!

    Now I have a question: Have you seen the bazillion WHITES?….They really scare me!!!!!!!!!!!

    Would you suggest the same tips for those?

    LOVE the tip about the paint sample colors!!!


  56. Great painting advice Karianne. Testing the paint on the wall is such an important step.

    Your home is lovely – and I like the way you’ve used the same paint colours throughout. I pinned your dining room, and the photo says, Dining Room – Anonymous. HA! Not very.

  57. I love the paint swatch on the photos. You are brilliant. BRILLIANT. [hugs] Oh good heavens K.A. I just typed JUGS instead of hugs. That could’ve been embarrassing…. ROTFL!!! {must be past my bedtime!}

  58. Marvelous tip for someone who is just starting out a new adventure! Thank you so much!

  59. Great advice which I def needed!! Thx girl!

  60. Thank you SO much for these tips, Karianne!!! You answered so many questions for me today! I pinned this post for future reference. 🙂

    xoxo laurie

  61. Great advice!!! Thank you so much!!! Beautiful home and blog!!


  62. Karianne! Thank you so much for this little paint seminar. I needed it since we are getting ready to do some MAJOR painting around here. I get very overwhelmed when I think about all the colors I need to choose, but one room at a time, right? Your home is lovely!

  63. I’ve always thought it’s so hard to pick out paint colors and I am looking for some right now, so I appreciate the hints!

  64. Great advice we are terrbile at picking paint colours…………

  65. I love seeing how the same color looks different on different walls in your home. Seeing these pictures again reminds me of just how much I love your house! My house really doesn’t need to be re-painted but “Mindful Gray” is calling my name in a big way. I’m trying so hard not to listen to it. Our living room has very high vaulted ceilings, more poor husband would break out in a cold sweat if he knew what I was contemplating.

  66. As always…simply fabulous advice!!!! : ) You rock my friend! hugs…

  67. Wonderful advice! It was a beautiful day when I discovered paint samples. It makes it so much easier to find the right shade. Thanks for sharing!
    Have a Wonderful Day,

  68. Thank you for sharing the “real” colors that are the back drop for your beautiful home. Great tips about choosing the proper shade too! I have found that greys are particularly “fussy”…and that Sample Pots are my BFF’s (right after YOU, that is) xo

  69. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have done many a search on your blog for your bedroom and kitchen wall paint color! (I was too timid to ask.) SW Rice Grain; the same as on the bedroom floor! Yay! This is a great tutorial that I will refer to again and again until it’s drilled into my brain forever. Thank you!

  70. So great to know that someone else keeps her colors and I love how you have them on paint sticks. Your home is just so serene … your guests must love to stay there! Hugs

  71. I love adding color without making it scream at you! Your paint selections are calming and your suggestions are so helpful…now I want to go out and get a gallon or two and paint:-D

  72. You have such a beautiful home! Thank you for sharing these tips. I’ve never considered holding my paint chip up to white. I always walk around the store looking for better lighting.. this will help for sure, next time I make a trip to the paint store, though I could have used it yesterday while at the paint store. All of your rooms really come together with your paint color as the backdrop and the cabinet with the color blend is gorgeous. These are helpful tips that I would use, unsolicited or not! Thanks, again.

  73. Good advice. And then, even then….the color may not show its “true” color until painted on…..samples really are your best friend. But sometimes as the light changes in a room, color shows its base, be it blue, yellow or lavender. My beautiful livingroom that I really do love, has one time of day that un-nerves me, it shows a touch a lavender and hence I won’t be using it on the outside of my house. One needs to live with large samples sometimes….and I did, but paint is funny that way. Your advice is great.

  74. Thank you, there’s some great info here, things that I have never heard before. I love all of the colours that you’ve used, but what I really love is how you put each and every room together so perfectly. I love photos of your house!!!

  75. These are excellent tips KariAnne! You definitely cannot go wrong with buying samples! I typically get at least 3 when painting and try to live with it for a few days. Then I get to see it in every kind of lighting and really know what color is best.

  76. These are amazing tips! You are the decorating queen in my opinion, so your advice is more like wisdom!! Have a great week!

    Take care,


  77. Hi – I just happened upon your blog today and love it. Where did you get the “I hope you’ll dance” piece of artwork in one of the above photos? Thanks so much

  78. Your house is amazing! Great tips … thank you!

  79. Love your colors and some great tips! I’m trying to pick paint colors for my office makeover and have been so indecisive. Your post has really helped me to narrow it down. You are so right about going one shade darker! I had that same experience in my dining room. I thought I picked the perfect color, only to find that it is really lighter than I wanted and is almost the same color as our kitchen. Should have went a shade darker. And that room gets a ton of sunlight. It will be repainted someday soon. 🙂 Your house is so beautiful! I see lots of pretty homes, but I can look at these pictures for hours! Great inspiration!

  80. Excellent advice.

    And, can I just say (well, I’m going to), that Sherwin-Williams makes the best darned paint in the world. No, I haven’t tried ALL the other brands, but my wife and I have quite a bit of painting experience under our belts.

    The SW brand is awesome. It’s a dream to work with and covers very well.

    And, oh yes, it’s expensive. Watch for their sales (there’s one on right now!) and save some serious cash.

    There. I said it.

  81. These are such great tips KariAnne! You have such a beautiful home and amazing taste in paint colors. I’d love to feature your Gris bathroom on my paint color blog. You wouldn’t have to do a thing, just let me know if you’re interested!

  82. Great post! Little Bit from http://www.DecorateWithaLittleBit.com

  83. These are SUCH great tips!! I don’t know why paint is such a stumbling block but it is! I too have painted and repainted rooms! Hopefully I will remember to apply your simple and awesome steps next time to save myself the heartache of repainting!!! ~ Hugs, Jennifer

  84. I never tire of seeing your stunning and so interesting home. Can I come over and look closer? You can come see my home too! Terry

  85. KariAnne – how funny. I have used both Rice Grain and Mindful Gray – don’t you love SW!! thanks for the tips, i’m printing them on a note and sticking it in my purse.


  86. So I read this now, after all of my house is pretty much painted?? 🙂 Thanks for the tips! If I ever get someone to paint the house again (2 story with TALL walls, I’m not getting up on those ladders!!) I’ll definitely keep this in mind! xo, Kimberly

  87. Beautiful use of color…where did you get the wall hanging with the “Dance” lyrics in the family room? Did you create it and if so please share. Thanks!

  88. All the colors are so perfect!

  89. Great tips! I am one of those people who experienced two-tinted walls – it’s not fun! I’m like you – not a color expert, but definitely have built up a lot of “experience” in painting/repainting my home! 🙂

  90. Loved the hints, especially the white paper trick. One more hint that works for me. At my SW store, they have a bluish/pinkish light lightening the samples and it really has its own unique lighting. I do differ with you about the going a shade darker, I would rather ere on the side of being a little too light than too dark. Just my opinion.

  91. Great advice, KariAnne. I have used SW Rice Grain and it is a great neutral. All of my paint is SW.

  92. Love all your tips/advice! Picking a color is as exciting as it is daunting!
    What sheen do you generally pick? I’m normally an eggshell girl, but the house we just bought has flat. I want to repaint (of course) and I’m kinda liking the flat, but I can’t seem to make myself go purchase it. lol I’m a little weird like that.

  93. We are building a new house and just finished painting the rooms. We used SW everywhere in the interior – Dovetail, Black Fox, Repose Gray, Silvermist, Riverway, and then Snowbound for all the trim. After the painting was finished, the painter said SW is the best paint he’s ever used. So glad we went with SW! Tip: If you’re a Farm Bureau member, you can get a percentage off SW paint. This discount allowed us to purchase the top of the line paint at a mid-range price.

  94. I’ve been trying to determine a new paint color for my kitchen AND when I saw your paint choices for your home I knew RIGHT THEN I was in the right place. I have recently painted mindful gray in my house in all my main areas! I love it, my new favorite color! I will also say, that your tips for picking color are spot on! I have been giving that advice for years about going darker! It freaks people out but it is so true! Love all your colors!

  95. Your colors are lovely…wondering what white you have used??
    Having trouble finding one that I can use throughout the house.
    In the middle of painting my hall and stairwell and am stuck…

  96. What color did you go with for trim? I am planning on using Mindful Gray in a large part of my home also. You are my inspiration!

  97. Hey! I’m loving the rice grain color you used, however, it appears more airy and yellowy in your home vs other omes I’ve seen with it used. Dd you have it lightened by any chance?

    • I have green purple wine main colors and a lot of everything else also in my fabric,what color of the 5 goes best with all those colors my eye says rice grain,need your help also what do you think my tones are deep.my coach is taupe and i have brown wormwood and black in my rug light painted furniture also and gold mirrors a little of everything please help me,and does sw really matter?

  98. Also, where did you find the Grocery sign above the door? Obsessed!

  99. Love the colors! We recently painted our master bedroom Mindful Gray and absolutely love it x10. We’re still trying to find the perfect trim shade … any suggestions?

  100. Fantastic post on color and paint! We’re going to be moving next month and I am guilty of always going light. In this new home I plan on taking your advice. Thanks for sharing all this information!

  101. These are some great tips for painting! The ones about the floor and ceiling especially. People think the color on the sample is what it will look like no matter where you put it, but that is not true, it will look different than the samples. Thanks for sharing!

  102. Really smart advise. I did buy a lot of paint samples and smear them on a wall. The accent wall color I at first had chosen, turned out to be a mood sink. I ended up using an accent wall color that was in the same family as my cheery green paint. The nice women at the private paint store, dug it out for me with my wall paint and the proper ‘family’ of green to use. I now have four other rooms to chose and paint. I’ve lived in this thoroughly remodeled house (all but one wall and ceilings and all windows and doors) for years. Now I can change primer to color! Note: I would never use egg shell paint on a ceiling again as I have to see every blemish for ever, after two coats, it will be a long time before I get the energy to paint the forty ft. or more again. As it is I have to slowly prep and paint all of the trim in a gloss white, throughout the house! (and I’m picky) straight is straight and a lump is a lump. I’m taking it slowly as I have to live with my decisions until they bug me enough to make a change and grab that can opener and brush and “go to town”.

  103. Help..anyone..I have a kitchen with a lot of natural light..I can’t figure a color choice to save my life! I want something classic but warm with a hint of wow! Does that narrow it down?

  104. Hi there! great post, love the palette you chose, one question…what is the color of your white trim and the color used for ceilings?

    Many thanks! Great blog….

  105. Wow! I wish I would have read this post a few days ago. I did buy the little sample pots from Sherwin Williams. SW had a sale on paint from June to July 8th. I got a whole bunch of paint color strips from Benjamin Moore and picked out what I thought would be the perfect paint color for my living room. SW had a sale so I had them mix the BM formula in a sample pot. I tried it on my wall and it looked great so I bought 2 gallons. My husband painted the room and after it dried I noticed it had pale yellow undertones (which is not what I wanted) I’ll have to live with it for a couple of years because neither one of us is willing to change the color. It’s growing on me just a little bit.

  106. What color did you paint the ceiling in your library?

    Beautiful selections!

  107. Great guide for picking colors. Twice when we moved, we had to pick out all the colors before we moved and that was agonizing – don’t have any moving plans but will keep this in mind as we are re-painting a room and this method will be very handy to use. Thanks 🙂

  108. The advice about looking at the darkest color on the paint strip is good…especially for Sherwin Williams paint fans. But it doesn’t always apply with other companies paint fans…but it’s a good start 😉

    Also, the absolute BEST advice I give my clients is never choose a paint color in the store and immediately have them make up the amount you need. Why? Because most stores have flourescent lighting and probably little to no natural lighting. Your home will be vastly different lighting than a paint store. What looks perfect in the store will look entirely different in your own home’s natural and artificial lighting. Add to that the fact that you’ll be adding in other furnishings that’ll also affect the final paint color. So your suggestion of getting samples and trying them at home is excellent advice.

    Another thing I also recommend is rather than painting the sample color on your wall, paint it on a poster size foam board. Hold it up to the wall (floor or ceiling) at various times of the day to see how the color changes/looks throughout the day in your room. If possible, check the color on cloudy days as well as sunny days.

    As much as we all have seen a paint color at a friend’s house, a model home, etc. it may or may not work/look the same in our own home. So buying it cuz you loved how it looked elsewhere is also a little bit risky. But it’s a good place to start your color search if you truly do love the color you’ve seen….and it may be “the” perfect color for you too! 🙂

    After you’ve checked these things, then get all happy (I certainly do!) and go have your store mix up your favorite choice! Picking paint can be frustrating but it is so rewarding to see the final results.

    BTW, I love all the colors you’ve used in your home. Your home is beautiful and so inspirational. I would have been on Cloud 9 if the old farm house I grew up in looked like your home. 🙂

  109. Great advice! I’ve been painting and repainting for years as well. My poor husband just couldn’t understand why I had to repaint our newly painted bathroom because the green wasn’t right. It looked good to him – haha. I spend quite a bit of $ on paint samples and put them up in different places around the room to get the different light. What looks great at night might be very different in the day. It is tricky business! So glad I just found your site!


  110. I can’t seem to find the name of the colour in your kids’ bathroom. My son wants red accents in his bathroom and I am having a tough time deciding on a wall colour.

  111. This post is FABULOUS and has seriously brought me back from the brink of madness! As someone who has spent so much time in my local Sherwin Williams store that they’ve threatened to put a cot in the back room for me (true story)….I can’t tell you how happy I was to find this post. Every situation you describe here is exactly what I’ve been going through and I have driven my family crazy with all the paint chips taped to the walls for the past year. Today, I actually hired a professional painter and he said exactly the same things that I read here. Mainly, that your paint color will look lighter than your chip once you’ve painted it on a larger surface, and that an actual sample of the paint will look different from the paint chip. So now I’m headed back to Sherwin Williams to buy some actual samples. THANK YOU FOR SUCH GREAT ADVICE!

  112. I am in love with your style girl!!!! where did you get the cool pic (saying) in your family room!!! thanks for posting your pics, beautiful!!!! <3

  113. Thank you so much for your post about grey colors! My husband and I are expecting our second child this April, a little girl and I wanted to do her nursery Shabby Chic with pink and grey and ivory!

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  115. Thank you!
    Just launching on this endeavor and needed some guidance and this is perfect. When I bought the place it was entirely drab, dirty, beige. I countered by painting every room a wildly different color. Now it’s time to find some middle ground.
    Thanks again,