Best Methods for Choosing Paint Colours

This past spring, I was working on two large projects that involved painting two entire homes in record time, and we pulled out almost every trick in the book in the process. I was up to my eyeballs in fan decks, sample pots, random patches on walls and paint schedules so that the clients could move in right away. I thought it might be helpful to share the best methods for selecting paint that I've picked up at design school (10%) and in practice (90%).

When time allows, choose your paint colour last. Don't commit to a paint colour as your jumping-off point - let fabric, furniture, flooring or an inspiring piece dictate your palette. It's best to pull together all of the materials you're using and select the colour based on that, rather than limiting your options early on.

Always, always buy a tester. Even when time isn't on your side, it's always worth taking a day to try a tester on the wall. I'm a fan of actual test pots, rather than the large chips. Nothing will give you a truer reading than the real thing up on the wall, and you can always keep the testers for future use (paint a piece of furniture, etc).

Be weary of colour matching. Paint colour matching technology is amazing and very useful in many cases, but if you're trying to create a Farrow & Ball colour with Behr paint, for example, you'll have trouble getting an exact match. Many high-end paint dealers use alternative pigments (like clay) to create their palette, so if you're partial to a particular shade, buy the real thing.

Let there be light. Nothing will have a greater impact on your paint colour than lighting. Consider the natural light in your space; which direction does the room face, and what time of day will it be used most? Also think about the layers of light you'll be adding - lamps, chandelier, flushmount, potlights and how they will change the colour.

Take the chance. Risk it. Buy the gallon and start rolling it on the wall. If you dislike it, it's just paint! When you get it perfect, it can make one of the biggest impacts in a space.

If I may make a recommendation: Benjamin Moore Colour Stories
I've never had more success, or found a paint deck as true-to-colour as Benjamin Moore's Colour Stories collection. The colours are gorgeous (low saturation, earthy...my personal favourites) and the selective palette stops me from feeling overwhelmed with options!

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