4 Secrets for Picking the Right Paint Color

picking right paint color

Paint color sets the tone for your home. The right color brings everything together in harmony. The wrong color can feel overwhelming and chaotic. Avoid an expensive decorating mistake — using these four tricks of the trade are part of the secret to picking the paint color that’s right for you.

1. Understand How Light Will Affect the Feel of the Space

Evaluate how the light in YOUR space will affect the color. In other words, do NOT choose paint based solely on a color you selected at the paint store/online or because it worked in another house or even in another room!

  • Natural daylight will reflect the truest hues. Southern light is warmer and brighter, while Northern light is cooler and dimmer.
  • Incandescent lighting will bring out the warmer, yellower tones in color.
  • Fluorescent bulbs, though energy-efficient, cast a diffuse, shadowless light that gives a blue tinge to the colors in the room. Warm wall colors (yellow, gold, orange, wheat tones) lose their warmth in older-style fluorescent light.

We recommend using LED bulbs around 3500K when possible to see the truest paint color (to learn why, see our blog post on choosing the right light bulb).

2. Consider the Flow Between Other Rooms

Color should bring the space together with a natural flow. This is especially true in open floor plans, which are typically better suited to one main color throughout the home with some well-placed accent colors in a few places.

Hint: One safe and effective way to add some dimension is to select tints or shades from the same hue family.

3. Assess the Fixed Elements

Take a good look at the fixed elements in the home, like cabinets, tile, flooring, counters, and hardware. Is it a cooler palette? This would include blacks, grays, silvery metals, espresso-colored woods. Or is it a warmer palette? This would include browns, golds, natural wood tones, and brick. The paint color you choose should accent these elements, or you risk creating an off-balance felling in the room. If you have a space with both warm and cool colors in the same room, try to determine the dominant color (the one that influences the room’s personality the most).

4. Try a Sample

Once you’ve narrowed it down, purchase a sample from your favorite paint store and paint a few large pieces of poster board. Hang your paint samples on different walls for a few days and note how the light changes and how it plays with your other accessories. *I provide free 8″ x 11″ color samples to my color consultation clients.


Want to stop guessing about undertones and learn how to choose the best interior paint colors for your home? Our new self-paced, online course Color By The Numbers™ teaches you how to use the science of color to get the paint results you want!


Need a Little Help?

Still need a little help picking the right paint color? Three Bears Home Staging offers affordable virtual color consultations! We also have great color palettes that work for home staging! Ready to set something up? Get in touch!

one room paint color report

One Room Paint Color Report | Virtual

Need help choosing the best paint colors for your room? Then this is the (virtual) service for you! Based on your on your questionnaire responses and uploaded photos, we’ll create a personalized digital Paint Color Report just for you. We’ll also send you paint swatches! Click below to learn how it works or to get started!


exterior paint color

Exterior Paint Color Report | Virtual

Ready to give your home exterior a fresh new look, but feeling overwhelmed with the decision? Get a little virtual help from the color experts at Three Bears Home Staging! Based on your on your questionnaire responses and uploaded photos, we’ll create a personalized digital Paint Color Report just for your home’s exterior. We’ll also send you paint swatches! Read below to learn how it works…

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