The Ten Commandments of Paint Color Selection

An old post from 2010. You may remember it; you may not. Some things just bear repeating. Oh - and feel free to add to the list in the comments section! Who says we need to be limited by just 10 Commandments? 

1) Thou Shall Not Refer to Colors as "Right" or "Wrong"

There are many color options for any given space. It's important to let the idea go that there is just one "right" color and you must find it. In attempting to search for the perfect color, you may fail to recognize some very beautiful possibilities for a space. Additionally, many colors you think are wrong, aren't wrong at all. They simply create a different effect.

2) Thou Shall Not Select Paint Colors Based on a Tiny Paint Chip

The color chips you pick up at the paint store are not a fair representation of any color. They are very, very small, and are surrounded by other colors that make them more than difficult to visualize. Use the small paint chips as a starting point, but always work off of larger samples before making final color selections.

3) Thou Shall Test Colors

Lighting always changes. Day and night; cloudy day and sunny day; south facing windows and north facing windows, etc. It's imperative to test colors before you go all the way. Painting sample boards is the best option, because you can move them around easily, but painting test patches on the actual wall works, too. The point is...TEST.

4) Thou Shall Not Go on Vacation While the Entire House is Being Painted

The colors you may think you like might not appear how you anticipated once an entire room is painted. It's important to be available so that you can check in on the progress of things. Even if you are working with a color professional. Because we all have different relationships with different colors, the approval of your designer may not be enough. Only you can determine whether or not you like the final effect of a color.

5) Thou Shall Not Rush

Do not wait until the painters are scheduled to begin selecting colors. Give yourself time to explore different options. Selecting paint colors is not always an easy process and the last thing you want are the painters standing and starting at you while you try to figure out if you want your kitchen to be Honeysuckle Gold or Pumpkin Brulee.

6) Thou Shall Not Panic

If you have waited until the last minute, don't panic. Stay in control of the situation. If the painters are scheduled and you don't have your "perfect" colors selected, reschedule them. What's the worst that could happen? Panicked decisions are usually not the best decisions - especially when it comes to color.

7) Thou Shall Not Covet Thy Neighbors' Colors

Just because a color works on or in your neighbors' house does not mean it will work for yours. Be original. Find your own palette of colors.

8) Thou Shall Not Obey Color "Rules"

Most color rules are usually color myths. So many of them are based on uneducated opinions. Yes - opinions. Break those chains and live in color however you choose. You'll have a lot more fun if you forget about all those rules and do what you want.

9) Thou Shall Not Fear

Do not fear your color decisions. Remember the First Commandment? There are no right and wrong colors. And don't fear others' judgements. If you select paint colors based on fear, you will never be truly happy with any color selection.

10) Thou Shall Trust Thy Self

Above all else, trust your color decisions. Don't let anyone else bully you into going whiter, brighter, softer, less muted, more muted, etc. Don't let anyone, designers included, talk you into using colors that you don't like just because they "look good." A color only looks good if you like it. Trust your relationships with colors. If you base your color decisions on trust rather than doubt, you will have a much happier connection to your home because it will reflect confidence and authenticity.