Choosing the right paint color can be tricky for a home decorator.  Selecting a color family isn’t always an easy task.  Settling on the perfect shade can be even more difficult.  Light is deceiving and paint samples are misleading.  It’s a terrible feeling when you look around a fully painted room and come to the realization that you got the paint color wrong.  It’s wasted time and money and just plain frustrating.  If you can’t tell, I’ve been there.

But I’ve also learned from my mistakes.  And now, I have a near fool-proof system for avoiding that cataclysm and choosing the perfect paint color every time–at least–it hasn’t failed me yet.

Step 1

Invest in a fan deck.  It usually costs about $30 and well worth the investment if you’re planning on choosing paint for more than one room in your home.  It’ll give you all the options available in your chosen colorway and allow you to easily compare similar shades.  Whatever you do, do NOT make any decisions in the paint store.  The florescent lighting you find there is as different as can be from the natural and artificial lighting in most homes.

Step 2

Use the fan deck to identify shades of interest in the room that is to be painted.  Make sure to consider all lighting situations: day and night, both in direct light and in the shadows.   In addition, examine how the contending colors look next to the room’s furniture and textiles.  This should help you narrow down your potential paint colors to 2-5 shades.

Step 3

Buy a sample of each of your finalist shades along with a canvas board and paintbrush for each paint color.  Paint each canvas board with its own color and brush, noting the color on the back of the board.  Allow them to dry and then  take them back into the room for consideration, repeating the same steps you went through with the fan deck.

By this point, the winner should rise to the top and allow you to confidently invest in your paint color…and maybe even a professional painter.  Hope these steps work as well for you as they have for me!