How To Choose a Paint Color

How to Choose a Paint Color


  1. Think about your existing furniture and accessories
  2. Paint color choices can feel limitless. At ECOS alone, you can choose from over 1,300 Colors or Color Match. One way to start narrowing down your options is to take a look at your furniture and fabric colors and use them as guides. Very often, favorite rugs, pillows or possessions can lead you to the perfect paint color. One often expensive mistake people make is to choose a paint color first. This can lead to headaches down the road when you can’t find the right furniture and accessories to match

  3. Look to current trends and design ideas for inspiration
  4. There’s an abundance of design ideas and trends online, in magazines and on TV shows. Look around and see what concepts and colors might work for you. Designs can differ greatly, but designers tend to follow similar themes. For example:

    • Use darker colors on floors, then progressively lighter colors as you move up the walls to the ceiling
    • Stick with neutrals, but be brave with color when creating focal points
    • Consider the combination of colors in designer collections, but try not to combine any more than three colors.
  5. Consider adjacent spaces
  6. You don’t need to create a color theme throughout your home, but you should certainly be aware of adjacent spaces. This often means you should consider a shade or two lighter or darker for adjacent rooms.

  7. Understand color psychology
  8. You can use color to evoke different emotions and moods throughout your home. Neutral colors allow you flexibility in quickly changing the feel of a room. You can easily change the feel of a neutral room by adding different colored accessories, painting an accent wall in a bright color, or painting trim a new color. Light colors in blues, lavenders, pinks and soft yellows are great choices for a feeling of tranquility and restfulness. If you want to feel energized, choose vibrant colors like gold, oranges, reds and dark purples.

  9. Look at your lighting
  10. Sunlight influences color based on your home’s orientation. Light from the north tends to be cooler and blueish, while light from the south tends to be warmer with a yellow to orange tone. Light bulbs also influence colors in a room--fluorescents tend to make colors appear cooler, while incandescent bulbs make colors appear warmer.

  11. Paint considerations
  12. Know the undertone

    When you’re picking colors, especially neutrals, you need to consider the undertone or the paint’s underlying color. Often, you can’t really see undertone colors until they’re covering an entire wall. The best way to find the undertone is to look at the darkest color on a strip of paint colors - this will give you the undertone color.

    Pick the right sheen

    Here are some general guidelines for the different finish choices:

    • Matte: Lowest sheen, ideal for low-traffic areas like living rooms and bedrooms, as well as ceilings.
    • Eggshell: Has a bit more sheen and works well in high-traffic areas or areas that have moisture. It’s also washable, which is why it is perfect for kitchens and bathrooms.
    • Semi-Gloss: Shiny but not glass-like. This is what you should consider for cabinets and trim.
    • Gloss: Shiny! This gives an almost glass-like finish, and is perfect for high-use surfaces, like a railing or furniture.

    Remember, low sheen paints (Matte and Eggshell) tend to hide imperfections in the painted surface, while glossy paints will accentuate any flaws in the surface.

    Do I need a primer?

    Some colors, especially yellows, reds and oranges, and other dark accent colors, are considered by the paint industry to be “poor hiding” colors. That means they usually need a primer because, despite their strong, vibrant color, they’re not good at hiding the color they’re covering. On the website we have a primer test to help determine which colors need a primer.

    Get a sample first

    Color chips often give you a good idea of the range of colors you want to choose from. But, a paint sample you can paint directly on the wall or onto a sample board can be even more useful. When you use sample paint on a sample board, you can look at the board in different lighting and hold it up against your furniture. It’s often a helpful step in selecting colors and it can save you time and money.

Hopefully, these guidelines will help you pick paint colors that will enhance your home and create a happy environment for you and your family. Also, remember that in addition to the ECOS Colors we can Color Match any other manufacturer’s colors. We know there are sometimes hard choices to make, so please feel free to contact our technical support team in ECOS Customer Care any time by telephone, chat or email.

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