Don’t make these mistakes when picking paint colors

Don't make these mistakes when picking paint colors

We’ve all been there. Painting an entire room (or rooms) only to realize your paint colors aren’t what you thought it would be is the worst.

So many things can affect how your paint color looks on the wall. Picking a color because you like how it looked on the swatch is not enough. Fortunately, there are a few simple things to consider that will help you to choose paint colors you will not regret later!

Don’t skip the samples

Don't Make These Mistakes When Picking Paint Colors

Those little sample cards are not enough. You need to paint a large swatch on the wall and live with it for a day or two. The lighting can change throughout the day which will greatly affect your paint color.

You can also buy peel and stick paint samples from Samplizine. These are great because you can easily remove them and you can also try them on different walls. They cost about the same as a sample jar of paint.

Additionally, the other colors in the room or paint on the walls in adjacent rooms can also affect how it looks. I once painted my living room in White Dove from Benjamin Moore only to discover the sage green in the adjacent stairwell started to look yellow next to the White Dove due to the undertones.

Don’t pick a color because you saw it someone else’s house

Just because a color looked good in a friend’s house does NOT mean it will look good in yours. Your friend may have all warm tones while you have existing cool tones. Similarly, your friend may have white tile floors reflecting onto her walls where you have an orangey wood tone which will cast a different shade.

don’t pick a color you saw online

Seriously never do this. Not only for all of the reasons listed above but also because computer screens greatly skew how the color looks! See #1!

don’t skip the primer

mistakes to avoid when picking paint colors, what not to do

There are two reasons you don’t want to skip the primer. First, it will give you a clean, smooth base coat. And second, if you don’t prime whatever color you had on the wall previously will skew the hue of your new color.

don’t use old primer

You guys, primer goes bad. Even if it doesn’t look lumpy, you may find out after you begin that it has a weird odor. If that happens after you’ve put some on the wall there isn’t much you can do about it. (Don’t ask me how I know).

don’t skip the prep work

what you need to prep for painting a room

Honestly, I’m guilty of this one. But do yourself a huge favor and clear the room, put down the drop cloths and remove those outlet covers. Don’t forget to use a good paint light also.

don’t forget to clean the walls first

You don’t have to go super crazy with this one but be sure the walls are grease and dust-free.

don’t forget to let the first coat dry fully

paint tips and tricks

Beginning the second coat before the first one is dry can result in brush strokes or peeling paint. That can completely ruin your finish.

Do you have any painting fails? Let’s hear them in the comments!

Learn How To Choose Paint Colors and Coordinate a Whole House Color Palette


  1. Mary Evans says:

    This blog is very good. I wish I had read this before I painted my house. It does make a difference as I thought my friends house was beautiful. Loved the paint on the walls. I did the same color and it is darker in my house. I still like it but a bit darker in my house. I hope everyone who reads this takes it to heart. Best information I have received on painting the inside of my house. Love you blog. Pray your husband is doing well. Blessings, Mary

  2. A lot of people talk about using the same white, gray, etc.. throughout their whole house to keep their home unified. That can be a problem though since paint colors can look quite different in different rooms considering differences in light and surfaces in different rooms in your house. If you want all white walls consider that you may want to use different white paint colors in different rooms just as an example.

  3. I seem to have a huge issue with picking paint colors. Lol. 😁

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