The Most Common Question


There’s a lot of fear around choosing paint colors for your home and the question we’re asked the most is: “what paint color should I choose?”

Let’s face it color can make or break a room and choosing it can lead to bold choices that don’t quite work out or, the opposite—a conservative choice that doesn’t do much at all. Other times, trying to choose color can stop the process in its tracks through indecision. Not only that but that fear and/or dread around choosing paint can create problems that are often not seen until the project is completed and furnishings are in place.

Although the physical act of painting the room should be done before furnishings and other elements of a room are installed, people don’t realize that choosing paint is last step in the design process. This of course seems counter intuitive. But if you look at it from a budgetary or availability-of-resources perspective it’s best to choose paint color after everything else is selected.

Start with the Most Limited Resources

When designing a room or a set of rooms it’s important to start with the most limited resources first: furnishings, lighting, floors, carpets or rugs and window treatments. Availability of items like sofas and chairs, tables or art can be finite and a budget can limit what items or what type of things can be put together in combination.

Paint is an Abundant Resource

In contrast, paint is your most abundant resource. It’s cheaper to buy than a sofa or rugs and a lot of colors are available. Not only that, it’s much easier to choose a color of paint once you have all the other elements in place to work with. That seemingly infinite number of color choices is quickly reduced once the empty room with bare walls has an ensemble of elements to work with. Having that in place makes it much easier to choose your paint.

Light Makes a Difference

Not only that but light and lighting can change the color in a room very quickly. Outside light from windows and the direction that light comes from will effect the overall color of the room. Lighting from lamps or overhead lighting can counteract or change the hue or light temperature of a space. That additional dynamic of light and color makes it even more important to choose the wall colors last in the design process.

What’s Best to do?

So, what color should you choose? Most people don’t have the time or energy to think about all the moving parts of putting a room together. And most people do start with choosing the paint color first. As we mentioned above, these choices can lead to bold mistakes or conservative choices that fall flat. Working with a designer alleviates the fear and prevents those mistakes. A designer looks at all aspects of a space and creates a plan. Color, texture, light and volume all come into play when designing a room. Designers can make small, cramped rooms feel much larger or large rooms more intimate by using the process of design. This takes the fear out of choosing paint and ultimately creates a space that you love to be in.

Do you have questions? Ask us your interior design questions. Go to our Questions page. There, you can leave us your question and we’ll get back to you with our answer.